6.6/10
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29 user 5 critic

The Big Lift (1950)

Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift.

Director:

George Seaton

Writer:

George Seaton
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Montgomery Clift ... Danny MacCullough
Paul Douglas ... Hank Kowalski
Cornell Borchers ... Frederica Burkhardt
Bruni Löbel ... Gerda
O.E. Hasse ... Stieber (as O. E. Hasse)
Dante V. Morel Dante V. Morel ... Dante V. Morel (as Capt. Dante V. Morel)
John R. Mason John R. Mason ... John R. Mason (as Capt. John R. Mason)
Gail R. Plush Gail R. Plush ... Gail R. Plush (as Capt. Gail R. Plush)
Mack Blevins Mack Blevins ... Mack Blevins (as Capt. Mack Blevins)
William A. Stewart William A. Stewart ... William A. Stewart (as Capt. William A. Stewart)
Alfred L. Freiburger Alfred L. Freiburger ... Alfred L. Freiburger (as 1st Lt. Alfred L. Freiburger)
Gerald Arons Gerald Arons ... Gerald Arons (as 1st Lt. Gerald Arons)
James Wilson James Wilson ... James Wilson (as 1st Lt. James Wilson)
Richard A. Kellogg Richard A. Kellogg ... Richard A. Kellogg (as 1st Lt. Richard A. Kellogg)
Roy R. Steele Roy R. Steele ... Roy R. Steele (as 1st Lt. Roy R. Steele)
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Ruins came Hope and Despair

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 July 1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Es begann mit einem Kuß See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,300,000, 31 December 1950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox 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

This was an unusually gritty subject for director George Seaton whose previous films were largely musicals and whimsical fantasies like Miracle on 34th Street (1947). See more »

Goofs

Paul Douglas is giving a brutal beating to his former German military prison guard, but the military police don't arrest him, but chase after Montgomery Clift. See more »

Quotes

Alfred L. Freiburger: [as they march between the honor guard toward the welcome ceremony] Fix your hat.
Sgt. 1st Class Danny MacCullough: I feel just as if you and I were getting married, lieutenant.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This picture was made in occupied Germany. All scenes were photographed in the exact locale associated with the story, including episodes in the American, French, British and Russian sectors of Berlin.

With the exception of Montgomery Clift and Paul Douglas, all military personnel appearing in this film are actual members of the U.S. Armed Forces on duty in Germany. See more »

Connections

References Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

Mariandl
(uncredited)
Music by Hans Lang
Lyrics by Kurt Nachmann
Played and sung by the band in the club
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Has a documentary feel to it.
17 May 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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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