One, Two, Three (1961)

One, Two, Three (1961)

“Where I come from, everyone’s against the Yankees.”

A Coca-Cola executive (James Cagney) in Cold War Germany panics when he learns that his ward — the teenage daughter (Pamela Tiffin) of his supervisor (Howard St. John) — has married a Communist (Horst Buchholz).


  • Billy Wilder Films
  • Cold War
  • Comedy
  • Cross-Cultural Romance
  • Jimmy Cagney Films
  • Play Adaptation

It’s difficult to understand how the director of such cinematic classics as Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Some Like it Hot (1959) could be responsible for helming this tediously unfunny Cold War comedy (based on a one-act play by Hungarian author Ferenc Molnar). In his final starring role, Cagney delivers his nonstop dialogue at an impressively rapidfire pace (indeed, Peary actually nominates him as Best Actor of the year in his Alternate Oscars book!):

But the story’s incessant madcap pacing, dated premise, irritating characters, and insipid dialogue (“Do you realize that Otto spelled backwards is Otto?”) conspire to make it a film you’ll likely suffer through rather than enjoy. Then again, it’s received uniformly positive reviews from critics over the years, so perhaps I’m a lone dissenter…

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Daniel Fapp’s Oscar-nominated widescreen cinematography

Must See?
No; definitely feel free to skip this one.


One thought on “One, Two, Three (1961)

  1. You are not “a lone dissenter” – this is CRAPOLA!

    Isn’t it simply bizarre that Wilder could have a rather distinguished career as a writer/director for just over 15 years – culminating remarkably with ‘The Apartment’ – and then, seemingly overnight, begin a two-decade stretch pretty much making garbage…starting with ‘One, Two, Three’?

    What happened???

    This script is as flat as they come and the film is not even worth writing about. It’s not that it’s about the Cold War era and nowadays people may not ‘get it’, or that it’s dated, or whatever. It’s that it’s CRAP!

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