48 user 27 critic

A Foreign Affair (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 20 August 1948 (USA)
In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter von Zerneck ...
Stanley Prager ...
Joe (as Bill Murphy)
Raymond Bond ...
Boyd Davis ...
Robert Malcolm ...
Charles Meredith ...
Michael Raffetto ...
Damian O'Flynn ...
Lieutenant Colonel
Frank Fenton ...
Major Mathews
James Lorimer ...
Lieutenant Hornby (as James Larmore)


A congressional committee visits occupied Berlin to investigate G.I. morals. Congresswoman Phoebe Frost, appalled at widespread evidence of human frailty, hears rumors that cafe singer Erika, former mistress of a wanted war criminal, is "protected" by an American officer, and enlists Captain John Pringle to help her find him...not knowing that Pringle is Erika's lover. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It would make a cigar store Indian laugh ...


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 August 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mundana  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marlene Dietrich moved into Billy Wilder's house during production, and the two friends had a great time together, on set and off. She was always eager to oblige when Wilder prodded her about affairs with both sexes. See more »


When the Americans are flying over Berlin, the scenery outside Phoebe's (Jean Arthur's) window never changes. See more »


Col. Rufus J. Plummer: Morale! Maybe someday we can send a little committee of our own investigating morale in Washington D.C.
See more »


Featured in Almost Famous (2000) See more »


Black Market
Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Sung by Marlene Dietrich
See more »

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User Reviews

Just one of Wilder's all-time best films
30 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of Billy Wilder's least known films...and one of his best. A brilliant, cynical comedy about post-war Berlin goings on...black market, Army officers having affairs with notorious ex-Nazis, etc.

It stars Marlene Dietrich (one of her all-time best performances), and amazing Jean Arthur (in one of her final films), and newcomer John Lund, who was rather wooden in later performances...here, he's terrific.

Songs and musical score by Frederick Hollander...who's actually present playing piano. The three songs Dietrich sings, "Black Market", "Illusions" and "Ruins of Berlin" are lyrically integral to the plot and represent three of best songs written for a non-musical film of the late 1940's.

There's some serious plot points underneath the cynical comedy.

Wish to heck Universal would open their vaults and release it on DVD in the US; thankfully it's available in the UK (get an all-region DVD player...I did!).

It's an absolutely essential late 1940's comedy and in my opinion, one of Billy Wilder's best comedies.

Remember....Wilder's next film was "Sunset Boulevard".

33 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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