Montgomery Cliff (in his last role) plays James Bower, an American physicist visiting West Germany who's recruited by a shady CIA agent, named Adam, to help them with the defection of a ... See full summary »
In 1948, the Soviet Union blockades the Allied sectors of Berlin to bring the entire city under their control. A semi-documentary about the resulting Berlin Airlift gives way to stories of two fictitious U.S. Air Force participants: Sgt. Hank Kowalski, whose hatred of Germans proves resistant to change, and Sgt. Danny McCullough, whose pursuit of an attractive German war widow gives him a crash course in the seamy side of occupied Berlin.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The plane featured in the film is the Douglas C-54 Skymaster. 1,170 were produced from 1942-47. This was the military version of the DC-4 civilian airliner. After WWII many surplus C-54s were converted to civilian use. See more »
The Airlift was in 1948. Paul Douglas's character (an ex-POW who wears an 8th AF shoulder patch) says that for the past seven years he'd sought revenge against the former German prison guard who'd mistreated him. The US bombing campaign against targets in Nazi-occupied Europe didn't begin until 1942, meaning that Douglas could not have been shot down and captured in 1941. See more »
At the end of the movie, the "Hollywood" stars (Clift, Douglas etc.), are not credited, however a panoramic coda does credit the principal military service members who portrayed themselves in the film. It shows them standing at attention in front of a C-54, with their names and ranks scrolling across. See more »
Montgomery Clift had made his screen debut in 1947 in The Search and in the short period of four years made some films considered now as classics. He was also in Red River. The Heiress, and A Place in the Sun. The Big Lift doesn't belong in that category.
Still it's an intriguing idea that George Seaton. With only five actors in the plot, have the rest of the film be actual army personnel and German civilians. And the amateur cast does fine playing themselves. I guess it saved a whole lot salary. It gives the movie a documentary feel to it.
Monty and Paul Douglas are two American GIs participating in The Berlin Airlift. This was America and it's allies Great Britain and France in a joint effort to airlift supplies into Berlin after Stalin closed off ground access to Berlin in an effort to force the other three occupying powers out of Berlin.
It was a great propaganda victory for the west at the beginning of the Cold War. Fed a hungry city at the same time calling Joe Stalin's bluff. One Harry Truman's best decisions as President, a win/win for sure.
The story involves Clift and Douglas and their interaction with some German civilians they hooked up with. Clift is a sensitive soul as he always is and Douglas is the rough hewn, but kindly type he usually is. They have differing views about the Germans from fighting them in the late War which was only five years old at the time The Big Lift was made.
Let us say that both of them learn something from their experiences by the time the film ends and the Berlin Airlift is officially over.
Not in the pantheon of great films for Clift and Douglas, but an interesting and in this case historical piece of cinema.
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