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A soldier returns to Munich after the war and gets mixed up with the black market.
In December, 1947, Capt. Jeff Eliot arrives in Munich, Germany while military and local police are investigating the autobahn murder of a bar girl. Jeff informs the military that he plans to visit the Lehrt family, who had hidden him after he was shot down during the war. Unknown to Jeff, the daughter of the family, Wilhelmina, is on a list of known bar girls. When Jeff goes to the Lehrts' former home, he finds it in ruins, and asks a neighbor, Nolder, for information. Nolder says he did not know the Lehrts but confesses that he had answered Jeff's letters so that his impoverished family could receive the money and packages he sent. Later, Jeff's hotel roommate, Lt. Parker, offers to help him search for the Lehrts, and they learn that the parents died in an air raid, but the whereabouts of "Willie" are unknown. Parker warns Jeff what the fate of a pretty girl in Germany would be, and suggests touring the nightspots to find her. Jeff finds Willie at the Silhouette club and is shocked at her bitterness and suggestion that for 500 marks, she can talk with anyone. Jeff says that he wants to give her a good Christmas and asks her to think of the happiest one of her life. She says that she would like to be in Salzburg with old family friends, and he promises to take her there. Jeff agrees to rent a car through her, so that she will get a commission, and the next day they drive toward Salzburg, secretly followed by two men on motorcycles. They easily pass through the border, despite her forged passport, because Jeff is an American officer. Past the border, an MP stops them, saying that the road is being repaired, and suggests they wait at a nearby café. While Jeff and Willie talk, MPs secretly search the car and find small items of contraband, such as camera lenses and watches, but put them back. In Salzburg, Willie is greeted warmly by the Keigler family, who suggest that she and Jeff tour the city on foot. Jeff and Willie pass a pleasant afternoon, and Willie is reminded of happier times. The Keigler family's Christmas Eve celebration saddens Willie, who warns Jeff that she is not the girl she once was, and on Christmas morning, she abruptly asks Jeff to take her back to Munich. As they drive away, Keigler tells her to return on New Year's Eve, because they all depend on her. On the autobahn, Jeff again stops at the café, and Willie tearfully confesses that she used him to smuggle watches and cameras across the border. Knowing that smuggling those items is not a serious offense, Jeff tells her not to worry and to quit, but she says that Heisemann, the Silhouette's pianist, who runs the smuggling ring, would never allow that. At Willie's apartment, Jeff tells her that she is going to quit her job and says that he will come back later to take her to dinner. After he leaves, she goes into her apartment and finds Hansig, the manager of the Silhouette, waiting. She tries to reason with him, but he beats her with his belt and crosses out a picture of Willie's missing roommate, the woman shot on the autobahn. Meanwhile, Jeff is picked up by MPs and taken to Col. James Terry, who tells him about the car search and reveals that the Nazis hid millions in gold to be used to revitalize the party if they lost the war. Jeff dismisses the suggestion that Willie is smuggling gold and refuses to help them. As Jeff leaves, Parker tells him to "wise up" and says that Willie will ask him to take her back to Salzburg. After finding a note at Willie's apartment, Jeff goes to meet her at the Silhouette, where she says that she has no choice but to continue smuggling, even though he reveals his love for her. When she later asks if he can take her back to Salzburg, he does not express concern and agrees to let her use his car for some errands. On the way to Salzburg, they are again followed by the motorcyclists, whom Jeff sees, but who pretend they are just helping a stranded motorist. At the border, the guard opens the trunk of the car and finds hundreds of smuggled cigarettes, but lets Jeff go with a small fine after receiving a telephone call. The next morning, at the Keiglers', Jeff sneaks into the garage to search the car. When Willie finds him, she insists that she is only smuggling small items, but they are interrupted by Keigler, who points a gun at Jeff. Jeff knocks the garage's light out, then lunges at Keigler, narrowly missing being shot. When Jeff looks at the car's bumper, he notices that the bullet chipped away paint, revealing the metal beneath to be solid gold. Although Willie pleads that she knew nothing of the gold, Jeff does not believe her and forces her to drive back to Munich. On the autobahn, Jeff tries to call Col. Terry, but the lines have been cut by the motorcyclists. He continues driving until his car develops engine trouble. When an Amity van stops to assist, the driver draws a gun on them and reveals that he put sugar in the gas tank. He knocks Jeff unconscious and with the help of the motorcyclists, puts Jeff and Willie in the van and drives toward Berchtesgaden, where Hitler had a mountain retreat. Meanwhile, in Munich, Heisemann gets a call and is picked up by a Mercedes and heads for Berchtesgaden, unaware that Parker is following. In Berchtesgaden, Willie and Jeff are held in a room overlooking a motorcycle course. There Willie tells Jeff that Hansig threatened to kill him if she did not cooperate, and the couple kiss. Moments later, they see Heisemann being driven around the course in an open car, cheered by the spectators. Heisemann then comes to the room where Jeff and Willie are held and tells them that they will be escorted to the far turn of the course to see a race. Once outside, Jeff sees leaking gasoline and realizes that they will be killed in an explosion. Before a motorcycle crashes into the leaking fuel, Jeff grabs Willie and runs, but she is shot by one of Heisemann's men. Moments later, Parker arrives, along with German police. As medics attend Willie, Heisemann speeds away in the Mercedes, with Jeff and Parker in pursuit. Heisemann drives to the ruins of Hitler's house and abandons his car. The American and German police pursue him on foot and in front of the now glassless picture window in Hitler's living room, Heisemann is trapped. His gun jams, but Jeff does not shoot after he is convinced not to turn Heisemann into a Nazi martyr. A short time later, Jeff is driven to see Willie, who will recover, and happily kisses him.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 29 Aug 1952|
|Release Date:||1952||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
|Duration(mins):||89-90||Country:||Germany and United States|
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A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining film, Post WWII stories have always held a special fascination for me and this one did not disappoint. However, I...
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