Billy Wilder’s madcap comedy takes place in a corporate, cold-war Berlin.
James Cagney plays Mac, an American executive holed up in the west side and hell-bent on giving a good impression of himself in the hope of being promoted. But his plans are put at risk when he’s asked to keep a watchful eye over his humourless boss’s dim-witted daughter during her stay in the capital.
When the day before her father’s arrival, Scarlett (Pamela Tiffin) reveals she’s married the scruffy Otto Piffl (Horst Buchholz) – an outspoken supporter of the People’s Republic of East Germany – Mac is sent into a freewheeling frenzy with trying to repair the situation.
In and out of the Brandenburg Gate, then a militarised checkpoint, in his card-carrying capitalist’s car, he buys favours with six-packs of soda and coaxes libidinous Soviets on-side with his curvaceous secretary.
Chock-full of national and political stereotypes, women don’t come off too well in this picture, but then nor does anyone else.
Otto Ludwig Piffl
Howard St. John
Mrs Melanie Hazeltine
Count von Drost-Schattenburg
Hubert von Meyerinck
Karl Ludwig Lindt
Rose Renee Roth