MovieChat Forums > One, Two, Three (1961) Discussion > What does the movie name mean??

What does the movie name mean??


For the life of me, I cannot figure out what "One, two, three" mean!

reply

Cagney's character uses the phrase quite often during the film -- especially during the climactic scenes. I've always assumed that was where the title came from.

reply

He says it when he is listing what needs to be done, then his assistant repeats it back to him quickly both in english and in German.







And forgive me for my sins, whatever they may be. Amen.

reply

It also signifies the pace of the movie.

one, two, three

Snap, snap, snap

Tap, tap, tap

quick, quick, quick,

reply

Unfortunately, one of the worst titles of a great movie ever! Would have been better-known as the "The Communist Capitalist" or "The Coca-Cola Count".

reply

Now that would have been really bad! Yuck! I'm perfectly happy with One, Two, Three.

Especially the former gives too much away. Good films never do. To remain with Billy Wilder:
- Sunset Boulevard: could be anything
- Some like it hot: is a quote from the movie, but doesn't give any clues
- The Apartment: what about it?
- Avanti!: something Italian, but that's all you can tell about it. (If you want a really horrible title, take the Italian version of Avanti!: Che cosa è successo tra mio padre e tua madre? [puking])

reply

So true, it's an unbelievable movis in terms of comedy, cold war politics and german/american relations. But the title is the worst...everytime I mention the film to someone I have to second guess myself to remember it correctly and even then when I say it, it seems to sound wrong. Even if they would have put the title in German it would have worked better Einz, Zwei, Drei or how about Cola and the Comrade.

reply

The title of a movie usually doesn't mean anything to you until AFTER you have seen the film. "One, Two, Three" is a perfectly good title for this movie. If I COULDN'T use "One, Two, Three" at all, my first choice would be a variation on one of Otto's lines: "Sorry, Wrong Party!"

reply

I agree the title is one of the worst. how about coca cola for the kremlin.

reply

in response to your reply about the meaning of the title to the billy wilder gem one, two, three yes it is for listine his priorities but it has a lot more to do with the pace of this one.which is warp10.

reply

I don't know if you could say that MacNamara (Cagney's character) uses the phrase "one, two, three" "quite often". I saw the movie in a theater this afternoon, and I only remember hearing him say it once. Nevertheless, that possibly single use of the phrase, along with the way it encapsulates the hurry-up mood of the whole film, would seem to constitute the immediate justification for the title.

Note that this movie's title is an exact translation of Egy, Kettö, Három, the title of the 1930 Hungarian play by Ferenc Molnár that it's based on. I guess you'd have to read the play to see what the title means in that context, and whether that meaning has anything to do with the uses of "eins, zwei, drei" in German mentioned by Recessive Genius in his October 31, 2005 posting here.

I wondered whether the title also might be intended as an allusion to the key relationship-complex that animates the plot, namely: Scarlett arrives in Berlin alone (one), she meets and marries Otto (two), and they conceive a child (three).

reply

Perhaps a hint that it could take the number one, two or three slot in your all time favorite movies list?

I love this movie. I watch it every once in a while, especially the sequence when the Coke chief's daughter arrives in Berlin.

reply

When we in German say "something has to be done one, two, three", it means it has to be done in a hurry.
It can also replace "ready, steady, go".

reply

"One, two, three" is not only a phrase indicating something goes very quickly (or should, at least), it is the literal translation of the title of the play by Ferenc Molnár on which the screenplay is based.

reply

Ive wathed this move since I was a kid in the 60's and find it even funnier everytime I watch it again!

I think the "One - Two - Three" refers not to the pace of the film but to the pace and management style of James Cagney's character the hard driving manager McNamara who barks out his orders in rapid fire One!... Two!... Three!... His machinations drive the character and the film. I wouldn't be surprised if the film originally had a different working title but Cagney's super charged performance and staccatto delivery prompted a rename to One Two Three.

I also get the feeling that Cagney's dynamism was contagious and inspired the other actors to keep up with his energy! As the film progresses I see their performances become increasingky charged with his spirit of One Two Three! They must have had a lot of fun fliming this and all created a FABULOUS comedy!

Cheers!
Ed

reply