Based on a play by Ferenc Molnar and directed by Billy Wilder, a Coco-Cola executive in West Berlin learns the boss’s daughter has married a Communist, and he transforms him so that he can get the promotion he wants.
On August 13, 1961 the East German Communists closed the border between East and West Berlin.
C. R. MacNamara (James Cagney) rides in the back of a car and explains that in the previous June it was fairly easy to pass from one side of Berlin to the other. Now East German border guards are suspicious and rude. East Germany is still in ruins, but the people go about their business and march in a parade singing “The Internationale.” They release balloons saying “Yankee Go Home.” The West Berliners are busy rebuilding. The western sector is protected by the Allies and is peaceful, prosperous, and democratic. MacNamara works for Cola-Cola. He gets out of his car and goes into the Coca-Cola building.
MacNamara comes into a large room with secretaries typing, and they all stand up. He tells them to sit down in German, and they do. He goes into his office and calls in Schlemmer (Hanns Lothar) and says he gave strict orders that they are not to stand up when he comes in. He says they are living in a democracy now. Schlemmer says now they can do what they want, and they want to stand. MacNamara asks about the mayor, airline tickets for his family to Venice, and the Frankfurt plant which has been smuggling cokes into the East but not returning the empties. He is expecting the Russian trade commission. He fires Schlemmer for clicking his heels so often. MacNamara asks what he did during the war, and Schlemmer says he worked in the subway and did not know what was going on. MacNamara calls in his pretty blonde secretary Fraulein Ingeborg (Lilo Pulver), and he dictates to her his monthly report to the home office. He hopes to be the first western company to crack the Iron Curtain and has started negotiating with the Russians. He tells her he could not get away to see her on the weekend, but he promises good news tonight. He answers the phone, and his wife Phyllis MacNamara (Arlene Francis) has him talk to his son Tommy. He complains his mother won’t let him take his roller skates to Venice, and MacNamara persuades her to let him pack what he wants. He says he is busy and will eat dinner out. He hangs up and tells Ingeborg his wife is going on vacation. Tonight they will eat and start on German lessons again. He has her go out as three Russians come in. They give him a cigar from Cuba. They trade rockets for cigars. MacNamara says the cigar is crummy, but they say they send them crummy rockets. MacNamara wants to start with 6 bottling plants in Russia’s main cities. He will supply the syrup, and they will do the bottling. A Russian disagrees, and says he will give them the formula. MacNamara says certainly not because the Chinese may get it. They say no formula no deal, and MacNamara says then no deal. They say they will develop their own formula. MacNamara reminds them they tried to analyze the formula but failed, and two spies sent to Atlanta to steal it defected. He tells them to get down to business or get off the pot. A Russian says for peaceful co-existence there must be some give and take. MacNamara says he gives, and they take. The Russian asks if he does not trust them, and he says no comment. They ask to have a little conference and talk to each other in Russian. A clock has Uncle Sam come out and sing “Yankee Doodle.” MacNamara says his employees gave it to him on the tenth anniversary of the Berlin airlift. They tell him to stop the propaganda and say they will put a cosmonaut on the moon. He says if he wants a coke on the way, they will have to come to him. They agree to let him supply the syrup, and he says it will be set up on a royalty basis. A Russian says they have not had royalties since the death of the Czar, but he says they will pay in dollars. The Russian offers a tour of the Bolshoi Ballet, and MacNamara says he wants no culture but cash. They call him the ugly American. MacNamara says they will have the right to inspect the plants, and they say they may veto them. MacNamara says the papers will be drawn up and sent to Atlanta. He will have his secretary do it, and they ask if she is the blonde lady. They consult and say he must send the papers to East Berlin in triplicate. MacNamara asks if they want the blonde in triplicate too, and they ask him to see what he can do. MacNamara offers them some Vodka and coke, but they say they have an emergency meeting with the Swiss trade delegation. They sent them cheese that was full of holes. They go out and look at the secretary filing before leaving.
