Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Was On TV Last Night


Last night on Turner Classic Movies I watched the 1961 film "One, Two, Three" directed by Billy Wilder. I had seem it before, but it is such a great movie I watched it again.

"One, Two, Three" is great comedy about a Berlin Coca-Cola sales representative (James Cagney) that must take care of his boss's vacationing daughter, who eventually elopes with fanatical Communist on the same day that the boss is coming to Germany to take her home.

One of the strengths of the film is that while it pokes fun at Russians and Germans and Europeans in general, it does not spare Americans or even stereotypes of men and women in it's barbs. Even the lead, James Cagney, portrays a charecter that is greedy, selfish and lecherous - and you find yourself rooting for him anyway.

The film starts off as being fast paced and hectic, and then it just keeps escalating. By the end of the film the pace is like a runaway freight train. Luckily, it never actually falls into the standard hackneyed Hollywood "zany" or "madcap" comedy.

James Cagney is perfect for the role of the pushy, self-serving Coca-Cola sales representative. I am not a big fan of James Cagney, although he does seem to be very popular among film buffs. I did like the scene where he ventilated a car's truck in "White Heat", but all of his films seem to blur together in my mind after a while. Also, I like some musicals, and Cagney is a decent hoofer, but "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is just way too silly for me.

Other films directed by Billy Wilder are "Double Indemnity", "The Lost Weekend", "Sunset Boulevard", "Stalag 17", "Witness for the Prosecution", "Some Like It Hot", "The Fortune Cookie", and my personal favorites, "The Front Page", "The Seven Year Itch", "Sabrina".

Tonight on Turner Classic Movies, Bette Davis in "Now, Voyager" and Jose Ferrer in "Cyrano De Bergerac".


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At Thu Jan 31, 09:22:00 AM, Blogger Splotchy said...

I was lucky enough to see this movie in a theater a couple years ago!

And even luckier to get a hold of the movie poster!

It's my favorite Billy Wilder movie by far.

At Thu Jan 31, 05:50:00 PM, Blogger Comrade Kevin said...

Durn it.

I will have to catch this later!

At Fri Feb 01, 05:31:00 AM, Blogger FranIAm said...

I have not seen it- and now I must. You give a most compelling review.

At Fri Feb 01, 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Splotchy: I would have loved to have seen it in a theater. It is a great movie. I think that my favorite Billy Wilder is still "The Front Page", though.

Comrade Kevin: They will rerun it, I'm sure. There are some great movies on TCM!

FranIAm: You are just being kind, my review was actually brief and incomplete. It is great movie, though! And it is very different than other films. That's really part of it's appeal, because it is so different than other comedies, you have no idea what is going to happen next! And it is all happening at a breakneck speed.

At Fri Feb 01, 03:56:00 PM, Blogger kimono hime said...

My father was a dead ringer for Cagney in his younger (30's-40's) days.

At Sun Feb 03, 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Really? My condolences. ;o)


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