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The head of Coca Cola in Cold War divided Berlin (but before the Wall), is saddled with the twit daughter (she of the over-active hormones), of one of his Coke Atlanta Office superiors. She becomes involved with an East German communist bohemian/activist, the parents from Atlanta are on the way, and all the fun begins.
The jokes are rapid fire and non-stop. The cast impeccable. I can't imagine anyone other than Cagney doing his role (its that indelible). In its own way a daring little picture, the world was incredibly tense when this movie came out, much like it is today but for different reasons. Berlin was one of the world's "hot spots" and a face-off point with the Soviet Union and a possible spark for Armageddan. Wilder found humor in that tension and the laughs that resulted were relief at the discovery of the human comedy within the Cold War. He put a human face on the communists and found in their foibles the same age-old human weaknesses of greed & lust & envy. In other words, they were the same as us. That meant there was hope.
But the heck with that, its funny as hell. Take the ride.
This frenetic comedy is not for everyone, but if you can remember pill box hats and Berlin before the Wall, you will probably love it. The one-liners come fast and furious as all the actors shout their lines, and the "Sabre Dance" is the background music for the non-stop physical humor. Cagney hams it up as the harried Coca Cola boss who barks orders to his ex-nazi assistant and keeps wife Arlene Francis from leaving him. Tiffin, a teen icon at the time, floats through the movie in a Southern-belle haze, mostly ogling handsome Horst Buchholz, who plays her commie beatnik husband, Otto ("He doesn't even wear socks!"). The supporting cast is full of German and Russian stereotypes of the period who race around at breakneck speed trying to make Otto into a respectable husband.
If you liked the wacky political humor that was popular at the time, you'll enjoy this very funny comedy, filmed in glorious black and white.
Tasked with keeping an eye on his boss's daughter, who is mostly occupied with chasing boys, becomes Cagney's all consuming passion and concern. His total inability to carry out this task is what makes this movie so amusing. He can control Coca-Cola operations in Europe, but not a teenaged girl. Cagney's East German/Soviet Bloc opponents seem like the "usual suspects" in send up movies, but they all work well in their quest for the secret formula that makes Coke so successful. Cagney's cataloging of their failed attempts is side-spliotting. The double talk and double dealing is non-stop and excellently done and just adds to the fun of the film.
This is a film that is little known but it shouldn't be. Made at the end of Cagney's career, it highlights just how versatile he was as an actor and what a great comedic actor he was. Anyone with an interest in Cagney would enjoy this film and view it more than once.
This is also a chance to see Berlin before it was altered and changed by the erection of the Berlin Wall which was went up not too long after this film was made. It is a Berlin under the four powers that few will understand now that the city and country have been reunified.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unrelenting rapid fire humor, conveying the ineffable timbre of the height of the Cold War era in a vehicle of intricately structured fun and frivolity, and culminating in a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Conceptor
1960s hyper cold war comedy with James Cagney as the frenetic, high strung corporate representative of Coca Cola in West Berlin during the berlin wall crisis. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bill Turner
One of Cagney's greatest films. An often overlooked classic laugh riot. Even though it is a period piece set in Berlin just before the wall went up, it is timeless with its poke... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steve Rosenberg
A film classic and the last big role for a great star, Jimmy Cagney. Wonderful, ultra fast-paced comedy, poking delicious fun at the post-WWII Communist regime and the German... Read morePublished 7 months ago by J. D. Portnoy
One of the best Cagney comedies ever made. If you don't watch or own this one then you are missing out the meaning of "Cold War Humor". I love this one.Published 8 months ago by Elmer E. Montgomery, Jr.
Didn't notice that this disc won't play on my US machine.. There goes $10 down the toilet...
I was able to view movie on my Macbook, so not a total loss...