Schlemmer tells him a call is coming from Atlanta. MacNamara says if he can pull this off, he will be promoted to head of European operations in London. He says he should have got the job five years ago, but Benny Goodman ruined him by not showing up for a concert with 30,000 people because of a sandstorm, and they rioted and tore down the Coca-Cola plant. He was blamed and sent to South America. He picks up the phone, and Wendell P. Hazeltine (Howard St. John) tells him they are not interested in doing business behind the Iron Curtain. He says their daughter fell in love with a basketball player. So they sent her on a trip to Europe, and she is arriving in Berlin today. MacNamara says they would love to have her stay with his family, but they have plans. Hazeltine says if it is an imposition, to forget it. MacNamara says he was thinking of his daughter because with the political situation anything could happen here. Hazeltine says that is why he wants him to take care of his daughter. He says her plane is coming in at 4:30 unless the Commies shoot it down.
The plane lands as MacNamara and Phyllis walk out on the runway with flowers. She is upset, and he tells her to make an effort. Scarlett Hazeltine (Pamela Tiffin) comes off the plane accompanied by three men from the crew. She borrows his hat for a lottery and says Pierre just won her. MacNamara says they are way off the beam, changes his luck, whisks Scarlet away with him. Pierre says that is not fair and appeals to Phyllis as a woman; she says he does and leaves. Scarlet complains that he is cramping her style. She wants to go to the Lido and Crazy Horse and look sexy. MacNamara promises she will have a good time in Berlin. She says everyone is saying that Berlin is the hottest spot right now. Phyllis puts a flower in front of her face and asks if she wants to make a statement. MacNamara sends a man to get her luggage. She complains she did volunteer for this trip, but they deported her for getting engaged to Choo Choo whom she met in a telephone booth. She says he is from the wrong side of the tracks, and her daddy is a snob. Phyllis asks if seventeen is too young to be engaged, and Scarlet says she has been engaged four times; all the women in her family are hot-blooded. She walks off, and MacNamara asks what they have here. Phyllis says they have her for two weeks, and it is marvy.
MacNamara comes to work and tells Schlemmer to find out what happened to his car and chauffeur. Ingeborg presents her resignation because he is not taking advantage of her after hours and on weekends. She says his guest has been here two months, but he says she caught the German measles. She says she has many job offers because she is bilingual. The Russian trade commission has been calling, and they want her badly. She tells him to find another girl, and he dictates an ad to her for all Berlin papers. She asks what the fringe benefits are, and he describes a new set of clothes. She says she will take the job. She is about to kiss him when Schlemmer comes in. He says the chauffeur and his car have not been found. He already gave the police a complete description of the car. MacNamara finds out he is paying him $50 a week and says that is enough. MacNamara gets a call from Hazeltine in Atlanta who says he got a letter from Scarlet saying she has been going to the opera, concerts, and museums. He says that does not sound like her and asks what is going on. MacNamara says she is a different person now. Hazeltine says he and his wife are coming to Europe to take her off his hands. He says they are naming a new head of European operations, and he won’t be forgotten. MacNamara says he did not expect it, and he says why he deserves it. Schlemmer comes in and says his wife insists on talking to him. MacNamara tells Hazeltine there is an emergency in the accounting department. He picks up the other phone and asks what is so important. Phyllis says Miss Hazeltine is missing, and her bed has not been slept in. Hazeltine tells him they are flying to New York to London and to Berlin and will be there at noon tomorrow. He tells his wife they have to find Scarlet because her parents are arriving tomorrow. Schlemmer says they found the chauffeur Fritz (Karl Lieffen), and he has information. Fritz says he dropped Scarlet at the Brandenburg Gate as he has every night for a month. Usually she is back before he gets up, and MacNamara says he has been doing this behind his back. Fritz says she pays him 100 marks a night for driving her and not telling him. Fritz says she crosses into East Berlin, but tonight she did not come back. MacNamara picks up the phone and tells Ingeborg to get him General Hartell, Mayor Willy Brandt, the police commissioner, and the American ambassador in Bonn. He tells Fritz to wait downstairs. He asks Schlemmer how they get information about East Berlin, and he explains there is no direct phone service to East Berlin. They are routed through other cities and nine times out of town you get a wrong number. MacNamara tells him to try.
