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In the Post-World War II, the British Susanne Mallison travels to Berlin to visit her older brother Martin Mallison, a military that has married the German Bettina Mallison. The naive Susanne snoops on Bettina and suspects that she is hiding a secret from her brother. When Susanne meets Bettina with her friend Ivo Kern, he offers to show Berlin to her and they date. But Ivo meets the strange Halendar from the East Germany and Susanne takes a cab and return to her home alone. Then she dates Ivo again and he meets Olaf Kastner, who is a friend of Martin and Bettina. But soon Susanne, who has fallen in love with Ivo, learns that he was a former attorney married to Bettina but with a criminal past during the war. Now he is blackmailed by Halendar to kidnap Kastner and bring him back to the other side of the border. The plan fails and Halender asks his men to abduct Bettina to get Kastner. However, Susanne is kidnapped by mistake and is imprisoned in the basement of a house in East Berlin.... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
James Mason is "The Man Between" in this 1953 Carol Reed film, shot on location in post-war Berlin. The film also stars Claire Bloom and Hildegarde Neff. Bloom plays Susanne, a young American woman who comes to Berlin to visit her brother Martin. Martin is stationed there and married to Bettina (Neff). Bettina is clearly unhappy about something, and Susanne soon realizes that her discomfiture has to do with a mysterious man, Iwo (Mason), described as an old friend. When Iwo offers to show her the sights, Susanne accepts, and, believing him to be having an affair with her sister-in-law, advises him to leave her alone. Iwo says he is trying to leave the area, and a friend of Martin's can help by getting him the required documents and introductions. When Susanne asks her brother to help Iwo by contacting the man, Bettina loses her temper, and the truth about Iwo and his true relationship to Bettina emerges.
This is an odd, moody, dark film with some haunting images of the destroyed Berlin, and some beautiful shots, particularly the very last one in the film which stays in one's memory. The serenely beautiful Claire Bloom and the enigmatic Mason are magic together and make this a poignant love story, and very typical Reed - the innocent who has her eyes opened, the man tainted by sin going to meet his fate. The whole last half of the film focuses on only the two of them, and we sense their isolation, an odd couple in a changing world.
The German supporting cast is excellent, particularly Neff, whose career in Hollywood was brief. She wrote a wonderful best-selling autobiography, The Gift Horse, in 1970, which leaves no doubt of her feelings about the place. She went on to star in Silk Stockings on Broadway and eventually returned to Germany.
Quite a beautiful film, not up to "The Third Man," but still has the touch of the master.
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