7.4/10
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A Foreign Affair (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 20 August 1948 (USA)
In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi café singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Charles Brackett (screenplay), Billy Wilder (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Arthur ... Congresswoman Phoebe Frost
Marlene Dietrich ... Erika Von Schluetow
John Lund ... Captain John Pringle
Millard Mitchell ... Colonel Rufus J. Plummer
Peter von Zerneck Peter von Zerneck ... Hans Otto Birgel
Stanley Prager Stanley Prager ... Mike
William Murphy ... Joe (as Bill Murphy)
Raymond Bond Raymond Bond ... Congressman Pennecot
Boyd Davis Boyd Davis ... Congressman Giffin
Robert Malcolm ... Congressman Kramer
Charles Meredith ... Congressman Yandell
Michael Raffetto ... Confressman Salvatore
Damian O'Flynn ... Lieutenant Colonel
Frank Fenton ... Major Mathews
James Lorimer James Lorimer ... Lieutenant Hornby (as James Larmore)
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It would make a cigar store Indian laugh ...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 August 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La mundana See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a biography of her famous mother, Marlene Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva wrote, "She left for Hollywood in '47, quite sure that once she had designed the clothes, sung the Hollander songs, and made sure that 'Billy won't insist that the woman was really a Nazi during the war,' A Foreign Affair would become a Dietrich film." See more »

Goofs

Just after the movie begins,Jean Arthur announces to the Army officers that she is the representative of Iowa's 9th Congressional District. The movie was shot, and set, after the end of WWII in 1945. Iowa's 9th District was eliminated by redistricting after the 1940 Census, and ceased to exist after the representatives elected in 1942, the first elections with the redrawn 8 districts, took office at the beginning of 1943. This error may have been by intent to avoid connecting her to a real postwar district. See more »

Quotes

Captain John Pringle: Don't tell me it's subversive to kiss a Republican!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Marlene Dietrich: Shadow and Light (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Iowa Corn Song
(uncredited)
Written by Edward Riley, George Botsford, Ray W. Lockard, and George Hamilton
Sung by Jean Arthur and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Incredible
7 June 2001 | by PolyphemSee all my reviews

Billy, just how did you do it?

This is a superb film on post-war Germany, and an amazing take on Berlin in the late 40s. Wilder combines his poetical eye for the comic with a very subtle analysis of morality. And, on top of that, Marlene Dietrich sings and sums it all up. This film is a classic, make no mistake about that, and you definitely want to see it. Plus, it's history.

Billy Wilder had a special relationship with Berlin, and, to be sure, with Germany, and his movies show how deep this understanding ran: "One,Two, Three" and "A Foreign Affair" are among the best films made on Berlin. Full stop.


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