He asks Ingeborg about the phone calls, and she says they are all busy or away. He hears a knock and says come in. Scarlet comes in, but he does not see her. He asks her to get him Dean Rusk or Dean Acheson or Senator Talmadge of Georgia or Huntley and Brinkley. She asks what the excitement is about, and he says she scared the hell out of them. He asks what she was doing in East Berlin. She says there is a boy over there she met six weeks ago. They wanted to arrest her for taking pictures of a parade, and this boy in the parade said she was a bourgeois parasite and a rotten fruit of a corrupt civilization. She fell in love with him and shows him his picture, but he can only see the sign with Khrushchev’s picture. She says Otto was holding the sign. Schlemmer comes in and says he got a wrong number. MacNamara asks what she does with Otto. She says she washes his shirts while he broadens her mind, and they lie on the roof and watch the Sputniks go by. She says last night they were blowing up balloons, and she shows him one that says “Yankee go home.” He asks why she is spreading anti-American propaganda. She says it is only anti-Yankee, and where she comes from they all hate the Yankees. MacNamara tells her that tomorrow her parents are coming to take her home. He takes a call from Chet Huntley and tells him to keep up the good work. He tells her to keep her mouth shut about this for both their sakes. She wants to talk it over with Otto, but he says she is not going to see him anymore because she is not going back to East Berlin. She says he is downstairs, and she opens a window and calls to him.
On the sidewalk Otto Ludwig Piffl (Horst Buchholz) is sitting on his motorcycle. He waves to her, and she tells him to come up.
MacNamara says he does not want him in his office. She says they have something to tell him. He asks if she is engaged again, and she says not this time. He thanks God, and she says they are married. It will be six weeks on Monday. She says he is not a Communist but a Republican from the Republic of East Germany. He calls her stupid and says she has ruined him. She asks why he did not look after her better. He says he will be blacklisted because of her hot blood. Otto opens the door, and she tells him to come in. She introduces him to MacNamara who says he does not even wear socks. She says he does not wear shorts either, and she kisses him. MacNamara tells him to take his cap off, and Otto says he takes his cap off in Lenin’s tomb, but he refuses in a Coca-Cola office. She asks him to do it for her, and he does. MacNamara says he could use a haircut, and he would like to give it to him with a hammer and sickle. Tony calls him a warmonger. MacNamara tells him to shut up, and she asks him not to talk like that to her husband. MacNamara says he is not her husband because they do not recognize the government of East Germany. He says she admitted that while she was washing his shirts, he was washing her brain. They hold out their hands to show their steel wedding rings. MacNamara says their marriage is illegal because they are not in East Germany now. He says he can have him arrested for lying on a roof with a minor. Otto says he can do that and have him tortured and shot like they have been doing in the Congo. She shouts, “Africa for the Africans!” MacNamara tells them to be silent. He answers the phone and tells Brinkley he gave the message to Huntley. MacNamara says they can live in peaceful coexistence and offers him a thousands marks. Otto asks for what. MacNamara tells him to get on his motorcycle and go back and forget the whole thing. She says he can’t bribe him. MacNamara offers 2,000, and Otto asks for 5,000. MacNamara says okay. Otto asks why not 50,000. MacNamara asks if he is crazy, and Otto says he wanted to see how far he would go to break up a happy socialist marriage. He says he spits on his money, on Fort Knox, and on Wall Street. MacNamara says he is unsanitary, and Otto says he and his kind are doomed. They will take over West Berlin and western Europe; they will bury them. MacNamara tells him to bury us but not marry us. Otto points to the world map showing the Coca-Cola plants and says capitalism shines and stinks like a dead herring in the moonlight. She asks him to tell him about Coca-Cola colonialism. MacNamara says to hell with his revolution and Khrushchev. Otto says to hell with Frank Sinatra. MacNamara asks how they are going to explain this to her parents tomorrow. She says that is his problem because tomorrow they won’t be here. Otto says they are leaving for Moscow. She says he got a scholarship to the People’s Technological Institute, and he is studying to be a missile engineer. She tells MacNamara to tell her daddy that she is on her way to the USSR. MacNamara asks if she is out of her mind because Russia is to get out of not get into. She says where Otto goes, she goes. Otto dares him to try to stop them.
