A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948)

Dir. Billy Wilder

Although reviled as tasteless and condemned in Congress for its politics and its depiction of GIs stationed in post-war Berlin, this black comedy seems more timely than ever with the U.S.'s continuing presence in war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. What has kept the film relevant is Billy Wilder's trenchant wit and the performances of its three stars. Marlene Dietrich provides a peerless image of glamour and sophistication as the former saloon singer who has traded in her Third Reich lovers for an American officer who can provide her with the luxuries she once enjoyed. John Lund and Jean Arthur have some of their best roles as the cynical Army captain and the proper Iowa congresswoman transformed by the city's reemerging glamour and their growing love for each other. In 1948, however, the film was too much too soon. It lost money when Paramount withdrew it from circulation at the request of the U.S. government and ended Wilder's love affair with the critics, marking the start of his reputation as a director who was too cynical for his own good.

In attendance: Kimberly Truhler.

A FOREIGN AFFAIR
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