7.9/10
17,248
119 user 62 critic

One, Two, Three (1961)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 18 December 1961 (West Germany)
In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss' socialite daughter.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Billy Wilder (screenplay), I.A.L. Diamond (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... C.R. MacNamara
Horst Buchholz ... Otto Ludwig Piffl
Pamela Tiffin ... Scarlett Hazeltine
Arlene Francis ... Phyllis MacNamara
Howard St. John ... Wendell P. Hazeltine
Hanns Lothar Hanns Lothar ... Schlemmer
Leon Askin ... Peripetchikoff
Ralf Wolter Ralf Wolter ... Borodenko
Karl Lieffen Karl Lieffen ... Fritz
Hubert von Meyerinck ... Count von Droste Schattenburg
Loïs Bolton Loïs Bolton ... Melanie Hazeltine (as Lois Bolton)
Peter Capell ... Mishkin
Til Kiwe Til Kiwe ... Reporter
Henning Schlüter Henning Schlüter ... Dr. Bauer
Karl Ludwig Lindt Karl Ludwig Lindt ... Zeidlitz
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Storyline

Berlin is the epitome of political and economic polarization. A microcosm of that polarization is the life of American C.R. MacNamara, known as Mac to his friends. He is Coca-Cola's head of West Berlin operations, although he feels he deserves to be Coca-Cola's head of European operations based in London. Mac's wife, Phyllis, wants him instead to get a steady and stable job back in head office in Atlanta. His West Berlin staff are all still used to treating him like their old master, the Fuhrer. The one exception is his secretary, Ingeborg, who is the latest in the long line of his secretary mistresses. And he's working on a trade agreement of getting Coca-Cola into the Russian market. His life goes into a tailspin when he hosts Scarlett Hazeltine in his home for two weeks. She is the seventeen year old spoiled and party-loving daughter of his Atlanta based boss, Wendell Hazeltine. Unlike most of the stops she's made on her European trip, Scarlett seems to like West Berlin and stays ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Billy Wilder's Explosive New Comedy

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

18 December 1961 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Uno, dos, tres See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,000,000, 31 December 1962
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1962) (banned) | (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point James Cagney says, "I wish I were in hell with my back broken," a line Billy Wilder used in at least two of his earlier films. Humphrey Bogart says the same line in Sabrina (1954), and Akim Tamiroff says a slight variation, "I wish I were in a black pit with my back broken," in Five Graves to Cairo (1943). Ray Walston later repeats the sentiment in Kiss Me, Stupid (1964). See more »

Goofs

The sign that would have been displayed as you left West Berlin into the Eastern side via the Brandenburg Gate, would have read 'You Are Now Leaving The British Sector' as that area had been in The British Zone of occupation since 1945. Hence, any allied border guards or MPs that the characters would have come into contact with throughout the movie, would also be British and not American. See more »

Quotes

Ingeborg: What do you want in this, cream, sugar?
C.R. MacNamara: Just a couple of lumps of Benzedrine. It's gonna be a rough day.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Desperate But Not Serious (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Perfect, Hysterical Madcap Comedy
17 July 2003 | by Gazzer-2See all my reviews

C.R. MacNamara (James Cagney), a soft drink executive stationed in West Berlin with his wife (Arlene Francis) and two kids, is given the task of looking after his boss' wild daughter, Scarlett (Pamela Tiffin), who flies in for a visit. But when Scarlett runs off and marries a young Communist named Otto (Horst Buchholz)---and with MacNamara's boss flying in to West Berlin in a matter of hours---MacNamara has to race against the clock to turn Scarlett's rebellious new husband into the perfect son-in-law, or risk losing his job....

Billy Wilder's "One Two Three" is one of the greatest comedy films ever made. This wonderfully zany 1961 gem is a lightning-paced, hysterical farce (and with it's classic instrumental theme of "The Sabre Dance," you know you're in for a rollicking, rapid-fire comedy). Based on a French play, much of the movie plays out like a stage comedy, as Wilder simply turns his camera on the actors and lets them do their thing. The entire cast is simply superb, their comic timing perfect. James Cagney gives one of his all-time greatest performances as C.R. MacNamara. In almost every scene, with the bulk of the script on his shoulders, Cagney is sharp, quick on the draw, and just plain hilarious as the bewildered executive. Arlene Francis lends fine comic support as Cagney's sarcastic wife, Horst Buchholz is very funny & perfectly cast as the rebellious Otto, and the gorgeous Pamela Tiffin is simply a riot as the hot-blodded, dim-witted Scarlett. But ALL the actors in this movie are funny & terrific. Billy Wilder's direction is marvelous, and his script co-written with I.A.L. Diamond is clever and hilarious.

Some may find the quick pace of "One Two Three" a little exhausting, as the movie's energy level remains high from beginning to end, rarely stopping for air, but it works for me. This movie is pure farce, plain and simple. It makes no apologies for what it is, and it's goal is to make you laugh loudly. "One Two Three" is one of the most hysterical movies I've ever seen in my life, and it never fails to give me bellylaughs. Thank you Billy, Jimmy, and all the rest for this magnificent comedy gem.


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