Schlemmer comes and asks if MacNamara can talk to his wife. He tells Phyllis that she married a Communist. She says that will be the biggest thing in Atlanta since Sherman’s barbecue. She admits it is not funny but says living in Moscow is funny. MacNamara says he can’t stop them, but she thinks he has something up his sleeve. They tell him they are leaving on the train. Otto says he has to go home and pack. MacNamara says he will get Fritz to take Scarlet home, and he talks to Schlemmer about his balloon idea. Otto and Scarlet talk about how happy they will be having all their meals in bed, and they kiss. He says he will pick her up at 6:30 in the morning. MacNamara comes back and says he has a present for them. He wraps up the clock in newspaper as Otto says they don’t want anything from him. MacNamara gives Otto the present, and he leaves followed by Scarlet. MacNamara looks out the window and tells Schlemmer to hurry up with the balloon on the exhaust pipe of his motorcycle.
Otto drives off with a balloon that says “Russki go home.”
MacNamara tells Schlemmer he is a good boy. He predicts the balloon will get bigger, and the clock in the sidecar will pay off when he passes through the Brandenburg Gate. A guard sees the balloon and blows his whistle. Men get in a car and go after him and stop him. Three guards find the clock with Uncle Sam and accuse him of bringing in propaganda. They grab him and put him in the car.
Scarlett asks Phyllis to send her American magazines, and she gave her fur coat to the maid. Phyllis hopes she will let her wear it. Scarlet says Otto is as handsome as Kennedy but with more hair. Phyllis wonders if they voted for the wrong man. Scarlet says that couldn’t happen in Russia because they don’t vote. Scarlet says the subversives are the best lovers. MacNamara comes in humming and tells Scarlet to put her luggage upstairs. He says Otto was picked up by the East German police. Scarlet says she wants to go help him; but he says that would make his situation worse. That is why they have to get the marriage annulled right away. He says if they find out that he is married to the parasite daughter of an American capitalist, they will send him up for twenty years. He describes how he will have to slave away in the salt mines barefoot in the snow. Scarlet faints, and Phyllis tries to revive her. They tell the maid to call the doctor, but she says she won’t give back the coat.
The doctor is checking Scarlet’s heart and says she is normal. Phyllis tells her two children that Scarlet is sick. On the phone MacNamara says he wants the marriage certificate destroyed. Phyllis says he framed the poor boy, and he says he is not going to let a Communist ruin someone’s life. It would blow his chance for the London job. Phyllis says she is fed up with moving around the globe for his jobs, and she asks who needs it. She would rather he get a nice job in the home office at Atlanta. He says that is Siberia with mint juleps. She says she has had it, and she wants to go home. She says Cindy needs to have her teeth straightened, and Tommy has never had a peanut butter sandwich. She would like to watch “Gunsmoke” in English. He says they have it made with servants, a limousine, and an expense account. She says it is great for him because he finds a secretary who gives language lessons on the side. She says she has known about it for years but did not want to be a nagging American wife. The doctor comes down the stairs and says she is perfectly normal. He says she is schwanger, but he can’t think of the English word. Their children know what it is, and Tommy said he told him not to use that word. Cindy says Scarlet is going to have puppies. Phyllis says she is pregnant, and the doctor says that is the word and goes out singing. She sends the children back to bed and asks what it will be like working for Pepsi-Cola. She pours herself a drink and says tomorrow when her parents arrive, Scarlet will be there unchanged and unwed but schwanger. MacNamara says he will have the answer when the time comes, and she says he had better have Otto. He says that would be disaster. He tries to make up a story. He says they he will get a medal that was awarded to him posthumously so they will have a dead hero instead of a live husband. She goes up stairs. He says he had a hard time getting him into jail, and it will be ten times as tough to get him out. He calls Schlemmer and says he will pick him up and then Ingeborg.
Fritz drives MacNamara, Ingeborg, and Schlemmer to the Brandenburg Gate, and MacNamara says he is going to meet with the Russian Trade Commission for Coca-Cola, and he gives the guard a six-pack. As they drive in East Berlin, Schlemmer says the whole idea is crazy, and he is scared. Ingeborg is scared something will happen to her new dress, and MacNamara says he will buy her ten new dresses. MacNamara tells Fritz they are staying at the Grand Hotel Potemkin. They park in front of the hotel.
