In 1948, the Soviet Union blockades the Allied sectors of Berlin to bring the entire city under their control. A semi-documentary about the resulting Berlin Airlift gives way to stories of two fictitious U.S. Air Force participants: Sgt. Hank Kowalski, whose hatred of Germans proves resistant to change, and Sgt. Danny McCullough, whose pursuit of an attractive German war widow gives him a crash course in the seamy side of occupied Berlin. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
During the filming, they would get waivers signed by those who were in a shot and they thought would be in the finished film and paid them $500. Some men appeared but were never paid and some who were paid had their appearances end up on the cutting room floor. See more »
At the end of the movie, the "Hollywood" stars (Clift, Douglas etc.), are not credited, however a panoramic coda does credit the principle military service members who portrayed themselves in the film. It shows them standing at attention in front of a C-54, with their names and ranks scrolling across. See more »
An Interesting Glimpse Of The Start Of The Cold War
This movie surprised me a little bit. From the title and the description of the movie on the DVD jacket, I was expecting to find almost a quasi-documentary about the Berlin airlift. There is some interesting stuff about the airlift. The challenges of flying in and out of Berlin in the era seem to be well documented, and there was what seemed to me to be a wholly authentic picture of American military life in that era, heightened by the fact that aside from Montgomery Clift and Paul Douglas, all the military personnel portrayed played themselves. Having said that, the movie really turned out to be more of a slice of life depiction of what it was like to live in Berlin during these post-war years, and especially during the airlift.
The movie focuses really on the budding relationship between Sgt. MacCullough (Clift) and a German woman he meets and falls in love with (played very well by an actress named Cornell Borchers.) As we watch their relationship develop we are introduced to the situation in Berlin
a city still largely in ruins 5 years after the end of World War II,
food and electricity in short supply, hopelessly divided into the different zones of occupation, some Germans struggling with a Nazi legacy, others co-operating with the Russians just to survive, and (in the greatest irony of all) a people totally dependent on the Western allies (who had so recently been their enemies) for their survival. Douglas offered a pretty good portrayal of an American soldier (Kowalski) who had been held in a German POW camp during the War and who struggled with his anti-German feelings all the way through. After being a bit taken aback to discover that this movie wasn't what I had expected it to be, I ended up getting quite caught up in the story. As a very early piece of Cold War movie-making propaganda, it obviously glorifies the American ideal, but it's pretty well put together and enjoyable all the way through. 7/10
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