A Foreign Affair | Chicago Reader

A Foreign Affair

An archetypal Billy Wilder plot, pitting idealism (a naive Iowa congresswoman, played by Jean Arthur) against cynicism (an ex-Nazi chanteuse, embodied, of course, by Marlene Dietrich) in the ruins of postwar Berlin. Caught between is John Lund, an American officer. Wilder's strategy is to play a bubbly romantic comedy in a mise-en-scene of destruction and despair. As usual, it's more clever than meaningful, but this 1948 film is one of his most satisfactory in wit and pace. With Millard Mitchell.

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