Filmed amid the actual bombed out ruins of Frankfurt and Berlin after World War II, Berlin Express recounts the dangerous attempts to unify Germany, as four post-war heroes from Britain, France, Russia, and the U.S. battle die-hard Nazis to rescue an anti-fascist German statesman.
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CINEMA, 35 mm _ Cluedo for cinephiles in the immediate turmoil of post-WWII. There is very little to believe in this RKO production where Tourneur does a correct job of leading his story where he wants but some glimpses of neorealism catch the eye : the footages of Frankfurt and Berlin in ruins give a special background to the film. Heavy voice over and very dialectical dialogues should have been avoided.
I loved this, the repetitions, the calmness. It catalogs key aspects of post-WWII Germany in the most peculiar way, one which often contradicts what's happening in the narrative proper. And the voice-over narration; what is happening there?! Very tender and tense. It seems to me to be so much about the elusiveness of trust, of connections. The clowns, the introductions, & so much else about this film feels beyond me.
They made these movies after the war that were a combination of documentary and fiction film-making. Telling the story about what was happening in Germany at the time, and throwing in a murder mystery. It's much more of an ensemble effort than you typically saw during the time. Indeed, it was about teamwork, and the idea of a unified Germany that would take another 42 years to come true.
★★★/35mm/ Tourneur’s talents overcome the ordinary plot of a kidnapped professor amidst the post war remains of Berlin, especially in his stylized sequence on the train with its cramped spaces. Tourneur creatively utilizes the ravaged remains within the setting and establishes the desperation of its inhabitants, the black markets, underground clubs and seething resentment of a city carved up by its occupying forces.
There's very little thriller and not much on trains, but has a fascinating historical footage of post WWII Frankfurt Germany and the devastation wrought by the war. It's an interesting film, worth seeing.