Berlin Express DVD
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Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Produced in 1948
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Memorable for using a bombed-out Frankfurt as a location after WWII, Berlin Express brought a documentary eye to post-war film noir. Surprisingly Nick Riddle reports that the film predated The Third Man by a year!
Night-time pursuits through postwar ruins, partitioned European cities, black marketeers... Berlin Express predates The Third Man by a year, but somebody should programme them as a double bill.
Jacques Tourneur, director of classics like Cat People and Out of the Past, draws on a range of styles, from Hitchcock and film noir to documentary (complete with sombre voice-over). The plot concerns the kidnapping of a German diplomat who is trying to reunite his country, and the efforts of an ad-hoc alliance of strangers to save him. Robert Ryan is the earnest American groping his way through the bombed-out streets, not to mention the shadowy loyalties of his travelling companions. And a suspicious bunch they are too, a microcosm of the shellshocked, uneasy Europe of the late forties. What makes Berlin Express especially fascinating is how it captures a historical moment when the wounds of the War were still very fresh - the ruins of Frankfurt are shown in sobering detail - but when the idea of friendly relations between the US and the Soviets still seemed tenable.
Nick Riddle on 26th August 2010
Author of 62 reviews
A classic film noir, Berlin Express is set in Germany in the aftermath of World War Two. While journeying by train from Paris to Berlin, a group of passengers, of varying nationalities, become tangled up in a Nazi plan to assassinate Dr. Bernhardt (Paul Lukas), a German war protester. The five travellers must search a war-devasted Frankfurt, in order to unveil a group of Nazi spies.
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 83 mins
Cat No: ODNF189
Format: DVD B&W