6.5/10
958
20 user 11 critic

Night People (1954)

Approved | | Adventure, Crime, Mystery | 14 May 1954 (Sweden)
During the Cold War, an American soldier is abducted in West Berlin, sparking a recovery effort led by Colonel Steve Van Dyke.

Director:

Nunnally Johnson

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (screenplay), Jed Harris (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Col. Steve Van Dyke
Broderick Crawford ... Charles Leatherby
Anita Björk ... 'Hoffy' Hoffmeier
Rita Gam ... Ricky Cates
Walter Abel ... Maj. R.A. Foster, MD
Buddy Ebsen ... Sgt. Eddie McColloch
Max Showalter ... Frederick S. Hobart (as Casey Adams)
Jill Esmond ... Frau Schindler
Peter van Eyck ... Sergei 'Petey' Petrochine
Marianne Koch ... Kathy Gerhardt
Ted Avery Ted Avery ... Cpl. John J. Leatherby
Hugh McDermott ... Maj. Burns
Paul Carpenter Paul Carpenter ... Eddie Whitby
John Horsley ... Lt. Col. Stanways
Lionel Murton Lionel Murton ... Norman Lakeland
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Storyline

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 Corey Hatch

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a counter-spy! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

14 May 1954 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cannibals See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Van Dyke hands Hoffy the poisoned drink, he is grasping the top of the glass. The scene cuts to a different view, and Van Dyke is grasping the bottom of the glass. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cpl. John J. Leatherby: [as he sneaks up behind Kathy as she's trying to playfully hide from him behind a street sign] Getting kinda cute, huh?
[she laughs]
Cpl. John J. Leatherby: How are ya?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played during the military review at the beginning
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Berlin, The Flashpoint Of The Cold War
28 April 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Cold War was settling in for a deep freeze when Night People was made in 1953. The story is about the kidnapping of an American corporal on occupation duty in Berlin and the efforts by our military to get him back.

Mind you this isn't any ordinary corporal. Turns out he's the son of Broderick Crawford who is doing a light version of his junk tycoon from Born Yesterday. As it is explained in a line which audiences today might not get, 'he plays golf'. That he was a businessman who played golf was meant that he played regularly with the most famous golfer in America. You could not go a week in the USA of the Fifties without reading in the newspapers or hearing on radio or television about President Eisenhower tearing it up at some golf course. No one born after 1956 or so would possibly grasp the meaning of that description.

So Crawford goes to Berlin to get some action and he runs into Gregory Peck of the Provost Marshal's office who does things in his own time and won't be bullied or influenced.

Peck's role calls for him to be soldier, diplomat, and psychologist all in one. But he's a professional and he carries it off despite a few unexpected wrinkles. One of them turns out to be Anita Bjork who has been working both sides of the Cold War in an effort to obtain her much needed absinthe.

Aiding and abetting Peck in his attempt to free the corporal are Rita Gam as his girl Friday, Sgt. Buddy Ebsen, Peck's non-com aide, and army doctor Walter Abel who has to be on standby at the climax of the film. Why is that, you have to watch Night People to find out, but Abel's needed for a potential emergency.

Berlin ever since the airlift was at the center of the Cold War with the Russians. The wall had not been built yet and after that things kind of settled to an uneasy acceptance until the fall of the Soviet Union. Night People is an average Cold War drama made better by the presence of some A list cast members and a tightly edited script by Nunnally Johnson who also directed.


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