Inside the orchestra conductor sings as people dance or play games at tables. MacNamara and Ingeborg go up stairs and find the three Russians. They welcome them and hope he wants to trade his secretary. MacNamara says he needs to get Otto Piffl. They say this is difficult. Ingeborg dances on a table with torches to the “Sabre Dance.” She takes off her gloves and then her sleeves. A Russian offers him a new automobile, but MacNamara says he is not interested. She takes off her belt. A Russian takes off his shoe and pounds it on the table. MacNamara says he wants Piffl or nothing. He says they are getting nowhere and tells Ingeborg to put her shoes on. The three Russians say they want an inspection. They vote two out of three for the deal even though one of them is an undercover agent.
They park their car while the Russians park across the street and get out and go into a Berlin public building.
East German police are interrogating Otto and play rock music. Otto covers his ears and shouts. He confesses to working for the CIA and signs the paper. One of the Russians comes in and learns he is a confessed American spy. He tells the others, and they are doubtful. He says they could cross to West Berlin. One says he would leave his family but decides that is okay. They agree to do it.
The three Russians bring Otto out of the building and hand him over to MacNamara and Schlemmer. They ask for the blonde lady, and MacNamara says he will send her over. The car pulls away, and the person in the dress falls down in the street. The Russians run over and see that it is Schlemmer. They decide to chase them to the Brandenburg Gate and get in their car.
In the back seat Ingeborg says she hopes the Russians were not disappointed. They discover the Russians are following them, and MacNamara tells Fritz to step on it. Both cars speed up. They drive off the road and through a bombed out building. At the Brandenburg Gate they are stopped, and MacNamara says they came through earlier. They keep Otto quiet. The Russians arrive with a car that is falling apart and cannot stop. It crashes into a pillar. Fritz drives his car through the gate.
Otto wakes up on a couch in the office. Ingeborg pours hot coffee and hums the “Sabre Dance.” MacNamara tells her to shut up. He says when Otto opens his mouth to the Hazeltines, it will be goodbye Charlie. He looks out the window and sees Scarlet coming in with Fritz. MacNamara tells Ingeborg to put something over her slip. Scarlet comes in and gets Otto to wake up. He sees the clock on the wall playing the tune and blames MacNamara. She says she is going to have a baby. Otto hugs her. MacNamara says the world needs a bouncing baby Bolshevik. Otto says they must get on the waiting list for the people’s maternity ward and the people’s obstetricians. She says she has a nurse and governess in Atlanta who will take care of her. Otto says the state takes care of everything. The baby will be enrolled in the people’s nursery school, and they will have visiting rights every other Sunday. They can wave to him at the May Day parade. Otto asks where the tickets are and says they have to leave on the next train for Moscow. MacNamara tells him to forget it, and he cannot even get back in to East Berlin because he is an American spy. Otto asks who says so, and MacNamara says he signed a confession. Scarlet says that is thrilling and asks why he did not tell her. Otto says he is not a spy. Otto says MacNamara did this to him, but MacNamara asks if it was his Communist chums. Otto says he must go with him and explain. MacNamara asks if they would believe an imperialist stooge. Otto says he could kill him. MacNamara tells him to take it easy, or he will end up in the people’s emergency hospital. She asks what they should call the baby.
