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 congressional committee visits occupied Berlin to investigate G.I. morals. Congresswoman Phoebe Frost, appalled at widespread evidence of human frailty, hears rumors that cafe singer Erika, former mistress of a wanted war criminal, is "protected" by an American officer, and enlists Captain John Pringle to help her find him...not knowing that Pringle is Erika's lover.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Seventy-nine pre-war newsreels were studied in order to accurately recreate a newsreel in which Erika von Schluetow is seen at a Berlin opera house with the Nazi High Command. See more »
Though the character played by Jean Arthur is an 'unmarried' American Congresswoman, the actress's real life wedding ring is visible in many scenes especially close-ups during the latter part of the film. See more »
Col. Rufus J. Plummer:
Well, men, once more it is our honor and privilege to welcome a visiting committee. Lately they seem to be coming as regularly as the electric bill. This time its not just VIPs. This time we're gettin' VIPIs: Very Important Persons In deed. Some congressional committee to investigate our morale. Seems back home they've got an idea this here is one great big picnic. That all we do is swing in hammocks with blonde frauleins, swap cigarettes for castles on the Rhine and soak our feet in sparkling ...
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This is a well written (Brackett and Breen) and directed (Billy Wilder) film with great performances. Marlene Dietrich is impressive as the Nazi chanteuse with loose morals, great legs and an eye for the main chance. Her songs e.g. Ruins of Berlin are sardonic and compelling. Jean Arthur is irresistible as the frustrated Congresswoman, throwing herself at John Lund with enthusiasm and gradually coming to see human behaviour in shades of grey, rather than black and white.
John Lund is very good as the cynical army officer, attracted to Dietrich while repelled by her politics and prepared to romance Arthur in order to bury Dietrich's Nazi past. He has a nice way with underplayed humour e.g. "It can't be subversive to kiss a Republican!" Supporting actors, especially Millard Mitchell as Col Plummer are all good.
Berlin makes a bleak impressive backdrop, making the behaviour of the occupying troops and the Berliners easy to understand. There are some lovely vignettes e.g. the German woman pushing a pram decorated with the US flag.
Unfortunately the film was perceived as unpatriotic by many critics and did not do as much for the career of John Lund as it should.
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