Berlin Express (1948)

Robert Ryan in Berlin Express (1948)

Slow Train of Thought

Following the war Germany is divided into four sections with the French, British, Russians and Americans all controlling their slice. Dr. Bernhardt (Paul Lukas) has a plan for away to build an alliance between the four countries but his plans are not to everyone's taste especially the Nazi resistance as whilst travelling by train with his secretary Lucienne (Merle Oberon - Dark Waters) he avoids one assassination attempt only to end up being kidnapped. In need of help Lucienne asks the other passengers help, a multi national bunch which includes American Robert Lindley (Robert Ryan - Trail Street) who agree to help search the streets of Frankfurt for her travelling partner.

There is a lot of love for "Berlin Express" but none of that love comes from me because despite my best endeavours to give it a go I found it incredibly hard work. Why? Well firstly because right from the word go we are forced to listen to a dull narration which not only tells us what is happening but also tells us stuff which is really not that interesting at all such as the clock time in 24 hours being equivalent to the other way. It is such a flat, monotonous narration that it could easily put you to sleep.

Merle Oberon in Berlin Express (1948)

But then there is the actual storyline and I am sorry but the idea of a group of multi-nationals offering to assist a stranger to search Frankfurt for a missing man just seems ridiculous. Now of course things are not as they appear, people are not who they say they are and so on and so forth but even when you take that in to consideration it just seems a push to accept. As for those twists well part of me feels that "Berlin Express" was made on limited funds as it heavily uses the narration to fill the time in between mainly pivotal scenes. But those twists also often feel ridiculous as whilst if you pay attention you can follow it they all seem a bit fanciful.

Whilst having said that I wondered if "Berlin Express" was made on limited funds the historical look of post war Frankfurt is interesting. The scenes of the town with its bombed buildings and the information on the way of life where cigarettes were currency is interesting, in fact more interesting than the movie itself.

What this all boils down to is that "Berlin Express" failed to entertain me like it has for others as all I could see were the weaknesses in the storyline whilst being annoyed by the monotonous narration.