Foreign Affair

A Foreign Affair

Director: Billy Wilder, Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund

Cast: Billy Wilder, Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund

     
 
Writer/director Billy Wilder (in collaboration with producer/writer Charles Brackett) earned his first critical condemnation with A Foreign Affair. Reviewers accused Wilder (as they would so often in the future) of moral bankruptcy, challenging him to prove what could possibly be funny about the Nazi war guilt, the bombed-out city of Berlin, the postwar

Overview

Writer/director Billy Wilder (in collaboration with producer/writer Charles Brackett) earned his first critical condemnation with A Foreign Affair. Reviewers accused Wilder (as they would so often in the future) of moral bankruptcy, challenging him to prove what could possibly be funny about the Nazi war guilt, the bombed-out city of Berlin, the postwar European black market or attempted suicide. All of these elements are in Foreign Affair, and all are very funny. John Lund is an American army captain carrying on a casual affair with Berlin songstress Marlene Dietrich, who accepts Lund's attentions so long as there are contraband cigarettes and nylons added to the bargain. Iowa congresswoman Jean Arthur is sent as part of an American fact-finding delegation to Berlin, and Lund is compelled to clean up his act--or at least pretend to. Despite her initial shock at the corruption all around her, straitlaced Arthur eventually falls for Lund, but Dietrich has been at this game a lot longer. For an interesting cinematic and sociological exercise, A Foreign Affair should be shown in tandem with Wilder's 1961 Cold War comedy One, Two, Three.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
A cutting-edge comedy in the post-World War II era, A Foreign Affair remains a very funny film, but much of its richness came from the historical context of its satire. At the heart of the film is the observant wit of writer/director Billy Wilder, a Jewish German émigré with a sardonic view of life in post-war Berlin. The interplay among Marlene Dietrich, Jean Arthur, and John Lund gives the film much of its comic texture; the dialogue is sharp and the story is knowing. Charles Lang's cinematography is first-rate, and Edith Head's costume designs give the film much of its glamour. While not as well-known as other Wilder films, A Foreign Affair was a clear example of Wilder's increasing willingness to push the limits of what Hollywood would allow. While a film like A Foreign Affair would be the crowning achievement for many directors, Wilder had still more great films ahead of him, with such classics as Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Some Like it Hot (1959).

Product Details

Release Date:
10/07/2014
UPC:
0025192139420
Original Release:
1948
Source:
Universal Mod
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:52:00
Sales rank:
9,144

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jean Arthur Phoebe Frost
Marlene Dietrich Erika von Schluetow
John Lund Capt. John Pringle
Millard Mitchell Col. Rufus J. Plummer
Bill Murphy Joe
Peter Von Zerneck Hans Otto Birgel
Stanley Prager Mike
Gordon Jones First M.P.
Freddie Steele Second M.P.
Raymond Bond Pennecott
Boyd Davis Griffin
Robert Malcolm Kramer
Charles Meredith Yandell
Michael Raffetto Salvatore
Damian O'Flynn Lieutenant Colonel
Frank Fenton Maj. Mathews
Harland Tucker Gen. McAndrew
William Neff Lt. Lee Thompson
George Carleton Gen. Finney
Bobby Watson Adolf Hitler

Technical Credits
Billy Wilder Director,Screenwriter
Charles Brackett Producer,Screenwriter
Richard L. Breen Screenwriter
Charles C. Coleman Asst. Director
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Ross Dowd Set Decoration/Design
Hans Dreier Art Director
Hugo Grenzbach Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Harari Screenwriter
Doane Harrison Editor
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Frederick Hollander Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Gordon Jennings Special Effects
Charles B. Lang Cinematographer
Walter Oberst Sound/Sound Designer
Walter Tyler Art Director
Wally Westmore Makeup

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