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 »
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 ... Reporter
Henning Schlüter Henning Schlüter ... Dr. Bauer
Karl Ludwig Lindt Karl Ludwig Lindt ... Zeidlitz
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Storyline

Post-war Berlin is the microcosm of the polarization of West and East; American and Soviet. C.R. MacNamara's Coca-Cola's head of West Berlin operations, His life goes into a spin when he must deal with the visit of Scarlett Hazeltine; the 17yo spoilt daughter of his boss. On the same day Mac hears Mr. & Mrs. Hazeltine will be iarriving in a day, he also learns Scarlett's married Otto Ludwig Piffl, a staunch East German Communist. Mac also learns Scarlett's pregnant, Mac has to get Otto, and turn him into a respectable young man for the soon-to-be arriving boss... and Otto's father-in-law. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film recorded a loss of $1.6 million. It didn't do well at either the U.S. or German box office because the story felt much more sinister in 1961 when the Berlin Wall was erected. See more »

Goofs

When Otto is driving his motorcycle with the balloon attached to the exhaust pipe, the balloon would have popped in a short time from the volume of exhaust gasses. See more »

Quotes

C.R. MacNamara: Of course you were anti-Nazi and you never liked Adolf.
Schlemmer: Adolf who?
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Connections

Referenced in Bridge of Spies (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
(uncredited)
Written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance
Recorded by Brian Hyland
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

16 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One, Two, Three See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1962) (banned) | (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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