Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1961 - ONE TWO THREE the film that drove Cagney into retirement

Billy Wilder's follow up to The Apartment, was the very topical comedy for 1961 about the Cold War crisis in Berlin. One Two Three was James Cagney's final main starring performance excluding some supporting work he did towards the end of his life. Wilder and his writing partner I.A.L. Diamond packed a lot of jokes into the film some good, some bad, some funny and some mighty lame. Wilder kept the pace fast and ramped in up into a frenzy of verbal and physical action towards the end of the film.

James Cagney the old pro had to hold it together. Cagney liked the movie but didn't care for Wilder very much. Billy Wilder was a pretty exacting filmmaker, he never allowed any actor to deviate from the written word in his script. Actors were expected to show up say the words and not question the director. No creative contribution allowed from anyone else.


Most critics talk about the 1960's showing a hardening in Wilder's comedy technique and it's definitely here in One Two Three. Wilder's belief that human beings are basically scum combined with the now outdated topicality of the story and jokes with the exception of Cagney make, One Two Three a disappointment.
115 minutes.

1 comment:

samiyam said...

Wow, blatant product placement...