Billy Wilder’s witty and energetic comedy starring James Cagney will debut on UK Blu-ray on April 15, 2019 as part of Eureka Entertainment’s The Masters of Cinema Series.
Debuting on UK Blu-ray on April 15, 2019 is Billy Wilder’s witty comedy One, Two, Three starring James Cagney. Part of Eureka Entertainment’s The Masters of Cinema Series, the presentation will include a brand new and exclusive interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard and an audio commentary from film historian Michael Schlesinger.
A limited edition slipcase will be available for collectors as one of director Billy Wilder’s most frenetic comedies arrives on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK. Described by Tim Brayton of Antagony & Ecstasy as “not just a great attempt at caustic social commentary through the broadest of comedy” but also one of the “funniest movies of the ’60s”, this madcap Cold War and corporate politics satire is one of only a few films capable of making Wilder predecessors Some Like It Hot and The Apartment seem sedately paced in comparison.
One, Two, Three sees a Coca-Cola executive’s promotion rest on his ability to look after his boss’s flirtatious daughter in West Berlin with a hilarious lead performance by Cagney who, legend tells us, was so exhausted by the film’s rapid-fire dialogue that he took twenty years off acting.
Despite not being as well renowned amongst audiences as Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, One, Two, Three is widely considered one of Wilder’s best. “The pace is blistering, and Wilder’s deep-seated hatred of Germans has never been put to more comic use”, said Don Druker of the Chicago Reader.
Time said Wilder “purposely neglects the high precision of hilarity that made Some Like It Hot a screwball classic and The Apartment a peerless comedy of officemanship. But in the rapid, brutal, wham-bam style of a man swatting flies with a pile driver, he has produced a sometimes beWildered [sic], often wonderfully funny exercise in nonstop nuttiness.”
Based on the 1929 Hungarian one-act play Egy, kettő, három by Ferenc Molnár, with a “plot borrowed partly from” Ninotchka, a 1939 film co-written by Wilder, Cagney plays C.R. “Mac” MacNamara (a role he wanted to play, in part, because the film was to be shot in Germany and he had such fond memories growing up in a German immigrant-heavy neighbourhood in New York). A top Coca-Cola executive, Mac is shipped off to (then West) Berlin and told to keep an eye on his boss’ 17-year-old Atlanta socialite daughter Scarlett (Pamela Tiffin) while she visits Germany.
Scarlett’s tour seems endless, and Mac (Cagney’s last film character until Ragtime in 1981) discovers she’s fallen for a (then East) Berlin communist agitator and the young couple are bound for Moscow! Mac has to bust up the burgeoning romance before his boss learns the truth, all the while dealing with his wife Phyllis (Arlene Francis) and her own impatience with German living.
One, Two, Three, which was in production when the Berlin wall went up forcing Wilder to move the crew to Munich, presents Wilder’s attempt to make “the fastest picture in the world.” It was an ambition most critics, commentators and fans believe he accomplished.
One, Two, Three arrives on UK Blu-ray for the first time courtesy of Eureka Entertainment on April 15.