During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
Berlin is the epitome of political and economic polarization. A microcosm of that polarization is the life of American C.R. MacNamara, known as Mac to his friends. He is Coca-Cola's head of West Berlin operations, although he feels he deserves to be Coca-Cola's head of European operations based in London. Mac's wife, Phyllis, wants him instead to get a steady and stable job back in head office in Atlanta. His West Berlin staff are all still used to treating him like their old master, the Fuhrer. The one exception is his secretary, Ingeborg, who is the latest in the long line of his secretary mistresses. And he's working on a trade agreement of getting Coca-Cola into the Russian market. His life goes into a tailspin when he hosts Scarlett Hazeltine in his home for two weeks. She is the seventeen year old spoiled and party-loving daughter of his Atlanta based boss, Wendell Hazeltine. Unlike most of the stops she's made on her European trip, Scarlett seems to like West Berlin and stays ... Written by
"One, Two, Three" is a marvelously, funny film. It has an energy that you can't help but get caught up in.
From the time you hear the first few bars of "The Sabre Dance" thru the final shot of James Cagney, you are on a constant roller coaster, and you don't want to get off. It is a manic, wild movie that never disappoints or lets down.
The engine that drives this lunacy is James Cagney. In one of his best, funniest and energetic performances, he is nothing short of amazing. He is a whirling dervish, at the heart of a storm that he has no control over. I don't want to give any of the story away, suffice to say that he is nothing short of spectacular. In Cameron Crowe's book on Billy Wilder, Wilder laments that Cagney was so loud and energetic at the start of the film, that his character really has nowhere to go, in terms of building, and reacting to the chaos. I would agree with that assessment, but Cagney's performance does not let the audience stop and catch it's breath long enough for this to really be a factor.
Wilder and Diamond have brought us another gem. Is there another writing team that within a span of three years, have created three better pictures than the ones they have given us (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, One,Two,Three)? I doubt it.
Kudos all around to the supporting cast as well. Especially, Arlene Francis, as Cagney's wife, and Lilo Pulver as his secretary. Also watch for some "inside" jokes. Like when Cagney threatens Horst Buchholz with a grapefruit, and Red Buttons, in a cameo, doing a Cagney imitation.
Great fun from start to finish. 10/10
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