In post-World War II Berlin, the British Susanne Mallison travels to Berlin to visit her older brother Martin Mallison, a military who married German Bettina Mallison. The naive Susanne ...
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A man occupies a position of trust with a merchant in an East Asian port. He's sacked when he's caught stealing, but he pretends to commit suicide and a captain he befriended agrees to take him to a secret trading post.
When their ship docks the crew disembark as usual to pick up their lives in postwar London. For one of them his petty smuggling turns more serious when he finds himself caught up with a robbery in the City.
In post-World War II Berlin, the British Susanne Mallison travels to Berlin to visit her older brother Martin Mallison, a military who married German Bettina Mallison. The naive Susanne snoops on Bettina and suspects she is hiding a something from her brother. When Susanne meets Bettina with her friend Ivo Kern, he offers to show Berlin to her and they date. But Ivo meets the strange Halendar from the East Germany and Susanne takes a cab and return to her home alone. Then she dates Ivo again and he meets Olaf Kastner, who is a friend of Martin and Bettina. But soon Susanne, who has fallen in love with Ivo, learns that he was a former attorney married to Bettina but with a criminal past during the war. Now he is blackmailed by Halendar to kidnap Kastner and bring him back to the other side of the border. The plan fails and Halender asks his men to abduct Bettina to get Kastner. However, Susanne is kidnapped by mistake and is imprisoned in the basement of a house in East Berlin. Now Ivo...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carol Reed always felt that the script for this film wasn't quite right, and was constantly trying to get it rewritten during filming. At one point, he approached Evelyn Waugh to do a rewrite, but Waugh refused, claiming he couldn't understand the story. See more »
In East Berlin, there are many political posters with the name "Walter Ulbrich," but the East German Communist leader's name was actually spelled "Ulbricht." See more »
[Already starting to rub one of Susanne's feet]
Are your feet cold?
Yes, and my hands are cold. Your heart is the coldest of all.
I can warm your feet for you. It's a pity you can't do anything about my heart.
I could try.
Why should you bother?
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This taut film noir when compared to Carol Reed's masterpieces of that genre, Odd Man Out and The Third Man, is a flawed gem, but still that - a gem.
Filmed in Berlin just eight years after WWII ended, and eight years before the Wall went up, it stars James Mason and Claire Bloom as star-crossed lovers in a city still digging itself out of the rubble made by Allied bombs, and still taking refugees from the east of Europe. The story tells of Susanne Mallison, a young Englishwoman who has arrived in Berlin to visit her older brother Martin, an army physician in the British sector of the city, and his German wife Bettina. It is while Susanne and Bettina are spending a day in the eastern sector, that Bettina finds herself reluctantly introducing Susanne to an old friend, the suave and handsome Ivo Kern. Susanne doesn't like Ivo at first -the audience isn't supposed to either - and she immediately becomes suspicious that he and Bettina are having a clandestine affair. She is curious though about the man, but will she learn the truth about Ivo and his mysterious background?
Meanwhile off the set of the film there was more going on behind the scenes between the two stars. From the book 'James Mason - A Personal Biography', by Mason's former sister-in-law and life long friend, Diana de Rosso: "I was to observe another side of his character, rarely disclosed, when he came to London to finish filming The Man Between. He was a frequent visitor to our London home and he began to bring with him increasingly, his ethereally lovely co-star Claire Bloom...He showed a marked interest in the young actress. There was a quality about her, a stillness and tranquillity which set her apart from most artists her age, yet she had a pointed wit and a fine intelligence, virtues which appealed to James - and it was quite apparent that he was in danger of losing his heart. In truth I believe his heart was lost...His attachment to Claire was purely romantic. They used to sit on the floor together in our house, hand in hand, plainly adoring each other..."
But as with Ivo and Susanne, it was the same with James and Claire. Mason did not divorce his estranged wife Pamela Kellino, and de Rosso was surprised that he didn't, but she has some theories. When he finally did get his divorce a few years later, Claire had moved on to other things in her career and private life. Still, when they met again several years later, it was clear that Mason still was very fond of her and she likewise.
When I first saw this film I questioned whether Mason's German accent was very good, but when I lent it to a pair of friends who are German, they said that he did a good job. As for the German supporting cast, it is the best, especially the lovely Hildegard Neff, and the hauntingly beautiful musical score catches the bleak feeling of the city during a cold winter. They are also reasons I list this as one of my favourite film noir productions.
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