LETTING OFF STEAM IN BERLIN
BY FREDA BRUCE LOCKHART
ONE, TWO, THREE Certificate .:A" Director: Billy Wilder
VRNST LUBITSCH often
seems one of Hollywood's most missed figures. He was not only the purveyor of so much graceful Ruritanian romance. He could also shine his wit and brilliance on the blackest spots of modern life, and make the exposure wonderful entertainment — as he did with "Ninotchka" and "To Be or Not to Be", his brilliant comedy about the tragedy of Poland at war.
Billy Wilder, who worked for some time with the maestro, is without doubt Lubitsch's nearest sucssor. Wilder's talent is tougher and coarser than Lubitseh's, his taste more reckless and uncertain. But when that talent is aireed at modern political realities it finds its mark. Once more it is turned on divided Berlin and Americans. Russians and Germans there whom Wilder lambastes are fair game for his sallies.
Chief of the Americans is Macnamara, the Coca-Cola representative maddened by the heelclicking and boot-licking of his German staff, but dictatorial enough himself to be addressed by his wife (an amusing performance by Arlene Francis) as "Mein Fuhrer".
James Cagney has the bouncing ebullience for this tycoon. I liked his German assistant, Hans Lothar, who during the war had been in the underground — not the resistance, but the underground railway—so had known nothing of what went on above; and his highpower red secretary. a bi-lingual top-speed stenographer and gumchewing blonde, siren enough to lure Russian trade commissioners to their doom.
I liked too his boss, using the Transatlantic telephone to ask family favours, in particular care
for his daughter, Scarlett. The escapades of this hot-blooded Southern belle cause the story's intrigue when she marries a Communist who has to be smuggled back and forth. Pamela Tiffin makes Scarlett the most amusing nit-wit since Judy Holliday.
Her Communist bridegroom is played by Horst Buchholz, the popular German who plays English, French, Polish parts, and now Russian.
Some people think that to make fun out of the plight of Berlin is deplorable taste. To me a film like this SeefT18 a most valuable letting-off of steam.
TENDER IS THE NIGHT Certificate "A" Director: Henry King
TENNIFER JONES remains one
of the most distinguished actresses among Hollywood stars. The comparative rarity of her appearances now makes each one a special attraction.
This film is a bit of a collector's museum-piece, based on a book by Scott Fitzgerald, novelist preeminently of the 1920's, heyday of prohibition and psychiatry.
Jennifer Jones plays a wealthy neurotic in an "institution" in Zurich (even I have never thought so ill of psychiatrists as to suppose they would house their rich patients behind sudh high bars). She marries her psychiatrist who cures her only to find their relations reversed and himself the broken neurotic depending on her.
Miss Jones convinces that she understands the subtleties of her case. A money element also complicates the study of dependence, and the neurotic woman's rich sister "Baby" is most effectively played by Joan Fontaine.
Miss Fontaine and Miss Jones wear their clothes better than most Hollywood actresses, and some gorgeous dresses have been designed for them to do justice to.
Jill St. John is also both strikingly pretty and effective in her turn as a young starlet.
Besides its period setting the whole rather miserable portrait of a slice of smart worthless life has a flavour of films as they used to be. Some of the author's talent as social historian of his times has rubbed off on the film. But whether the younger generation to whom it has not this nostalgic appeal will see much in it but three beautiful women I would not be sure.
INNOCENT SINNERS Certificate " A" Director: Andrzej WaJda
THIS Polish trifle has most of the marks of an end-of-term prize essay. It shows merely the very brief encounter of a youth and a girl so observant of con
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