While I am writing about this film for my Pamela Tiffin series, I would be remiss to not point out that this is James Cagney's film through and through. He was a pint-sized fireball of... fire and he steals the show! His energy is off the charts and the theme music, Sabre Dance by Khachaturyan (click to play), matches his vitality. This film is also filled with a diverse selection of lively characters all with charming idiosyncracies that keep us holding our stomachs as we burst out laughing.
Cagney plays MacNamara is the head of Berlin's Coca-Cola factory who has his sights on a big position in London. His employees are all Gestapo-trained Germans who click their heels and stand up at attention much to MacNamara's very American dismay. His wife Phylis is a wise-cracking dame fed up with life in Berlin and MacNamara is also courting hot bilingual secretary Ingeborg (and is using her as bait to woo potential Russian business). MacNamara's boss in Atlanta, Georgia sends his daughter to stay with the MacNamaras in Berlin. This is when things get hilariously complicated and MacNamara finds himself in a jam when the daughter marries a Russian communist.
Pamela Tiffin's character Scarlett Hazeltine is really superb. Tiffin is in prime form as the ditzy hot-blooded Southern belle who rebels against her parents by falling in love with any boy in sight. After being engaged 3 times, her parents send her off to Europe which in her case is like putting fox in a chicken coop. Scarlett has a charming Southern accent, says "marvy" whenever she can and thinks it's cute that she secretly married a Russian communist. I love how Scarlett gets so excited that her man is an anti-American propaganda spouting subversive. Wonderful!
Otto: Forged from the steel of a brave cannon that fought in Stalingrad.