Diplomatic Courier (1952)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  13 June 1952 (USA)
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Reviews: 18 user | 10 critic

Department of State courier Mike Kells ends up in postwar hotbed Trieste after failing to collect a package from a colleague. The Military Police are happy for him to get more involved, but... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Mike Kells
Joan Ross
Stephen McNally ...
Col. Mark Cagle
Janine Betki (as Hildegarde Neff)
Sgt. Ernie Guelvada
James Millican ...
Sam F. Carew
Rasumny Platov
Herbert Berghof ...
Arthur Blake ...
Max Ralli
Helene Stanley ...
Airline Stewardess


Department of State courier Mike Kells ends up in postwar hotbed Trieste after failing to collect a package from a colleague. The Military Police are happy for him to get more involved, but things get a bit tough. After all, he is just a postman. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

13 June 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kurier nach Triest  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In 1952, when this movie was made, Trieste was an independent city state, under the protection of the United Nations as the Free Territory of Trieste. The territory of Trieste was divided into two zones of occupation. Zone A was administered by the Allied Military Government (American and British Armed Forces)while zone B remained under the military administration of the Yugoslav People's Army.This state of affairs ended in 1954. See more »


The action takes place in April 1950. In a scene in a nightclub, a female impersonator uses the "Fasten Your Seatbelts..." line spoken by Bette Davis in All About Eve, which was not released until October 1950. See more »


Mike Kells: [about Joan] No. If I'm in this, it's my own business. But she's a woman. It's lucky for her she's sore at me. I stood her up last night.
Col. Mark Cagle: A thing like that just wets her appetite. She'll meet you at one o'clock at the Nationale.
Mike Kells: Don't you stop at nothing?
Col. Mark Cagle: She's an American isn't she? Let her do something for her country.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Remembers Lee Marvin (2000) See more »


Music by Lionel Newman
Played during the Bette Davis impersonation
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent fifties spy thriller
2 December 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a superb espionage film set early in the Cold War. Tyrone Power makes the perfect lead, because he always had that quality of looking innocent and puzzled in the trickiest of situations, inevitably summoning plenty of noble resolution while never looking worldly wise about it. In this story, he is a diplomatic courier working for the American State Department. It is his job to carry important diplomatic communications by hand from country to country. He carries them in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. He wears two watches at once, one for the time at home and one for the time of his destination. However, Power becomes embroiled in a fantastically complicated espionage affair and ends up being used as a pawn in a complex game of intrigue which few can understand. He become involved with two mysterious women, who may or may not be femmes fatale. One is Patricia Neal, who plays a wealthy American widow on the make. She comes across as too good to be true, and for a while we suspect her of overacting. But then her true nature comes out, and we discover how evil she really is. When she starts playing her character's true self, she is terrifying. The other mysterious woman is played by the German actress Hildegard Neff, a mysterious beauty who was at the peak of her American popularity at this time. The film also features Karl Malden in a supporting role, where he is particularly good and shows the promise of his career which was to come. Much of the film is shot in Trieste, which one of the characters describes as being a hotbed of spies of all kinds, like Lisbon during the War. This film has a great deal of postwar atmosphere and suspense and is only one notch down from the more brilliant works of Hitchcock and Carroll Reed. The director was Henry Hathaway, an old pro who could make the telephone book look interesting, The film is full of double agents, betrayal, duplicity, baffling situations, and murder. The film moves at quite a pace and is never dull for a moment. The availability of this classic now on DVD is a welcome addition to the finer cinematic portrayals of early Cold War paranoia and deception. It is interesting historically as well as cinematically, and we get to see a lot of location shots which evoke the era.

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