One, Two, Three

Overview

In his last starring film it was supposed to be his last film, but Ragtime came along in 1981, James Cagney plays Coca-Cola executive C.R. MacNamara. Assigned to manage Coke's West Berlin office, MacNamara dreams of being transferred to London, and to do this he must curry favor with his Atlanta-based boss, Hazeltine Howard St. John. Thus, MacNamara agrees to look after Hazeltine's dizzy, impulsive daughter, Scarlett Pamela Tiffin, during her visit to Germany. Weeks pass, and on the eve of Hazeltine's visit to ...
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Overview

In his last starring film it was supposed to be his last film, but Ragtime came along in 1981, James Cagney plays Coca-Cola executive C.R. MacNamara. Assigned to manage Coke's West Berlin office, MacNamara dreams of being transferred to London, and to do this he must curry favor with his Atlanta-based boss, Hazeltine Howard St. John. Thus, MacNamara agrees to look after Hazeltine's dizzy, impulsive daughter, Scarlett Pamela Tiffin, during her visit to Germany. Weeks pass, and on the eve of Hazeltine's visit to West Berlin, Scarlett announces that she's gotten married. Even worse, her husband is a hygienically challenged East Berlin Communist named Otto Piffl Horst Buchholz. The crafty MacNamara arranges for Piffl to be arrested by the East Berlin police and to have the marriage annulled, only to discover that Scarlett is pregnant. In rapid-fire "one, two, three" fashion, MacNamara must arrange for Piffl to be released by the Communists and successfully pass off the scrungy, doggedly anti-capitalist Piffl as an acceptable husband for Scarlett. MacNamara must accomplish this in less than 12 hours, all the while trying to mollify his wife Arlene Francis, who has learned of his affair with busty secretary Ingeborg Lilo Pulver. Seldom pausing for breath, Billy Wilder's film is a crackling, mile-a-minute farce, taking satiric scattershots at Coca-Cola, the Cold War the film is set in the months just before the erection of the Berlin Wall, Russian red tape, Communist and capitalist hypocrisy, Southern bigotry, the German "war guilt," rock music, and even Cagney's own movie image. Not all the gags are in the best of taste, and most of the one-liners have dated rather badly, but Cagney's mesmerizing performance holds the whole affair together. Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond adapted their screenplay from an obscure play by Ferenc Molnár. Watch for Red Buttons in an unbilled cameo as a military policeman, and listen for the voice of Sig Rumann, emanating from the mouth of actor Hubert Von Meyerinck the Count von Droste-Schattenburg.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Adapted by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond from a Ferenc Molnar play, Wilder's rapid-fire comedy ferociously satirizes the Cold War divide between East and West. Featuring a peerless James Cagney in his last starring role and set in West Berlin, the breathless farce sends up everything from soft-drink capitalism to Communist hypocrisy, Soviet disorganization, male lechery, female giddiness, postwar Germany, and American pop culture. With a relentless stream of one-liners and numerous comic set pieces, such as a prisoner tortured with endless plays of "Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" and a mad tabletop striptease that shakes a portrait of Stalin off its perch, Wilder and Cagney never let up the pace for a moment, down to the final Pepsi Cola punch line. Earning critical accolades for its wit and its star, One, Two, Three received one Oscar nomination, for Daniel L. Fapp's crisp widescreen black-and-white photography. (Fapp won the color cinematography Oscar that same year, for West Side Story.) One, Two, Three became a popular hit in Germany after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/2/1994
  • UPC: 027616088239
  • Original Release: 1961
  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Cagney C.R. MacNamara
Horst Buchholz Otto Ludwig Piffl
Pamela Tiffin Scarlett Hazeltine
Arlene Francis Phyllis MacNamara
Liselotte Pulver Ingeborg
Howard St. John Hazeltine
Hanns Lothar Schlemmer
Lois Bolton Mrs. Hazeltine
Leon Askin Peripetchikoff
Peter Capell Mishkin
Ralf Wolter Borodenko
Karl Lieffen Fritz
Henning Schluter Dr. Bauer
Til Kiwe Reporter
Karl Ludwig Lindt Zeidlitz
John Allen Tommy MacNamara
Chris Allen Cindy MacNamara
Christine Allen Cindy MacNamara
Rose Renee Roth Bertha
Helmut Schmidt East German Police Corporal
Otto Friebel East German Interrogator
Klaus Becker Policeman
Max Buchsbaum Tailor
Red Buttons Military Police Sergeant
Hubert Von Meyerinck Count Von Droste-Schattenburg
Jasper VonOertzen Haberdasher
Technical Credits
Billy Wilder Director, Producer, Screenwriter
William Calihan Jr. Production Manager
Josef Coesfeld Makeup
I.A.L. Diamond Associate Producer, Screenwriter
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Basil Fenton-Smith Sound/Sound Designer
Doane Harrison Associate Producer
Dan Mandell Editor
Tom Pevsner Asst. Director
André Previn Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Milt Rice Special Effects
Alexandre Trauner Art Director
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great period piece flick

    If you are looking for something that pokes fun at the Cold War, Coca-Cola, Russians, women, men, and also reminds you of the devastation from WWII, this is your flick.

    If you are looking for the inner meaning of life, foggeddaboutit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews