Big Lift, The

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Big Lift, The


English   Country: USA   Year: 1950

Big Lift, The

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George Seaton


Montgomery Clift; Paul Douglas; Cornel Borchers




Two airforce pilots try to get supplies to Berlin past the Russian post WWII blockade. Filmed on location in Berlin in 1950, giving a good view of postwar destruction. Black & White.

From an original story by George Seaton. Original music by Alfred Newman (d. 1970) and uncredited song by Hermann Leopoldi (d. 1959).


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User Reviews


(Average=4.25 out of 5; Total Number=4)

Low-Key, Well-Acted, Enjoyable Film Featuring A Great Actor (rating=5)

I got into Montgomery Clift movies during my teen years, ever since being "forced" to sit through "From Here to Eternity" at my aunt and uncle's house on Thanksgiving Day (I lost out at the video store when all of my relatives disagreed with my selection of "Ghostbusters 2"...pathetic, I know, but I was only 14). Needless to say I was awed by "Eternity" and over the years have seen just about every film in which Monty Clift appeared. Sure, everybody likes "A Place in the Sun" and "The Heiress", but most of his movies, in my opinion, were underrated. "I Confess" (directed by Hitchcock), "Wild River" (directed by Elia Kazan, but unfortunately not yet on videotape), and "The Young Lions" (with Brando) are well worth seeing. One of Monty's earliest films, "The Search" is also a gem and quite similar in style and theme to "The Big Lift". The latter film is part of my video collection and one which I enjoy watching every year or so (and I'm not saying that just because I'm now in the Air Force! ). Monty is at his best in this film and he plays the type of role at which he was most exceptional: the low-key guy with a heart of gold, the kind of guy you'd want for a friend, a co-worker, or as a date for your little sister. :) It pains me to think that Monty's career died out in the early 1960s and that the actor himself perished in 1966 as a result of years of substance abuse. I believe that had he lived, he would have made a comeback, perhaps on television in a "Dynasty"-type show (that, however, is a scary thought). So, in a nutshell, "The Big Lift" is an excellent film, a good choice for film buffs, and an absolute must for Montgomery Clift fans. Incidentally, it is much preferrable to view this movie on videotape rather than on a television network --- I sat through it once on American Movie Classics and it was a frustrating experience: the film quality was grainy, very dark, and "jumpy". BUY IT INSTEAD.

Supporting Military Cast Are Not Actors In This Film (rating=5)

One thing overlooked in other reviews, which I am in agreement with over the quality of this film, is that the military people in this film are actually the people serving in the hosting Airforce Unit in Germany at the time. When I first saw it on late night television, I noticed the very real radio chatter that went on in the aircraft and most of all Clift's commanding officer, who had such an un-hollywood demeanor that I wondered where they got this guy and/or who was the genius directing this that created this take on this character. Then when the credits came, I saw that he was the serving commanding officer of the Airforce outfit: he was just being himself (and his "performance" will surprise many who only know the "cartoon version" of military people). And he's not the only one: they show all the "actors" one at a time in formation at the end (the military folks). Good stuff (and as a former military man myself, I found it very refreshing to see this sort of non-cartoonish depiction of military characters in this film).
This film is a great product of it's time, the era which gave us "Third Man" and a few other of the great "Cold War" Noir films (some day "Night People" with Gregory Peck and Buddy Ebsen will come out on Dvd, too!).

You can't go wrong.

Classic BW Love Story During Berlin Airlift + Real Footage (rating=4)

This classic black and white film is an intriguingly original and often humorous love story about an American pilot who falls in love with an eloquent German woman during the Berlin airlift. The pilot's cynical buddy, who suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis in WWII, tries to dissuade his friend from falling for this "Kraut" but to no avail. The film contains many insightful and thought provoking comments on the nature of WWII, the USA, democracy, the Germans, and love itself. Although not a 5 star flick of the calibre of "The Third Man" this film has many similar flickers of genius and a clever twist.

Edward Deskur