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 »
Sikorsky examines some currency, paying close attention to the serial numbers. He's shown examining the bills: their serial numbers are rendered in an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) typeface, which wouldn't be introduced until decades later the period of this film. 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 »
Excellent story telling in the post World War II tradition of THE THIRD MAN
The best film to evoke the period in recent memory. Blanchett and Clooney lead a strong cast and make a better film than expected from the novel's source material. Archival newsreel footage of 1945 Berlin and black and white cinematography put to very effective use. Toby McGuire as a self-serving, mean spirited weasel shows another side of the usually boyish charmer. Beau Bridges well cast as the US army brass who bears a self-righteous similarity to contemporary military higher-ups who think they have a corner on deciding the right thing to do. Secrets, lies, love and intrigue woven together to form a provocative study of moral ambiguities and tough choices in wartime. Highly recommended.
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