Revisit: it never ceases 2 surprise me how much this film is characteristic of late Hawks. Plot advancement does not commence until 40 minutes into the film. Those preliminary minutes are committed 2 an almost nonfictional representation of the way playful hostility & enmity provoke tenderness & compassion. The factual solemnity of postwar Germany encompasses all of this slapstick, these comedic/romantic diversions.
While a lot of the comedy falls flat there's a certain pathos imbued into Grant's every movement that adds a sublime layer of feeling and depth to everything he does. This accumulation of post-humiliation reactions and details adds up to far more than a punchline could.