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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 ... 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

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Featured in Almost Famous (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Black Market
(uncredited)
Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Sung by Marlene Dietrich
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Just one of Wilder's all-time best films
30 April 2005 | by barrymn1See all my reviews

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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