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One, two, three is a comedy movie by Billy Wilder from 1961. It's set in West Berlin shortly before the wall was built, it's about James Cagney as the boss of Coca-Cola Germany who has to care for the daughter of his boss spending her holiday there. And trying to do business with some Communists, to expand Coca-Cola beyond the Iron Curtain. And preventing his marriage to fall apart. Hilarity Ensues (lots of!).

Tropes used in One, Two, Three include:


  • Actor Allusion: Red Buttons appears as an MP who does a "You dirty rat" impression to the face of CR MacNamara... played by James Cagney.
    • Cagney holds up a pice of fruit so it looks like his famous "grapefruit" scene from The Public Enemy.
  • The Alleged Car: The Soviet agents' Moskvitch 407.

 -"Is exact replica of 1937 Nash!"[1]

  Peripetchikoff: "We have emergency meeting with Swiss Trade Delegation. They send us twenty car-loads of cheese. Totally unacceptable... full of holes."

  • Cool and Unusual Punishment/Loud of War: The communist who married the daughter of Coca Cola's CEO is being tortured in East Germany... by being forced to listen to "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polkadot Bikini" on repeat for hours on end. With the record spindle off-center. He writhes in pain.
  • Cross Dresser: Schlemmer disguises in Ingeborg's dress to fool the Russians, so they'll let Otto free.
  • Deadpan Snarker: MacNamara's wife, sometimes.
  • Dirty Commies
  • The Ditz: Scarlett, definitely.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: This time the other way round. Before August 1961, people could cross the border between West and East Berlin quite easily - which millions of East Germans used to move to the golden west. The movie was based on this premise and suffered when the wall was built.
  • Guile Hero: MacNamara
  • Impoverished Patrician: Graf von Droste-Schattenburg, who is paid to adopt Otto.
  • Improbably Cool Car: MacNamara's "Adenauer" Mercedes; a regional Coca-Cola plant manager in Germany in 1961 would likely have had a smaller, near-taxi-spec "Ponton" Mercedes if not an Opel Rekord or Ford Taunus as a company car.
  • Lzherusskie: The Russian characters are played by Austrian and German actors.
  • Misplaced Nationalism: Parodied when Jimmy Cagney is upset with Coca-Cola heiress Scarlet for taking part in a "Yankee, Go Home" rally: "But back home, everybody hates the Yankees!" ("Ami, Go Home" would have been a completely different thing, of course...)
  • Product Placement: No wonder if the main character is a Coca-Cola exec.
  • Richard Wagner: The German doctor who finds out Scarlett's pregnant is very fond of him, and sadly missed the 3rd act of Die Walküre / The Valkyrie
  • Sexy Secretary: Ingeborg, played by Lilo Pulver, the fräuleinwunder.
  • Shout-Out: To Little Caesar, Gone with the Wind, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Public Enemy, Ninotchka
  • Too Soon: Especially the Germans weren't very fond of Billy Wilder making fun of the wall. The movie was Vindicated by History though - later, in The Eighties.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Otto about Communism. He even thinks it's a capitalist lie that Siberia is cold, and is happy that the Communists assigned them "a magnificent apartment, just a short walk from the bathroom!".
  • You No Take Candle: The Russians.
  • Zany Scheme: At one point, they need a Zany Scheme to revert the effects of another one. Which they are responsible for.
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