|(Click to enlarge)|
When it comes to Carol Reed I normally stifle a yawn and think of England. But I stayed with this because it's shot in Berlin in 1952, not long after the Russians and Americans started the Cold War and divided Germany, and Berlin, into two. Along with Hildegard, Berlin is the star. And James Mason and Claire Bloom of course. The film makes an instructive contrast with Wilder's A Foreign Affair, which was also shot in Berlin in 1947. The Wilder is by far the superior picture and basic readings of both movies tell you instantly as much as you ever need to know about why Wilder is a master and Reed is basically a hack.
But Berlin is bigger than Reed, even though he hasn't the wit for instance to stay with the wonderful Ljuba Welitsch Salome Opera sequence until the climax. Only a very boring, very straight Englishman could do this, but the ensemble, screenplay and technical crew take the picture into places which something as thin but overblown as The Third Man never really could go while it was so earnestly drowning in its own highly derivative "style" (and that fucking zither music). Reed has his own stand in here as the neutered Brit pipe smoking (terribly decent) hubby to Hildy. which basically gets his pedestrian personality out of the way allowing the far more interesting material to take over.
The BD is all regions from Canal UK. The restoration is given as a recent 2K and it looks fine.