Schlemmer comes in wearing the dress, and Ingeborg complains he ruined her dress. MacNamara asks if he had trouble getting out of East Berlin, but he says he was picked up by a soldier in West Berlin. MacNamara tells him to change because they have work to do. Scarlet tells Otto they will have fun shopping for the baby. She wants to run down to Paris for a few days. Otto says she has to forget all that because they can’t even afford milk for the baby. She says milk is the worst thing for babies. He says he is finished. He has no home and no job, not even his motorcycle. MacNamara says he has a rich wife, but Otto says he is no gigolo and will not take money from her. MacNamara says he won’t because when her father finds out who is, he will cut them off without a red cent. She realizes her father does not like Russians. MacNamara says he will help them if Otto will cooperate. Otto tells him to go to hell. Ingeborg opens the door and says Hazeltine is calling from London. MacNamara picks up the phone. Hazeltine reads a telegram he got from MacNamara congratulating him on becoming a grandfather, and he asks if that is a joke. MacNamara asks if someone sent a telegram, and Scarlet says Mrs. MacNamara did. MacNamara tells him it is true; they did not want him to be too surprised when he got here. Hazeltine says he sent him a pure, innocent girl. Then he tells his wife it is all right because she is married. He asks who her husband is, and MacNamara says he is handsome, cultured, and from a good family in Europe. He says they will bring him to the airport with them. Scarlet says he can’t fool her daddy that easy. MacNamara did not say it would be easy. He says they are going to turn Otto into the perfect son-in-law, and they have three hours to do it. Otto says he refuses. MacNamara tells Schlemmer to have all the secretaries drop everything and stand by for orders. He wants a general alarm for complete mobilization, and Schlemmer says it reminds him of the good old days. MacNamara asks Otto if he loves his wife, but Otto tells her he cannot compromise his principles. She says she would do anything for him too even if they have to starve; but she says they can’t ask the baby to starve at his age. Otto says he will not turn himself into a capitalist, but MacNamara says at noon he will look and act like a gentleman. Schlemmer says they are ready, and MacNamara gives him a series of orders. He says they have to start cleaning up Otto, and Scarlet takes him to the wash room and says it won’t hurt a bit. Ingeborg comes in and says she is always ready. He sends her out to get fine clothes for Otto and tells her what sizes he wears. He answers the phone and tells Fritz he needs him today. Next he orders Ingeborg to order hats and luggage, a gold wedding ring and an engagement. He tells Scarlet to make sure he scrubs behind his ears. He tells Ingeborg to order a seven-course dinner and flowers. She shows her slip and asks if she can go home to get some clothes. He says clothes or no clothes everybody works today. A barber and manicurist come in, and MacNamara tells him to chop off Otto’s hair. Otto shouts no, but he goes with them and Scarlet.
The lawyer comes in and tells MacNamara that the man can consider himself unmarried. He managed to liberate that marriage certificate from the East Germans. MacNamara says the Germans are too efficient. He tells him to go to East Berlin and put that license back in the file, but first he wants to get Otto adopted by an aristocrat who works in a men’s room. MacNamara looks at the shoes and says which are acceptable. A tailor brings a rack of jackets, and MacNamara picks again and tells him he wants them ready in 24 hours with the striped pants and morning coat ready right away. Schmuck comes in with jewelry, and MacNamara tells them to follow him. He leads them to the conference room where Otto is having his hair cut, his nails manicured, and his feet fit for shoes. MacNamara has Scarlet pick out wedding rings, but Otto prefers the steel ones. She picks out an engagement ring that is 8,000 marks, and Otto asks who is paying for all this. MacNamara tells him to relax because he has all that Coca-Cola stock. He says he will not clip coupons, but she says their son will do that. Otto says he will not let his son grow up to become a capitalist. She says when he is eighteen, he can decide for himself to be a capitalist or a rich Communist. MacNamara answers the phone and reserves the bridal suite at the Berlin Hilton with silk sheets. Otto asks if this is La Dolce Vita. They pull Otto’s pants off, and he shouts. Ingeborg tells MacNamara that newspapermen are there, and he says not today.
