ONE, TWO, THREE (1961) B/W widescreen 109m dir: Billy Wilder

w/James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin, Arlene Francis, Lilo Pulver, Howard St. John, Hanns Lothar, Lois Bolton, Leon Askin, Peter Capell

From The Movie Guide: "James Cagney left the movie business for more than 20 years after finishing his role in ONE, TWO, THREE and it's no wonder; he needed at least that much time to rest up after the fastest-moving comedy made in the 1960s, and surely one of the funniest. The film begins at mach one and gets somewhere near the speed of light by the time it finishes. As a matter of fact, it's often too furiously quick for its own good as the dialogue comes at the ears with Uzi-like speed. Cagney is the fast-talking, hard-driving, self-made man who heads up Coca-Cola's bottling interests in Germany. His attitude is similar to the man who once ran General Motors and said, 'What's good for General Motors is good for America.' And since there is nothing in Europe more American than Coca-Cola, Cagney is determined to bring it to everyone with two lips and a gullet. Cagney would like to become chief of all the European operations and is working toward that end when Tiffin, the teenage daughter of St. John --- one of the heavyweights at Coca-Cola's Georgia headquarters --- arrives, and Cagney has to baby-sit her for two weeks as she makes her way through a tour of the Continent. Cagney does his best to squire the dippy Tiffin, in the hope that his behavior will get him his desired promotion, but things go awry when she falls hard for Buchholz, a dedicated East Berlin Communist hippy. ...

"Cagney plays this part with such verve and energy that he seems to be a much younger man than he was (62) and even appears to be a new actor eager to impress the studio with his abilities. But that was always the way Cagney played things --- to the hilt. Many of the jokes were taken right from the period's headlines and were already dated by the time the film was released. It was based on a one-act play by the master farceur [Ferenc] Molnar and expanded beautifully by Wilder and [I.A.L.] Diamond. Filmed on location in West Berlin and at the studios in Munich (where Wilder had been before the war), it won no awards except the laughter of those who saw it. [Daniel L.] Fapp got an Oscar nomination for his cinematography. [Andre] Previn's score was perfect, and the use of several old ditties was excellent, including 'Yes, We Have No Bananas' (Frank Silver, Irving Cohn). It would be better to watch this alone as the sound of chuckling in a theater will drown out many of the clever lines."