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Divided City, The (1959)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Titles and credits over views of Berlin taken from a moving car. Panning aerial shots of the cities and views of prominent streets and buildings, including the Mayor's offices. The Mayor of West Berlin, Willy Brandt, disembarks from a plane in London to attend talks about the city. People shop in West Berlin street markets, while the narrator comments on the availability of foods. The Kurfurstendamm main street in Berlin, moving towards the East Berlin section; notices, guards and barriers at the checkpoints. Bears and sea lions are shown at the Berlin Zoo alongside other attractions, including rides, fountains, gardens and playgrounds. Travelling up the Radio Free Berlin Tower by elevator, and then a series of panning views from the top. A look at new buildings, such as the Congress Hall and blocks of flats in the suburbs designed by architects from across NATO. A ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the Berlin Air Lift is shown, with a memorial for those who died. Clement Attlee and Willy Brandt are among those present.

Maps show East and West Germany, then East and West Berlin. On the Eastern side, the film highlights the Russian War Memorial, Stalin Allee, flats built in a Moscow style, official buildings, propaganda posters and ruined buildings including an old theatre. The East German Information Ministry is shown, as rebuilt from Goebbels' propaganda building; the ruins of the Reich Chancellory and the bombed-out air-raid shelter where Hitler died, and Spandau Prison. Refugees bound for West Berlin queue outside a building, and the narrator asks how long the city will remain divided. The film ends on shots of a church bell ringing and aerial shots of a main street.