Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 83 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 20 September 2010
Cat No: ODNF189
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Classic film-noir set in the aftermath of World War Two in Germany. While journeying by train from Paris to Berlin, a group of... Read More
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.