During the Cold War, an American soldier is abducted in West Berlin, sparking a recovery effort led by Colonel Steve Van Dyke.During the Cold War, an American soldier is abducted in West Berlin, sparking a recovery effort led by Colonel Steve Van Dyke.During the Cold War, an American soldier is abducted in West Berlin, sparking a recovery effort led by Colonel Steve Van Dyke.
Mind you this isn't any ordinary corporal. Turns out he's the son of Broderick Crawford who is doing a light version of his junk tycoon from Born Yesterday. As it is explained in a line which audiences today might not get, 'he plays golf'. That he was a businessman who played golf was meant that he played regularly with the most famous golfer in America. You could not go a week in the USA of the Fifties without reading in the newspapers or hearing on radio or television about President Eisenhower tearing it up at some golf course. No one born after 1956 or so would possibly grasp the meaning of that description.
So Crawford goes to Berlin to get some action and he runs into Gregory Peck of the Provost Marshal's office who does things in his own time and won't be bullied or influenced.
Peck's role calls for him to be soldier, diplomat, and psychologist all in one. But he's a professional and he carries it off despite a few unexpected wrinkles. One of them turns out to be Anita Bjork who has been working both sides of the Cold War in an effort to obtain her much needed absinthe.
Aiding and abetting Peck in his attempt to free the corporal are Rita Gam as his girl Friday, Sgt. Buddy Ebsen, Peck's non-com aide, and army doctor Walter Abel who has to be on standby at the climax of the film. Why is that, you have to watch Night People to find out, but Abel's needed for a potential emergency.
Berlin ever since the airlift was at the center of the Cold War with the Russians. The wall had not been built yet and after that things kind of settled to an uneasy acceptance until the fall of the Soviet Union. Night People is an average Cold War drama made better by the presence of some A list cast members and a tightly edited script by Nunnally Johnson who also directed.
- Apr 28, 2011