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Alice in the Cities (1974)
"Alice in den Städten" (original title)

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Reviews: 20 user | 24 critic

A German journalist is saddled with a nine-year-old girl after encountering her mother at a New York airport.

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Title: Alice in the Cities (1974)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rüdiger Vogler ...
Yella Rottländer ...
Alice
Lisa Kreuzer ...
Lisa - Alice's Mother (as Elisabeth Kreuzer)
Edda Köchl ...
Angela - Friend in New York
Ernest Boehm ...
Publisher
Sam Presti ...
Car Dealer
Lois Moran ...
Airport Hostess
Didi Petrikat ...
Friend in Frankfurt
Hans Hirschmüller ...
Police Officer
Sibylle Baier ...
The Woman
Mirko
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Storyline

German journalist Philip Winter has a case of writer's block when trying to write an article about the United States. He decides to return to Germany, and while trying to book a flight, encounters a German woman and her nine year old daughter Alice doing the same. The three become friends (almost out of necessity) and while the mother asks Winter to mind Alice temporarily, it quickly becomes apparent that Alice will be his responsibility for longer than he expected. After returning to Europe, the innocent friendship between Winter and Alice grows as they travel together through various European cities on a quest for Alice's grandmother. Written by Karl Engel <cassiel@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

17 May 1974 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Alice in the Cities  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wim Wenders had recently completed a very troubled production of The Scarlet Letter (1973). The only aspect of that film that he derived any enjoyment from was one small scene between Rüdiger Vogler and 'Yella Rottlander', something he was keen to recreate. See more »

Goofs

At 59:17 when Alice is coming out of the toilet, the door handle in the close-up is reverse (l-r) compared with the next shot when she opens the door. See more »

Quotes

Lisa - Alice's Mother: What are you writing?
Philip 'Phil' Winter: The inhuman thing about American TV is not so much that they hack everything up with commercials, though that's bad enough, but in the end all programmes become commercials. Commercials for the status quo. Every image radiates the same disgusting and nauseated message. A kind of boastful contempt. Not one image leaves you in peace, they all want something from you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Auge in Auge - Eine deutsche Filmgeschichte (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Nel blu dipinto di blù (Volare!)
Written and Performed by Domenico Modugno
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User Reviews

 
A sensitive and thoughtful film
16 August 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Chance encounters that often seem purposeless may, upon reflection, turn out to be life changing experiences. Such is the case for German photographer Philip Winter (Rudiger Vogler) in Wim Wenders 1974 film Alice in the Cities, the first of three Wenders road pictures (Wrong Move, Kings of the Road). Traveling through the East Coast of America, Winter is overcome by lethargy and the monotony of the American landscape with its relentless vistas of billboards, chain motels, and fast food restaurants and has little interaction with his surroundings other than to take pictures as a detached observer. At one motel stop, he becomes so infuriated with commercials on television that he destroys the television set.

Blocked in his attempt to write an article describing his journey, he decides to return to Germany but finds that the flights are delayed for a day. At the airport, he strikes up a conversation with a German woman (Lisa Kreuzer) and her nine-year old daughter Alice (Yella Rottländer) also trying to return home. The three share a hotel room and things seem routine until the mother inexplicably departs, leaving a note telling Winter to bring Alice to Amsterdam where she will meet them. The mother, however, does not arrive and Winter is left to care for Alice until relatives can be located. Their relationship, at first filled with resentment, gradually develops into one of trust as they drive together in a rented car trying to locate Alice's grandmother in Wuppertal and the cities of the Ruhr.

Alice in the Cities is a sensitive and thoughtful film that suggests that everything in life has a purpose and that guidance is available if we remain open. The film mixes humor and pathos as the reluctant friends must contend with loneliness and alienation, themes often prevalent in Wenders' films. Rottländer's performance as Alice strikes just the right note. She is believable as the bright, feisty, and often charming little girl and her performance never crosses the line into sentimentality. As Winter slowly begins to see the time with her as an opportunity to embrace rather than as an obstacle to overcome, he finds that being responsible for another person can be transforming and that his quest is not so much for Alice's grandmother as for his own self.


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