Sleeping Car to Trieste

Sleeping Car to Trieste
Directed by John Paddy Carstairs
Produced by George H. Brown
Written by Allan MacKinnon
Based on story by Clifford Grey
Starring Jean Kent
Albert Lieven
Derrick De Marney
Paul Dupuis
Rona Anderson
David Tomlinson
Music by Benjamin Frankel
Cinematography Jack Hildyard
Edited by Sidney Stone
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Eagle-Lion Classics (USA)
J. Arthur Rank Film (UK)
Release dates
  • 6 October 1948 (1948-10-06)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Sleeping Car to Trieste is a 1948 British film directed by John Paddy Carstairs. The film is a remake of the 1932 film Rome Express, with essentially the same characters and many of the same actors.


The film takes place almost entirely on a train travelling between Paris and Trieste in post-war Europe. Albert Lieven and Jean Kent play two somewhat mysterious people, at ease in sophisticated society. On Valya's behalf, Zurta steals a diary from an unnamed embassy in Paris, but in doing so, is forced to kill an embassy guard. Poole, an accomplice of theirs, is passed the diary, but he double-crosses the other two and attempts to escape with it on the Orient Express. Just in time, Valya and Zurta also board the train.

They are soon involved with not only tracking down Poole (who is hiding in a train compartment and desperately trying to avoid being moved by the train staff) but with several other travellers, including a U.S. Army sergeant with an eye for the ladies, an adulterous couple, an idiot stockbroker, a wealthy, autocratic writer and his brow-beaten secretary/valet, a bird watcher, a French police inspector, and the train's chef, who is forced to listen to a self-styled cooking 'expert' from England.

The diary is discovered by accident and passes through the hands of several people on the train, but when Zurta kills Poole, he is eventually confronted by the police inspector. In an attempt to escape, he leaps from the train, but is hit (and presumably killed) by a train travelling in the opposite direction. The diary is presumed to be lost with him.



Rona Anderson made her film debut.[1] "I did enjoy doing it," said Anderson. "It was a film full of nice little cameo performances.... Paddy Carstairs had a good way of relaxing you and I think he had a very good way with actors generally."[2]

However Jean Kent later stated she "didn't like" the film "and didn't get on very well" with Carstairs. "You never knew where you were with him... I don't remember enjoying it. I had silly clothes. I wanted to be very French in plain black and a little beret but I had to wear these silly New Look clothes. I was playing a superspy of some kind. But who was I spying for?"[3]


The film proved more popular in the US than most British films, enjoying a long run in New York.[4]

The New York Times wrote, "not without its trying moments, but on the whole it is a mighty interesting ride...The director John Paddy Carstairs shrewdly maneuvers the pursuers and the hunted about the train in a natural and credible manner so that the possibility of an imminent meeting creates a good deal of tension...None of the principals is too familiar to audiences here, and at times dialogue is lost in some of the players' throats, but the performances are generally satisfying."[5]


  1. "Film Stars in Britain.". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 22 July 1948. p. 15. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  2. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema by the Actors and Filmmakers Who Made It, Methuen 1997 p 17
  3. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema by the Actors and Filmmakers Who Made It, Methuen 1997 p 340
  4. "Mary Armitages: FILM CLOSE-UPS.". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 27 August 1949. p. 2 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO "THE MAIL.". Retrieved 20 April 2014.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/2/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.