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One Two Three (1961)

Classics and Comedy movie directed by Billy Wilder

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Another unremembered classic

  • Nov 8, 2001
People who know Jimmy Cagney only as a wise cracking ganster or Horst Buchholz as Chico in the MAGNIFICANT SEVEN or Arline Frances from TO TELL THE TRUTH will be absolutly delighted. The lines are like a gusher of water in the desert when you're dying of thurst, you want to drink in every one.

This is the fastest paced movie since A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. The pace is furrious as is Cagney. It is full of comic timing and genius.

A fine subplot involves the relationship between Cagney and Frances, this movie is full of messages if you look deep at it. Of course that will have to wait till the 4th or 5th viewing since you'll be laughing too hard to notice it.

Perhaps the leftward tilt of Hollywood keeps this movie off the small screen as it pokes fun of all the weaknesses of communism, but whatever your views you can't help but laugh.

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About the reviewer
Peter Ingemi ()
Ranked #260
   I am a blogger who hosts a Saturday evening Radio show on WCRN 830 AM out of Worcester Mass. I blog about politics, religion, baseball and doctor who at datechguy.wordpress.com I also cover … more
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About this movie


Hardly ever mentioned in the category of lightning-paced comedies--theHis Girl Fridayand Preston Sturges kind--is this breathless cold war farce from the great Billy Wilder. Adapted from a one-act play by Ferenc Molnár, Wilder and collaborator I.A.L. Diamond's hilarious screenplay is a whirlwind collection of one-liners, gags, and double-entendres, anchored for the cameras by Jimmy Cagney's cagey and frenetic performance (one of his best), and, under Wilder's direction, executed with diamond-like precision. The gangster-movie icon plays a Coca-Cola executive in West Berlin (the film's 1961 release put it squarely in the middle of the world's laserlike focus on East vs. West tensions) who has parlayed expanding American consumerism into a chance to break through the Iron Curtain and sell "the pause that refreshes" to thirsty comrades. But when his Atlanta boss's visiting 17-year-old daughter (Pamela Tiffin), a boy-crazy Southern tornado, reveals that she has secretly married an American-hating German Commie (Horst Buchholz), Cagney's big-American-fish-in-a-European-pond lifestyle is threatened, especially once Daddy hops a plane to Germany. As the plot accelerates, the lines literally spit out of the cast's mouths--the title refers to Cagney's character's rapid-fire rattling off of lists of tasks--and Wilder's penchant for urbane nastiness is perfectly measured by the order of the whole crazy circus. This movie takes gleeful potshots at both sides of a conflict that ...
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Director: Billy Wilder
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
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