D. R. Martin & Richard Audry Books

Post WWII Gem: Montgomery Clift’s Big Lift

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Geopolitics is not a normal subject for this blog, but the situation in eastern Europe led me to an old Montgomery Clift film that addressed the aftermath of that last great European breakdown. It’s a 1950 Hollywood film about the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. In it Clift plays an airman flying a C-54 (aka the Douglas DC-4) into and out of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. The main plot involves Clift’s romance with the widow of a German officer. (The Lithuanian actress who played her, Cornell Borchers, just died this past spring. She also starred with Rock Hudson and Errol Flynn, but retired from acting in 1959.) Their relationship ends with a twist. Here they are together.


But that isn’t the point of interest. What makes The Big Lift a minor gem are its many views of street life in post-war Berlin amidst the rubble and poverty. Most of the U.S. air force men are played by real airmen. It is more docu-drama than drama. What writer-director George Seton shows is the real deal, and it’s fascinating to view. It’s not a great movie by any means, but it is definitely worth a look. The DVD is available on Netflix. It’s also out there in  a cheapie Mill Creek war film box–Mission Victory.


Author: drmar120

D. R. Martin is a writer and photographer based in Minnesota.

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