USSR: Thats Short for Russia

One, Two, Three - (1961) Directed by Billy Wilder

Starring James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin

Billy Wilder delivers once again, this time in a comedy starring James Cagney as Coca-Cola's main man in West Berlin. Constantly tugging at Cold War sensitivities yet mindful enough to not make it the center focus of the film, One, Two, Three is a good comedy brought to the screen by a master director.

The pace of the film is fast and matched admirably by James Cagney in the role of C.R. MacNamara, the fast talking, multi-tasking, schemer who represents not only Coca-Cola but Capitalist US of A. MacNamara manipulates, cheats, and lies throughout most of the film but is still as charismatic as ever.

Horst Buchholz was animated and indignantly exasperated every chance he could get, he's so good at that and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the performance. As Otto Piffl, the idealist youth who's caught between communist and capitalist and is coming to terms with what both competing social ideologies' practical definitions are, Horst is primal, energetic, and distrusting; much representing of the world that either of the mentioned ideologies seek to conquer. The gags do not unfold as they would in a slap stick comedy but the script is full of jabs and quick punches to both capitalism and communism.

Lilo Pulver as Cagney's secretary-sometimes-mistress seals the deal for me. Her table striptease to Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance has just made it to my list of best uses for that musical piece in a film.

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