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.