Robin9

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Thanks for the review. I agree with your assessment of the film and particularly of John Lund's contribution. He does pretty well but, and I've made this point before, if Fred MacMurray or Cary Grant had played that role, the icing would have been on the cake.

I'm going to watch the DVD in the next few days to see if I want to upgrade.
 

Flashgear

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A great review Matt. I absolutely love this film and am grateful to KL for releasing it in a pretty good HD presentation. However, I have always found Jean Arthur to be far more alluring than Marlene Dietrich, in this film or beyond...a difference surely found in the idiosyncrasies of the male animal and to each his own, ha, ha...but this film belongs to both of those lovely talents. And Billy Wilder and his usual supremely accomplished cohort of film makers.

The on-location filmed devastation of immediate postwar Berlin and Germany lends such atmosphere to this film, and other films like the immortal "The 3rd Man" (Vienna of course, and really looking forward to KL's Blu announced release of Carol Reed's phenomenal "The Man Between"), Wilder's wonderful "One, Two, Three"..."Decision Before Dawn" -- a great 1951 Oscar nominated thriller that I'd love to see in Blu... "Berlin Express" also...even lesser films like "Verboten", "Fraulein", "Man on a String", "Escape from East Berlin", "A Dandy in Aspic" and KL's previously released "Ten Seconds to Hell"...and I also love the Berlin set cold war thrillers like "Night People", "The Deadly Affair", "Man Who Came in from the Cold", and "Funeral in Berlin", etc...
 
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Brian Dauth

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1. I think it is interesting how A FOREIGN AFFAIR anticipates SUNSET BLVD. in having two women vie for the same man. Wilder always loved the triangle construction, e.g., SABRINA, THE APARTMENT.

2. I take your point about John Lund's performance, but want to dissent. MacMurray and Grant would have been too "good" for the role. Lund's blandness works perfectly in that Captain Pringle is bland--he only assumes color in his proximity to Erika (Wilder was always careful to show the distinction between European and American sensibilities). MacMurray and Grant would have overwhelmed the role and cast into the shadow the contrast between Phoebe and Erika (similar to the contrast between Betty and Norma in SUNSET BLVD.).
 

Robin9

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I take your point about John Lund's performance, but want to dissent. MacMurray and Grant would have been too "good" for the role. Lund's blandness works perfectly in that Captain Pringle is bland--he only assumes color in his proximity to Erika (Wilder was always careful to show the distinction between European and American sensibilities). MacMurray and Grant would have overwhelmed the role and cast into the shadow the contrast between Phoebe and Erika (similar to the contrast between Betty and Norma in SUNSET BLVD.).
That's an interesting point. I'm not sure I agree but it's certainly worth thinking about. By the way, welcome to HTF.
 

David_B_K

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This movie is so dark I scarcely think of it as a comedy. The status of the people in post-war Berlin and the soldiers' profiteering at their expense is pretty harsh. I guess it's kind of a comedy noir?

I really do like this film, though. Everyone is great in it. I even like Lund, whom I've never cared much for. I agree that he is well cast as the morally ambiguous officer. His handsome blandness allows him to play two sides without seeming committed to either.

My favorite moment is the "Black Market" number where Marlene takes the cigarette out of Lund's mouth, puts in hers, and smokes it as she makes her way around the room singing, and places it in the mouth of her accompanist at number's end. She owns the song and the whole room in every way imaginable.
 

Filmgazer

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Marlene Dietrich's piano accompanist in the cabaret scenes was Frederick Hollander, who wrote the songs for the film. Their musical collaboration goes all the way back to Germany in 1930, when he wrote "Falling in Love Again" for "The Blue Angel". As an interesting side note, he later wrote the imaginative score and songs for "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T".
 

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