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Philippe de Broca
During World War II, two Americans are forced to bail out and parachute into a small German town. Herr Frick, being equal parts patriotic and lonely, keeps them as prisoners of war in his bomb shelter. While his prisoners go stir crazy, Herr Frick must decide if he's willing to lose their companionship by letting them know the war has ended. Written by
Sean Starke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The title is a variation of an old Viennese saying; "The situation is desperate but not serious." A direct influence on the title comes from Billy Wilder's 1961 film One, Two, Three (1961). In it, Jimmy Cagney coaches Horst Buchholz to tell Buccholz's American father-in-law that the situation is "serious but not hopeless." A flustered Buccholz tells his father-in-law, "The situation is hopeless but not serious." See more »
Two American soldiers stationed in Germany during World War II are captured by an odd German shopkeeper (Alec Guinness); he imprisons the two men in his basement and keeps them there long after the war is over. Strange, unhappy, insecure comedy-drama is extremely well-cast but is really too creepy to laugh at. As the soldiers, Michael Connors and Robert Redford have some good moments, but one can't help but feeling this is just an actors' exercise for both (they're green, but commendable). Alec Guinness is forced to walk a fine line in his characterization; it's imperative to the story that we don't hate the shopkeeper, and Guinness works hard at finding nuances in the man to keep him complex and interesting. If newcomers Connors and Redford are young actors just finding their way, then Guinness is in the Master's class. *1/2 from ****
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