The Big Lift

  • 1950
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A semihistorical look at the airlift that kept Berlin functioning when the Russians decided to blockade the city. The movie was filmed entirely on location in West Berlin and around Templehof airport. Seaton had a Herculean job in making this subject palatable, as this was only five years after the end of WW II and there were many Americans who could not...read more

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A semihistorical look at the airlift that kept Berlin functioning when the Russians decided to blockade the city. The movie was filmed entirely on location in West Berlin and around Templehof airport. Seaton had a Herculean job in making this subject palatable, as this was only five years

after the end of WW II and there were many Americans who could not have cared less about the plight of the Germans. Clift is a pilot and Douglas is the ground operations noncom who hates the Germans because of his war experiences. Seaton doesn't avoid the issue of bad memories: he goes right for

it. Clift is in love with Borchers, who gives a fine first performance in films as the heroine who is ultimately revealed to be the villainess. Douglas and Clift are the only Hollywood "names" in the film. The other actors are all local Germans and contribute mightily to the reality of the movie,

especially Hasse who was brilliant as the German commander in Litvak's DECISION BEFORE DAWN. It's a bit slow and gets a little preachy, but that's easy to overlook, since the movie was made very shortly after the Russian blockade and objectivity was hard to come by in those Cold War days. Clift

pulled some star turns while the film was being made and was not beloved by either cast or crew. He became a scene stealer around this time and attempted it in the two-shots with Douglas. Once the redoubtable Douglas saw what was transpiring, he stepped on Clift's foot, so Monty wisely backed off

and became a good scout, at least around Douglas.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A semihistorical look at the airlift that kept Berlin functioning when the Russians decided to blockade the city. The movie was filmed entirely on location in West Berlin and around Templehof airport. Seaton had a Herculean job in making this subject palat… (more)

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