One, Two, Three

Tomorrow is Victims of Communism Day and I will be having a post on that subject.  In a lighter vein on the same subject is the hilarious Cold War comedy One, Two, Three (1961), starring James Cagney and directed by Billy Wilder.  It actually foreshadowed the trajectory of the Cold War fairly better than many a serious study.  As the film indicates the Soviets simply were unable to produce consumer goods of a high enough quality to keep their people satisfied, and the failure to do so, along with the lack of freedom, ultimately led to the rapid fall in the eighties of the last century of regimes that looked on the surface to be rock solid.

The film is a riff on the classic Ninotchka, with an East German Communist falling in love with the daughter of a Coca-Cola executive and Cagney desperately attempting to convert him into a non-Communist before his future father-in-law, and Cagney’s boss, arrives in East Berlin.  The film is the last and greatest of the screw-ball comedy genre.  This was Cagney’s final film before a 20 year retirement, and the film is filled with in-jokes referencing Cagney’s screen career.  A true classic, and howlingly funny, One, Two, Three is also a time capsule to take a peak at the now vanished Cold War world.

13 Responses to One, Two, Three

  • The hypocrisy of communism. How interesting it is that this movie clip and the Victims of Communism Day comes on the heels of Paul Ryan and Catholic Social Teaching, as though America has journeyed to the center of the earth and Paul Ryan is pointing the way back to the surface.

  • That good Catholic man, Jimmy Cagney. An American Catholic.

  • “Originally a very left-wing Democrat activist during the 1930s, Cagney later switched his viewpoint and became progressively more conservative with age. He supported his friend Ronald Reagan’s campaigns for the Governorship of California in 1966 and 1970, as well as his Presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984. President Reagan delivered the eulogy at Cagney’s funeral in 1986.”

    Cagney would probably have said with Reagan that he didn’t leave the Democrats, they left him.

  • the Democratic party left me too… I thin other Catholics this very moment, even this Monday morning are making that same painful break.
    But where to go? I wish the GOP would show some of Cagney’s humor and optimism about the nature of our American people and the democratic ( lower case) and republican (lower case) ideals I am not a bit happy with the way the GOP has acted lately; I feel like we have been force-fed Romney. I wonder what Reagan and Cagney would say about that.

  • Well I know what Reagan would say. Reagan supported Ford in 1976 after losing the primary to Ford, viewing Ford as far preferable to Carter. Reagan was right.

  • “This is a crummy cigar.”

    “Don’t worry. We send them crummy rockets.” 🙂

    The great Leon Askin… General Burkhalter……..”KLEEEEEEEEEEENK! Off to the Russian Front!”

  • ” Tomorrow is Victims of Communism Day……..

    All Americans, weep.
    You are all victims of the nearest thing to communism in your history – Obama.

  • Don,

    We brought it on ourselves. Barack Obumbler’s politics and policies are nauseating to any clear thinking person. The American education system sucks up trillions of dollars and produces pinheads. The entertainment-media complex keeps them stupid. I do a lot of the grocery shopping for our family. The drivel sold at checkout lines appeals to those who believe their brains are fully engaged when reading about some floozy Kardashian….and these people are eligible to vote.

  • I think RWR today would say the same thing about the GOP that he said about the Dems a half-century ago.

  • WK Aiken

    Which was??

  • The drivel sold at checkout lines appeals to…


    Females are almost the exclusive consumers of that trash, one of the female-preferred forms of pornography. And it’s sold openly in plain view of children. Is this the fault of capitalism or Mom-ism?

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