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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Joseph M. Newman
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Near the opening, we see the switchboard in the state department, with labels over the various patch-cord inputs. One of them is labeled "MANILLA" rather than "Manila." See more »
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.
Don't you stop at nothing?
Col. Mark Cagle:
She's an American isn't she? Let her do something for her country.
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As my summary suggests, I was taken aback by H. Neff's moving portrayal as the double agent in post-war Trieste. No gussied-up over emoting from her, just honest, gut-wrenching outpouring of uncontrived emotion delivered with articulation and intensity. When watching her explain herself to Mr. Power and others, I actually felt she must have been an agent in real life at some point. Those tears she shed while she delivered her rationale for her actions were the genuine type, not some Hollywood "tear-squirting" job. Why she never became a more sought-after actor, I'll never know. Maybe she was a little too deep and maybe too foreign for the superficially driven 1950's Hollywood system. Also impressive was Patricia Neal's interpretation of her femme fatale role.
Also, I'll take exception to those who criticized T. Power's role. As I see it, he excelled in his performance as a world-weary, cynical Cold War courier. What do people expect? A rerun as a younger, pseudo-swashbuckling Caribbean pirate? I for one am glad he took a less glamorous and more substantive role such as this.
On a somewhat sentimental note, it was nice to see some cameo-ish work from Lee Marvin, Michael Ansara and Chuck Buchinski (Bronson!) before their careers took off in the ensuing years. It made the film more fun to watch!
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