Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1961. Bavaria Film, The Mirisch Corporation, Pyramid Productions. Screenplay by Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, based on the play Egy, Ketto, Harom by Ferenc Molnar. Cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp. Produced by Billy Wilder. Music by Andre Previn. Production Design by Robert Stratil, Heinrich Weidemann. Film Editing by Daniel Mandell. Academy Awards 1961. Golden Globe Awards 1961. National Board of Review Awards 1961.
James Cagney gives a terrific comedic performance as an executive for Coca-Cola in West Berlin who gets nervous about his job when the American boss (Howard St. John) comes over for a visit. Things get pretty heated when the boss’s airheaded daughter falls in love and eventually elopes with a vehemently dedicated Communist (Horst Buchholz) from the East side, where Coca-Cola has yet to find its market as a popular drink. Now Cagney has to spruce up the boss’s new son-in-law and make him presentable for his new capitalist family. Arlene Francis is superb as Cagney’s age-wisened wife, while Buchholz gives a hilariously deluded performance as the young offender. The film isn’t the best in Wilder’s oeuvre, and its message, that every spirited Communist is just a capitalist in denial, would have been helped by a little more irony.