Assignment--Paris (1952)

80 or 84 mins | Drama | October 1952

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HISTORY

The film's working title was European Edition . Information in the SAB indicates that Assignment--Paris was a joint production between France, Italy and the United States. As noted in reviews, the film was shot on location in Paris and Budapest, but Italian location shooting could not be confirmed. According to news items in HR and Var , in a Sep 1952 television interview, Dana Andrews stated that location shooting in Paris was interrupted by would-be saboteurs who, the actor believed, were Communists intent on preventing ... More Less

The film's working title was European Edition . Information in the SAB indicates that Assignment--Paris was a joint production between France, Italy and the United States. As noted in reviews, the film was shot on location in Paris and Budapest, but Italian location shooting could not be confirmed. According to news items in HR and Var , in a Sep 1952 television interview, Dana Andrews stated that location shooting in Paris was interrupted by would-be saboteurs who, the actor believed, were Communists intent on preventing filming. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Sep 1952.
---
Daily Variety
3 Sep 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Sep 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 52
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 52
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Sep 52
p. 1525.
New York Times
25 Oct 52
p. 12.
Variety
10 Sep 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Trial by Terror" by Paul Gallico in the The Saturday Evening Post (28 Apr--26 May 1951).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
European Edition
Release Date:
October 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 October 1952
Production Date:
mid February--early March 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 September 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1890
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 84
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15620
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the Paris office of the New York Herald-Tribune , editor-in-chief Nick Strang receives a heavily censored story about the verdict in an important spy trial involving an American named Anderson, which has been telephoned in from the paper's Budapest correspondent, Barker. Fashion editor Sandy Tate is surprised when Nick then assigns journalist and former resistance fighter Jeanne Moray, on assignment for the past two months in Hungary, to interview the Hungarian ambassador. Unknown to Sandy, Nick has ordered Jeanne to return from Budapest and Jeanne receives her new assignment as she arrives at the Paris airport. A Hungarian agent clandestinely follows Jeanne to the embassy, where all the reporters' requests to interview the ambassador are refused. Jeanne reports back to Nick, disappointed that he summoned her from Hungary before she was able to finish an investigation into a secret meeting between Hungarian Prime Minister Andreas Ordy and Yugoslavia's President Tito. Jeanne admits she has no proof of the meeting, which dampens Nick's interest. Later, the paper's top reporter, American Jimmy Race, arrives from the Hungarian embassy, announcing that he gained access to the Hungarian ambassador and Anderson's wife. Afterward, Jimmy asks Sandy about Jeanne and she cautions him that Nick is interested in her. Jimmy asks Jeanne out nevertheless, but she refuses. The following day, Nick and the American ambassador listen to Ordy's radio announcement about Anderson's stiff sentence and a warning that the next American spy captured will be hanged. That evening, Jeanne agrees to have dinner with Jimmy, and she reveals the details of her investigation, adding that she was close to securing a ... +


