Berlin, July, 1945. Journalist Jake Geismer arrives to cover the Potsdam conference, issued a captain's uniform for easier passage. He also wants to find Lena, an old flame who's now a prostitute desperate to get out of Berlin. He discovers that the driver he's assigned, a cheerful down-home sadist named Corporal Tully, is Lena's keeper. When the body of a murdered man washes up in Potsdam (within the Russian sector), Jake may be the only person who wants to solve the crime: U.S. personnel are busy finding Nazis to bring to trial, the Russians and the Americans are looking for German rocket scientists, and Lena has her own secrets. Written by
Steven Soderbergh, wishing to shoot this film the old Hollywood way, banned the use of sophisticated zoom lenses used by today's cinematographers, returning to the fixed focal-length lenses used in the past. Furthermore, only incandescent lights were used which provided harsh, unnatural lighting. There were also no wireless body microphones, which would allow the faintest whispers to be heard, on set. Sound was recorded the old-fashioned way, with a hand-operated boom mike held above the actors head, which consequently forced the actors to speak in loud, crisp English. See more »
Upon Geismer's first visit to her apartment, Lena lights the stove and begins heating a kettle. Shortly, she announces she is going to bed, leaving the kettle over the stove's flame (as well as a lit candle on the table). See more »
They want me to decide who the ardent Nazis were. Truth is, it was the whole country. Nobody's hands are clean.
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All the logos appear in black and white, while the Warner Brothers logo appears in the forties old style See more »
I was so aware of the attempted style of the film that I could hardly concentrate on anything else. The look, oh, the look. Clooney and Blanchet - Bergman, Bogart, shadows and fog. Pity. It could have been a tense war time thriller - Who is he? Where is he? What is it about? I was always mesmerized by questions like that on films that "The Good German" seems to want to emulate. Sodebergh is one my most recent favorites and one of the main reasons is because he is unafraid of taking chances. The question is, what are the chances taken for? I get more "Bubble" - sort of - than "The Good German" Blanchet is great to watch, she's Hildegarde Kneff and/or a lip-full Gloria Grahame but other than admire her right there on the screen I wasn't permitted to feel anything. George Clooney is just as solid in black and white as he is in color and Tobey McGuire - well, the best I can say is that his contribution is brief. What I took with me as the most valuable aspect of this experiment is/was Thomas Newman's classically colorful score.
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