7.4/10
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A Foreign Affair (1948)

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

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial television broadcast took place in Chicago Sunday 4 January 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2), followed by Seattle 23 January 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), and it soon became a popular local favorite the moment it was telecast, in Milwaukee 3 May 1959 on WIKI (Channel 6), in Minneapolis 6 May 1959 on WTCN (Channel 11), in Omaha 2 June 1959 on KETV (Channel 7), in Grand Rapids 4 September 1959 on WOOD (Channel 8), in Detroit, where it was shown in two parts Thursday-Friday 1-2 October 1959 on WJBK (Channel 2), in Toledo 10 October 1959 on WTOL (Channel 11), in Phoenix 15 November 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Johnstown 18 November 1959 on WJAC (Channel 6), in Philadelphia 19 December 1959 on WCAU (Channel 10), in St. Louis 18 February 1960 on KMOX (Channel 4) in San Francisco 22 October 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5), and, finally, in New York City 21 January 1961 and in Los Angeles 8 April 1961 on KNXT (Channel 2). After nearly 70 years, it's more popular than ever, and was released on DVD 10 June 2013 by Universal Studios and Turner Classic Movies, where it also receives frequent cable presentations. See more »

Goofs

When the Americans are flying over Berlin, the scenery outside Phoebe's (Jean Arthur's) window never changes. See more »

Quotes

Erika von Schluetow: When you say you are engaged, that is only until her plane leaves, huh?
Captain John Pringle: What else?
Erika von Schluetow: I love you so very much.
Captain John Pringle: You do?
Erika von Schluetow: You're the only man I ever wanted to marry.
Captain John Pringle: That's mighty white of you.
Erika von Schluetow: I want to go with you to America. I want to climb up the Statue of Liberty.
Captain John Pringle: You want to get down that basement at Fort Knox.
Erika von Schluetow: I want to be where you are.
Captain John Pringle: Yeah, I can just imagine you in Iowa in blue jeans, going on a hay ride to the old mill.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Dick Cavett (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A Moment in Cinema: Dietrich Sings "Black Market"
20 February 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

in this excellent and underrated Billy Wilder film. Dietrich plays a former Nazi trying to hide behind a post-war American boyfriend. Jean Arthur plays a spinster American congresswoman, and John Lund is the man they both fall for. The scenes of bombed-out Berlin are astonishing, and the 3 stars are wonderful in this sly comedy that gets better with every viewing. The highlights tho are Dietrich's musical numbers sung in a basement speakeasy. She sings the great "Black Market" with composer Frederick Hollander at the piano. She sings LIVE and it's electrifying. She also sings "The Ruins of Berlin" and "Lovely Illusions." Jean Arthur is also good in one of her last films. Millard Mitchell, Bill Murphy, Stanley Prager, and Gordon Jones co-star. A must!


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