He goes back to the office and picks out the shirts and ties. Phyllis comes in, and MacNamara says it is the rat race here. She knows who the rat is and goes to get something from the safe. He gives her the combination, and she opens it. She gets the passports and says she is flying back to the states and taking the kids with her. He asks what she is sore about now that he got Otto back and is remodeling him. She says someone should do a job on him. He closes the door and says she can’t walk out on him like this. She says she is going back where she belongs. They will be waiting for him there. The lawyer opens a door and says the adoption papers are ready. MacNamara gets rid of him and asks what came over her lately. She says their marriage has got stale like leftover beer. He asks if they can discuss this without mentioning a rival beverage. He says she knew the guy he was when she married him, but she says apparently not. He is not a suburban joker who works 9 to 5 every day and cuts the grass on the weekends. She says she married Marco Polo. He reminds her of some fine times in Tehran and Zurich and Waikiki. He suggests they talk it over. They are about to kiss, but the clock goes off again. He says he has only until noon to do all this. He tells her how great it will be living in London. Otto runs in and says he will not wear striped pants that are for bankers and war profiteers. MacNamara says they are too big and tells him to take them off and fix them. He forgot he does not wear shorts. They run out again, and Phyllis says no wonder they are winning the cold war. He orders Ingeborg to get him some shorts. She looks for them in the boxes, and Phyllis sees her slip and says she could use some herself. Ingeborg says last night MacNamara made her take off her dress which he paid for. She says it is part of her job. Phyllis says he is starting his own Marshall Plan. She tells Ingeborg to tell her husband “Aloha” which is Hawaiian for “get lost.” MacNamara learns of this and calls to Phyllis.
MacNamara sees Phyllis go down the elevator as the food arrives. A reporter tells him it is important because someone from Coca-Cola married a member of the Communist Party in East Berlin.
Otto is wearing boxer shorts and says they have no purpose. MacNamara comes in and wants to see how he eats. Otto is hungry and is eager. Scarlet tells him to use the tongs for the asparagus. A man brings in luggage. MacNamara tells Otto not to drink wine from the bottle but out of a glass. Schlemmer tells MacNamara that the count is waiting in the office. MacNamara tells a man not to pack his old clothes. Otto manages to get his party membership book that has him paid up to December.
At 10:30 MacNamara asks the count if he would like to become a father, and he asks at his age. MacNamara says the tip is 2,000 marks. They haggle and agree on 4,000. Otto comes in, and Scarlet tells him to be still so that she can put his cufflinks on. MacNamara introduces Otto to his new father who kisses him on both cheeks. MacNamara says he is being adopted. Otto says he didn’t even ask him; it is not only devious but unilateral. MacNamara tells them to sign the papers, and he hands the count a check to cash on the way out. MacNamara tells them their new name, and Scarlet says everyone will have to curtsey to her. Otto says no one will do that. He says they bleed the masses, and MacNamara says the count’s family bleed themselves. MacNamara says he is turning over his limousine and his chauffeur to Otto who says he only wants his motorcycle. MacNamara says he has signed them up for several clubs; but Otto says he will join nothing, and he criticizes the American way of life. He says they will catch up with a new twenty-year plan. Three MPs come in and tell MacNamara that he has a female employee there who is an enemy agent. He gives them permission to look around. MacNamara tells the manager of the bottling plant that he is going to be the assistant to the new manager Otto, but his pay will be higher than before. He tells him to teach what he knows of the business to Otto in fifteen minutes. He calls his wife and learns she packed and left in a taxi. The reporter comes in and asks if he has a comment before he prints the story about the marriage to the Communist. He says there is a marriage, but he is not a Communist but a count. A painter comes in, and MacNamara instructs him to paint a crest on a car. The reporter asks Scarlet how she spells her husband’s name, and she says it is Piffl. She says MacNamara fixed it up so that her daddy would not find out that Otto is a red. MacNamara sends her away, and the reporter says the story is getting better. MacNamara asks how much he wants to forget the whole thing, but he says he can’t buy a German journalist. Schlemmer comes in and salutes the reporter and says he was his commanding officer in the SS. MacNamara asks if he can do anything else for the reporter who says the marriage of two prominent families will be the social event of the year. MacNamara says he is lowering Schlemmer’s salary, but Schlemmer says he was only a pastry cook in the officer’s mess. MacNamara sees it is eleven and asks where are the flowers and hats. He calls and orders a private dining room at the Berlin Hilton.
An MP is interviewing a fat secretary who giggles. Schlemmer tries to hide the dress, but the MPs find it.
