Post WWII yarn about a young GI abducted by the Soviets in West Berlin and hauled off to the East. His recovery gets complicated as Colonel Steve Van Dyke (Peck) tries to sort out the usefulness of informants, spies, bureaucrats, and the abductee's influential father (Crawford)!Written by
The scenes where Gregory Peck and Buddy Ebsen ride up and down on the "People dumb waiter" were not shot in Berlin, but in Frankfurt. It's located in the old IG Farben building that used to be the 5th Corps Headquarters. See more »
Frederick S. Hobart:
Nothing that ever happens here is isolated. They kidnap a 19 year old boy, your son and we cant tell yet whether its a local needle or another Korea.
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For the first time ever, the Cinemascope logo ("Twentieth Century-Fox presents A Cinemascope Production") is not shown until about five minutes into the film, after the opening sequence. See more »
Superior Cold War Espionage Thriller; Very Well-Acted B/W Suspense
Nunnally Johnson has been awarded every prize a screenwriter can be given. This film, with its many strengths, demonstrates why as well as does any of his efforts. The storyline here is both complex and adult; it is a Cold War thriller with very-strongly-developed characters, fine performances and great B/W production values throughout. Johnson wrote the script from a story by Jed Harris and directed. The story revolves around a Colonel played strongly by Gregory Peck who is in charge of US forces in Berlin who are dealing daily with the four powers governing their sectors there. Three challenges weigh on him at once. The Russian counterpart he has been trying to help defect is murdered; a young US serviceman is inexplicably kidnapped after meeting the German girl he loves, and demands are made by the Russians to get into their hands two persons in exchange for the soldier. Then the young man's industrialist father arrives to complicate matters further, making demands, while the Colonel discovers a traitor in his own circle of operatives. There are many fine performances in the well-chosen cast, headed by Peck's very strong military character, aided by Walter Abel and Buddy Ebsen; others noteworthy include Peter Van Eyck, Max Showalter, Jill Esmond, Marianne Koch, Anita Bjork and Broderick Crawford. Lovely Rita Gam plays the Colonel's secretary and steals every scene she is in. I found the military-parade pre-opening too-long; but the dialogue, characters and situations were everywhere absorbing and amazing memorable; had Johnson done nothing bu the scripts for this and "The Dirty Dozen", his place in Hollywood history would be secure. I suggest that with all its fine technical and creative aspects, when viewers talk about films "they used to make but can't or don't make any more", "Night People" is exactly the sort of powerful and adult film they have in mind.
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