At the Paris office of the New York Herald-Tribune , editor-in-chief Nick Strang receives a heavily censored story about the verdict in an important spy trial involving an American named Anderson, which has been telephoned in from the paper's Budapest correspondent, Barker. Fashion editor Sandy Tate is surprised when Nick then assigns journalist and former resistance fighter Jeanne Moray, on assignment for the past two months in Hungary, to interview the Hungarian ambassador. Unknown to Sandy, Nick has ordered Jeanne to return from Budapest and Jeanne receives her new assignment as she arrives at the Paris airport. A Hungarian agent clandestinely follows Jeanne to the embassy, where all the reporters' requests to interview the ambassador are refused. Jeanne reports back to Nick, disappointed that he summoned her from Hungary before she was able to finish an investigation into a secret meeting between Hungarian Prime Minister Andreas Ordy and Yugoslavia's President Tito. Jeanne admits she has no proof of the meeting, which dampens Nick's interest. Later, the paper's top reporter, American Jimmy Race, arrives from the Hungarian embassy, announcing that he gained access to the Hungarian ambassador and Anderson's wife. Afterward, Jimmy asks Sandy about Jeanne and she cautions him that Nick is interested in her. Jimmy asks Jeanne out nevertheless, but she refuses. The following day, Nick and the American ambassador listen to Ordy's radio announcement about Anderson's stiff sentence and a warning that the next American spy captured will be hanged. That evening, Jeanne agrees to have dinner with Jimmy, and she reveals the details of her investigation, adding that she was close to securing a photo of the Ordy-Tito meeting. Jeanne and Jimmy are observed by Anton Borvitch, a high-ranking Hungarian official, who later telephones Ordy to report that his spies have confirmed that Jeanne brought back no critical information from Budapest. Ordy informs Borvitch that Gabor Chechi, an escaped Hungarian national assumed to have been assassinated, remains alive somewhere in France. When Ordy suggets that Jeanne, with her underground contacts, may have information on Chechi's whereabouts, Borvitch assigns two agents to keep Jeanne under constant surveillance. The following day Nick learns that Barker has had a heart attack and appoints Jimmy as his replacement. After Jimmy arrives in Budapest, he is trailed relentlessly by government agents, and Minister Vajos denies the reporter's request to see Anderson. To his frustration, Jimmy's first telephoned report comes under the usual heavy censorship. Later, a stranger comes to Jimmy's apartment asking for Barker, but refuses to give any further information. After Jimmy's first few reports, Vajos summons him to complain about the unscripted, personal remarks directed toward Jeanne that Jimmy insists on making at the end of each report. Jimmy says he will consider stopping the remarks if the surveillance of him is dropped, but Vajos feigns ignorance. A few nights later, the man who was asking after Barker returns to see Jimmy and leaves him a business card indicating that Anderson is dead. Jimmy's next report to the paper covers an innocuous topic, but secretly reveals Anderson's death. Vajos allows Jimmy to visit Barker, who reveals that he is returning to Paris and sends Jimmy to a tailor, Laslo Boros, to drop off a suit. Later, after retrieving the suit, Jimmy's cab is involved in a minor traffic accident and the suit is stolen. Upon returning to his room, however, Jimmy finds another suit in his closet, and upon close examination, discovers sewn into the lining a photo negative showing Ordy with Tito. Jimmy visits Barker again and slips the negative into Barker's passport. Vajos and several security men then arrive to arrest Jimmy, demanding to know why he took a suit to Boros. On the plane back to Paris, Barker dies, purportedly of another heart attack, and his effects are turned over to Nick, who is determined to get Jimmy out of Hungary safely. In Budapest, meanwhile, Ordy questions Jimmy, taping the interview and editing Jimmy's remarks to make it appear that he is confessing to espionage. The tape is broadcast over Hungarian radio, infuriating Nick. Jimmy is continually tortured to reveal information about Chechi and other spy matters. Back in Paris, an anxious Jeanne fumbles with Barker's passport and accidentally discovers the negative, which Nick plans to use to trade for Jimmy. When Borvitch is presented with a photo from the negative, however, he remains unconcerned, and Jeanne realizes she must prove the photo was taken after the split between Tito and Soviet leader Stalin. At the Herald-Tribune offices, Jeanne breaks down in the filing room upon learning that Jimmy will go on trial in two days. A filing clerk, Grischa, tells her he can provide the crucial information she needs and sends Jeanne to his apartment. The Hungarian agents follow her there and intervene just after Grischa's daughter gives Jeanne papers confirming the date and place of the Ordy-Tito meeting. The agents inform Jeanne that Grischa's real identity is Chechi and that as Ordy's former aide, he is in possession of dangerous information. The agents force Jeanne to summon Grischa to the apartment, but when the agents attempt to smuggle Grischa away, a police cordon hinders them. Exhausted from evading the Hungarian secret police for two years, Grischa volunteers to return to Hungary in exchange for Jimmy's freedom, if his children can be taken to America. Nick and Ordy agree, and the exchange takes place at a neutral border crossing, where a dazed Jimmy is welcomed by Nick, Jeanne and Sandy. As Ordy meets Grischa, Nick warns him that should anything happen to Grischa, the Herald-Tribune will print the story of the meeting with Tito. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.