During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.
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
I first saw this film in a theater when it came out. Laughed so hard I fell out of my seat (and was spared considerable embarrassment only by the fact that everyone around me was doing the same thing). I can't count the number of times I've seen it over the years, but I know one thing for sure: I've yet to spot all the gags. (They come so fast upon each other's heels that you're likely to miss two for every one you're still laughing over.)
Wilder plays no favorites -- and he takes no prisoners -- here. Everything within his considerable reach (the Cold War, the postwar era, spy-exchanges, Communism, capitalism, European aristocrats, idealism and cynicism, JUST for starters) is lampooned equally. (Even at least one of Cagney's early performances, in "Public Enemy," takes a shot.)
Frankly, I'm surprised this film today has so many staunch fans who weren't around back when so much of its humor was "topical." Its ongoing appeal has to be attributed both to Wilder's pacing and to James Cagney's hallmark performance as McNamara (a poster child for high blood-pressure if ever there was one). Neither he nor Wilder ever let up, ably aided by a solid cast (Horst Bucholtz in particular, strangely enough!) who manage somehow always to catch up.
"One, Two, Three:" that's how fast the gags fly. See if you can keep up.
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