Friday, October 3, 2008

Day of German Unity

October 3 marks the anniversary of the 1990 reunification of East and West Germany. I really wanted to do a post on Escape From East Berlin. It's a 1962 movie about a group of East Germans, led by Don Murray, who engage in a daring escape to the West by tunneling under the Berlin Wall. However, the movie is not available on DVD.

As for other movies set in East Germany, I've already recommended One, Two, Three, but it's so funny that it's worth mentioning again. James Cagney stars as a Coca-Cola executive in West Berlin who has to look after the boss's wild daughter, and find that while he wasn't looking, she ran off, married an East German Communist, and got pregenant by the young man. It's marvy!

The late Paul Newman defected to East Germany in order to get at a nuclear physics equation in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain. Unfortunately for him, his wife (played by Julie Andrews) didn't know the defection was a ruse, and followed him to East Germany, making his plan to escape back to the West much more complicated.

Of course, there was also a slew of 1960s spy movies, some of them set in Berlin. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold explicitly shows the Berlin Wall, although not all of them do. It might be the best of the genre, too. I am not a fan of The Ipcress File, and later movies like The Odessa File, reducing the Germans to little more than neo-Nazi conspirators, might be even worse.

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