MacNamara orders what he wants at the banquet including the musical selections. Otto runs in with a coat and tie and in his shorts. He says he is going to like being the manager of a bottling plant. The first thing he will do is lead the workers in a revolt. MacNamara tells him to put his pants on. A Russian comes with a broken arm and tells MacNamara he made a fool of him. Otto says he made a fool of him too, and he asks him to get him and his wife to the Soviet zone. The Russian says there may be a problem. MacNamara says 1,500 people a day are coming the other way. The Russian says he defected and had his two comrades arrested. If he did not do it to them, they would have done it to him. He asks what Khrushchev did to Malenkov and what Stalin did to Trotsky. Otto asks if everyone is corrupt. MacNamara says a world with Shakespeare and striped toothpaste can’t be all bad. A tailor brings in pants, and Otto says he will fight alone. The Russian does not want money but the secretary. MacNamara says he is going to London and does not know how to break the news to her. He says she is crazy about him. He calls in Ingeborg and dictates a classified ad. She takes the job and leaves with the Russian. Scarlet comes in crying and saying she will never speak to him again. She says he does not want the baby because no one should bring children into a world like this. MacNamara asks why he didn’t think of that before. Otto runs and goes on his knees saying he is sorry and that he did not mean it. He says he loves her and that their children can make this a better place to live in a world where all men are created equal, and there is liberty and justice for all. It is 11:30, and MacNamara says they have to get going. Otto rips his pants, and MacNamara tells the tailor to come along.
They pile into the car. MacNamara gives Otto money and things to put in his pockets. The painter is working on the crest through the window, and the tailor is sewing the pants. MacNamara reads over bills and says they add up to $10,255. Otto says he has been a capitalist for three hours, and he already owes that much. MacNamara says what makes our system work is that everybody owes everybody. Scarlet finds a hat that fits Otto. She warns him her father feels strongly about the Civil War, and MacNamara advises him to say it was a draw. She mentions Coca-Cola, golf, the world situation, vivisection, Red China, income taxes, and Tennessee Williams. He says he can’t remember all that. They put flowers in their lapels.
Hazeltine and his wife get off the plane, and he says he will be able to tell if he is a four-flusher. The car arrives, and they huddle. Hazeltine sees them and calls to Scarlet. She takes him to meet Otto who is introduced as the count. Mrs. Hazeltine kneels down, and he kisses her hand and says not the immediately family. He says golf is a game that keeps families together. Scarlet says he comes from a long line of bleeders. Hazeltine takes MacNamara aside and asks who he is. He says he is head of their bottling plant, the best man he ever had and an excellent engineer. Otto shows Mrs. Hazeltine the picture of his family castle and his party membership which he quickly puts away. She sees the crest on the car, and Mr. Hazeltine assumes they met in the bottling plant. Scarlet says they met in a parade under a picture of Khrushchev. Otto gets his answers mixed up and says the situation in Berlin should not happen to a dog, and the world situation is hopeless but not serious. Hazeltine is impressed. Otto sends Fritz to get the luggage, and Schlemmer to take the passports to control. He snaps his fingers and says, “One, two, three.” He says he is giving a little banquet tonight and speaks some Russian. MacNamara says he is a white Russian. Otto tells Hazeltine they must think beyond the six-pack to the nine-pack and twelve-pack.
MacNamara walks away and sees Phyllis and the children in line to board a plane. Hazeltine congratulates MacNamara and says he found the right man for the London job. He describes his skills and says he is not just saying that because he is his son-in-law. MacNamara is disappointed, but Hazeltine says he will not be forgotten. He is going all the way to the top. He will be vice president in the home office in charge of procurement. He says he must be dying to get back to Atlanta, and MacNamara says dying is right. He gives his umbrella to Otto, and Scarlet says she adores MacNamara and kisses him.
Tommy asks for a coke, but Phyllis says she does not have change. MacNamara says he has change and gets him one from a machine. She asks where he is going, and he says he is going back to the states. He says he is going to be vice president in Atlanta. He says they are kicking him upstairs, and she says she has always wanted to do that herself. He says they can join him. She has a conference with the kids, and she says it is two out of three. He asks who is the wise guy. He pulls out the bottles and sees it is Pepsi-Cola. He calls for Schlemmer.
This mad-cap farce satirizes the cold war at its most critical point in Berlin. The clash between the values of the capitalists and Communists creates comic tension especially when a devoted socialist is quickly transformed into a conservative businessman. The final irony is that the ambitious older man who is very capable is displaced by the young radical without practical experience.