Sleeping Car to Trieste

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Sleeping Car to Trieste
Sleeping Car to Trieste FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by John Paddy Carstairs
Written by Allan MacKinnon
Story by Clifford Grey
Produced by George H. Brown
Starring Jean Kent
Albert Lieven
Derrick De Marney
Paul Dupuis
Rona Anderson
David Tomlinson
Cinematography Jack Hildyard
Edited bySidney Stone
Music by Benjamin Frankel
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Eagle-Lion Films (US)
Release date
  • 6 October 1948 (1948-10-06)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Sleeping Car to Trieste is a 1948 British comedy thriller film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring Jean Kent, Albert Lieven, Derrick De Marney and Rona Anderson. It was shot at Denham Studios outside London. The film's sets were designed by the art director Ralph Brinton. It is a remake of the 1932 film Rome Express .



The setting is almost entirely on a train travelling between Paris and Trieste after World War II. Two rather mysterious people, Zurta (Albert Lieven) and Valya (Jean Kent), are at ease in sophisticated society. Zurta steals a diary from the safe of an embassy in Paris while they are guests at a reception there, killing a servant who walks in on the robbery. Poole, an accomplice, is passed the diary, but he double-crosses them and attempts to escape with it on the Orient Express. Just in time, Valya and Zurta board the train.

They start looking for Poole, who seeks to conceal himself and the diary. Other travellers become involved, including a US Army sergeant with an eye for the ladies, an adulterous couple, an idiot stockbroker, a wealthy, autocratic writer and his brow-beaten secretary, an ornithologist, and a French police inspector. Staff and other passengers provide light-hearted scenes. The diary passes through the hands of several people while the police investigate a mysterious death.



The film was originally known as Sleeping Car to Vienna. [1]

Rona Anderson made her film debut. [2] "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." [3]

It was the one movie Albert Lieven made while under contract to Rank for five years. [4]

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?" [5]


The film proved more popular in the US than most British films, enjoying a long run in New York. [6]

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." [7]

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  1. "Lockwood happy in new role". The Sun . No. 2359. New South Wales, Australia. 27 June 1948. p. 31 (STUMPS). Retrieved 28 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  2. "Film Stars in Britain". Western Mail . Perth. 22 July 1948. p. 15. Retrieved 20 April 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  3. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema by the Actors and Filmmakers Who Made It, Methuen 1997 p. 17
  4. "IDLE STAR GETS ROLE AT LAST". The Sun . No. 2491. Sydney. 14 January 1951. p. 38. Retrieved 28 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema by the Actors and Filmmakers Who Made It, Methuen 1997 p. 340
  6. "Mary Armitages: FILM CLOSE-UPS". The Mail . Adelaide. 27 August 1949. p. 2 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO "THE MAIL.". Retrieved 20 April 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. 9 July 2021.