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DEVIL MAKES THREE (1952)

 Unrated   DVD

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Product Description

Capt. Jeff Eliot (Gene Kelly) roams the tawdry dives of post-war Munich searching for a delicate young beauty named Wilhelmina (Pier Angeli), the only survivor of the family that hid him from the Nazis after his plane was shot down during the war. He wants to help her. She wants to use him to smuggle contraband into Austria. But what looks like a small-time black market scheme hides something far more sinister: a vicious, well-financed conspiracy to revive the Third Reich. Shot on location and boasting a skilled international cast, The Devil Makes Three features footage of motorcycles zooming along Hitler's sleek Autobahn and competing in a thrilling race on a frozen lake, plus a climatic showdown filmed at the F++hrer's mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden. Kelly is both virile action hero and shrewd detective "in a fine, restrained characterization" (Howard Thompson, The New York Times) that anchors the intrigue-laced plot.

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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE DEVIL MAKES THREE: An Underestimated Postwar Thriller March 28 2013
By Theo J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's a shame this film took so long to make DVD release---it's an ambitious piece of filmmaking. Sadly, the premise of a neo-Nazi resurgence in postwar Germany had been pretty well worked over by 1952, when the film was released. Still, it's got a lot going for it; Gene Kelly gives a respectable dramatic performance, as does beautiful newcomer Pier Angeli. The Bavarian and Austrian locations, along with the winter weather, lend the film an undeniable authenticity(which almost overcomes some of the plot's sketchier elements). The climax of a mountainous chase between a ringleader (played by German actor Claus Clausen) and US/German military police was in fact filmed in the ruins of Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgaden. Director Andrew Marton made an impressive, entertaining job of this film---recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one came one year after An American in Paris - or as I refer to this movie: An American in Munich Nov. 12 2012
By H. Bala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Every now and then Gene Kelly demonstrated that he didn't need the crutch of hoofing to get by in Hollywood. 1952's THE DEVIL MAKES THREE is a bleak post-war thriller that required Gene Kelly to desist from tap dancing and mugging for the camera. As evidenced in Cross of Lorraine (1943), Black Hand (1950), Inherit The Wind (1960), and even in his film debut For Me and My Gal (1942), Kelly's dramatic acting chops were solid.

Oh, hey, here's a mild SPOILER alert.

"Germany's full of kids; just one big cradle," philosophizes an American officer as he tries to convince our protagonist to play his young German friend for a chump. It's the winter of 1947, and Captain Jeff Eliot (Kelly), a navigation instructor, is in Munich on a fifteen day leave for the holidays. Owing a life debt, he intends to pay his respects to the German family who once gave him sanctuary when he was being hunted by the Nazis. Except that the home he visits is this blasted pile of rubble, the family become the casualties of an air raid. The sole survivor is 18-year-old Wilhelmina Lehrt (Pier Angeli) who was only fifteen when Eliot ran for his life three years before. Eliot used to call her "Willie." They're pals.

Willie has had to fend for herself ever since her parents died. Today she's a hostess at the shady Silhouette nightclub, and when I say "hostess" the wink is implied. Eliot and Willie renew acquaintances, but on a more level playing field. She's not fifteen anymore. Willie is practical, having learned to be so in these lean times. Everything she does revolves around earning a commission. When she agrees to let Eliot take her somewhere nice for Christmas eve, she's still working on a commission, but Eliot doesn't know that, not yet. When he learns that he's been duped, that she'd been smuggling contraband on his vehicle, he still has to be coaxed by a superior officer to play along with the kid and spy on her. Eliot protests: "She's a good kid!" This is where that third paragraph comes in: "Germany's full of kids; just one big cradle." Except that the U.S. military's investigative unit suspects there's more to it than just a petty smuggling operation. Rumor is that sentiment for the old Nazi regime yet thrives in Deutschland, that a secret organization is carrying out the Third Reich's last will and testament.

THE DEVIL MAKES THREE starts off in faux-documentary style, with that solemn voiceover insisting that the narrative is based on the U.S. Army's real-life search for gold snuck out of Germany by the Nazi Party. It's a curious film on several fronts. First of all, the black & white cinematography flourishes from location shooting in Germany and Salzburg, Austria (the overseas shooting was mostly for tax break purposes). But there's a pervading sense of desolation and of abject struggle evoked from glimpses of those bombed-out structures. There's an authentic feel to the story, a verisimilitude that's especially earned during the third act when the head neo-Nazi is cornered in The Berghof, Hitler's Alpine home. It's also pretty cool to listen to the nightclub music acts. I got a kick out of "The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" being sung entirely in German. There's also a German rendition of "Oh Christmas Tree."

3.5 out of 5 stars for THE DEVIL MAKES THREE. The script could be tighter, I guess. But Gene Kelly and Pier Angeli are exceedingly watchable. It's always interesting to see Kelly in his rare purely dramatic roles. Pier Angeli as the guarded bar girl generates brittleness and wounded vulnerability. There's something so fragile about her. And maybe you'll disagree, so I'll gloss over that bit of ickiness underscoring the romance between Angeli's character and Kelly's. There, I just earned my prude badge. My buddy from Europe is laughing at me and just handed me DVDs of HAROLD AND MAUDE and ICE CASTLES, the jerk.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Berghof Oct. 14 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I mainly purchased this movie because it was the last film of Hitler's Berghof before the Bavarian government demolished it. The movie is pretty good on it's own merits with the winter scenes of the Berghof a visual bonus.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia satisfied. Nov. 10 2012
By prealpino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first saw this film in 1952 while in my early teens and loved it.Post-war Bavaria and Salzburg in the snow made for a suitably sinister setting and both attractive stars, while not known for their great acting talent , delivered their lines well.(Today the age difference jars a little but Pier Angeli's character was only a young teenager during the war so it is explained.)The black and white seems to help the atmosphere while the story moves at a good pace and is all over in 96 minutes.
I spent some years trying to find a copy of this film and always failed to understand why none was available. Many of us petitioned TCM to release a copy and I was delighted to see that a dvd finally appeared in August 2012.I bought it immediately and was not disappointed.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My second favorite Gene Kelly Movie April 3 2013
By C. Mathieu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
There's only one Gene Kelly film that I like better: "The Happy Road" (1957) which is finally out on DVD since last year.
I don't know how often I have watched "The Devil makes three", but it must have been 5 or 6 times over the past 4 decades.
This movie has been filmed after WW II in Bavaria (Berchtesgaden and Munich).
It's very dramatic and suspenseful. Pier Angeli was never better in another role.

Also I can highly recommend:
1. The 4 Musketeers (1948, with Lana Turner)
2. Cover Girl (1944, with Rita Hayworth)
3. Les Girls (1957, Mitzi Gaynor and Kay Kendall)
4. On The Town (1949, Vera-Ellen and Frank Sinatra)

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