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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Billy Wilder arrived on location in Berlin, he saw that the city had cleaned up a little since he was there right after the end of the war, but the results of close to 400 Allied bombing raids were still very much evident. Nearly half a million of the city's buildings had been destroyed, and although resilient Berliners were finding ways to survive, food was still scarce, the black market was thriving, and military police were everywhere. Filming in this virtual war zone suited Wilder's purposes very well, since he needed to show a destroyed city in chaos. 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 »
Erika von Schluetow:
[Referring to Miss Frost]
I see you do not believe in lipstick. And what a curious way to to do your hair or rather not to do it.
Captain John Pringle:
Now, wait a minute! Do you know who you're talking to?
Erika von Schluetow:
An American woman. And I'm a little disappointed, to tell you the truth. We apparently have a false idea about the chic American woman. Oh, I suppose that's publicity in Hollywood.
See more »
This is one of Billy Wilder's least known films...and one of his best. A brilliant, cynical comedy about post-war Berlin goings on...black market, Army officers having affairs with notorious ex-Nazis, etc.
It stars Marlene Dietrich (one of her all-time best performances), and amazing Jean Arthur (in one of her final films), and newcomer John Lund, who was rather wooden in later performances...here, he's terrific.
Songs and musical score by Frederick Hollander...who's actually present playing piano. The three songs Dietrich sings, "Black Market", "Illusions" and "Ruins of Berlin" are lyrically integral to the plot and represent three of best songs written for a non-musical film of the late 1940's.
There's some serious plot points underneath the cynical comedy.
Wish to heck Universal would open their vaults and release it on DVD in the US; thankfully it's available in the UK (get an all-region DVD player...I did!).
It's an absolutely essential late 1940's comedy and in my opinion, one of Billy Wilder's best comedies.
Remember....Wilder's next film was "Sunset Boulevard".
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