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Customer Review

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars over-looked gem!, March 25, 2002
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This review is from: A Foreign Affair [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Billy Wilder was such a genius in film-making,it's astounding. What really set him apart, I think, was his knack for knowing who to cast in what role. What really gives this film its kick, is Marlene Dietrich in a role that proved once and for all that yes, she can act!
Set in Berlin right after the end of World War Two, and at the beginning of the American occupation of their sector of Berlin,
the film is really a dialogue on the human trait of survival through the worst. The main charactors are bent on surviving their individual circumstances, as each interacts with the others in the story.
Dietrich portrays a former Nazi lounge singer, keeping an American officer sugar-daddy so she can stay alive and well in Berlin, John Lund plays her American officer on a leash, and Jean Arthur is the upright(and uptight) US congresswoman from Iowa who throws a wrench into everybodys life by arriving to check on troop morale.
This film has many truly wicked one-liners, and puts one to mind of Dietrich's days with Von Sternberg, what with all the shadows and over-head lights. Certainly, Dietrich definately benefited from this, she never looked at all her 47 years. Jean Arthur, I've heard, wasn't pleased with the pains Dietrich took with the lighting, but mainly she wasn't too thrilled with her part. She needn't have worried. She portrays the straight-laced congresswoman perfectly, the right foil to Dietrich's sultry singer. Each actor is just right in their role, and one also wonders why John Lund sort of disappeared after this, he was very good in this film.
The cast and script are just perfect, and the lighting and photography are top-notch. This film was a sucess, but due to its subject matter and time frame(at a time when most americans still thought of Germany as the enemy), it wasn't a huge hit. However, it did rejuvenate Dietrich's career yet again, for perhaps the hundredth time. Well worth having in your collection!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 10, 2010 3:58:15 AM PDT
Why isn't this film on dvd?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2010 7:38:30 AM PDT
C. Tolley says:
I really can't imagine why this fine film hasn't made it to dvd yet. Hopefully as more people re-discover it, the movie company will realize what a pearl they have here, and put it out.
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C. Tolley
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Location: hampton, tn United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,938,810