» » Alfred Hitchcock Presents Safe Conduct (1955–1962)

Short summary

American journalist Mary Prescott is returning from a trip to a Communist state behind the Iron Curtain, traveling with a letter of safe conduct from that nation's President. Riding on the same train is Jan Gubak, captain of the country's soccer team and a national hero. Gubak visits the journalist in her compartment, asks her to dinner, and later persuades her to take a watch across the border for him, telling her that he plans to sell it to pay for an operation for his sister. She is then shocked when, at the border, Gubak himself reports her as a smuggler. She undergoes interrogation, while trying to determine whether there is anyone she can trust.

This is the first time that Werner Klemperer and John Banner appeared together, either in television or film.

Werner Klemperer and John Banner, European Jews from Germany and Austria, respectively; would later appear together in Hogan's Heroes (1965). Werner was the son of acclaimed composer-conductor Otto Klemperer and came from Köln, Germany. Johann Banner came from Vienna, Austria.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Arashilkis
    This episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" features a well-crafted story of intrigue and atmosphere. The Cold War setting is central to the story, and it would probably have given the show even more of an impact in its own era, but the quality of the writing and acting allow the suspense and mystery to hold up quite well, even though the tensions it depicts are now only a matter of history.

    The story has Claire Trevor as an American journalist, traveling in an unspecified Communist country, and meeting the nation's soccer hero on the train. They both become involved in a story of smuggling, interrogation, and suspicion, which features a number of nice twists and turns. Trevor and Jacques Bergerac are well-cast and give good performances, with Trevor as the forthright American and Bergerac as a patriot who must maintain a more dangerous balance between his position and his real feelings.

    A lot of little things add up to make it enjoyable to watch. The Communist officials are portrayed in a very human way, not as stereotypes. The childlike joy that some of the soldiers show while discussing soccer contrasts with their anxious efficiency in investigating the smuggling accusations that arise. The settings likewise are simple but effective, creating a believable atmosphere.

    The exposition scene is, perhaps of necessity, rather lengthy, but it is handled well by the stars. More importantly, the finale ties everything up neatly and in a way that lends some extra substance to the story as a whole.
  • comment
    • Author: Marinara
    This episode deals with that interesting feeling that one gets when traveling under the threat of a government that could arbitrarily detain or arrest someone. Will they accept your passport? Will they identify you as an undesirable? That's what happens here. As she travels in such a location, an American reporter finds herself at the mercy of some pretty scary characters. She is duped by a young soccer player and finds herself under arrest. She is strong, but she knows that she really has little power other than a lot of bluster. She also feels betrayed. This is cold war stuff with an element of spy drama. It builds suspense well and has a satisfying conclusion. Note that there is a contingent of "Hogan's Heroes" characters: John Banner (Sergeant Schultz) and a supposed researcher, Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink). This is a well done little fifties drama.
  • comment
    • Author: TheSuspect
    An entry that builds suspense based on Cold War themes. Journalist Trevor is returning to the West by train from high-level trip to Soviet bloc nation. On train she meets hunky soccer star Bergerac who convinces her to smuggle costly ring past border guards so he can use it to pay for sister's operation. His charm convinces her. But then, surprise, surprise, he exposes her effort to border guards. Now she's in big trouble. So what the heck's going on since he seemed so sincere.

    This is one of few series entries with a political subtext, and understandably so. After all, politics raises its own issues aside from suspense the series traded on. Fortunately, the communist officials are portrayed as recognizably human, an unusual event for the deep Cold War year 1956. That way their humanized presence contributes to the suspense instead of competing.

    I love that sequence when Bergerac suddenly asks whether he can buy some of Trevor's underwear. It's dropped in so abruptly, we're as startled as Trevor. Something of a Rock Hudson look-alike, I'm surprised Bergerac didn't score more in Hollywood. Anyway, it's quite a suspenseful episode with a somewhat satisfying upshot.
  • comment
    • Author: Skunk Black
    ***SPOILERS*** Leavng this unnamed Eastern European Communist Dictatorship where she had an exclusive interview with its president for life American news reporter Mary Prscott, Claire Trevor, is approached by the nation's star succor player Jan Gubak, Jacques Bergerac, for a favor she can do for him. Gubak wants Mary to sneak into West Germany and sell this old and expensive family watch, stuttered with gold and diamonds, to use the cash to pay for his sister's operation in Munich.

    Being the kind hearted and understanding woman that she is Mary puts the watch under her own Jewlry in order to get it passed through border inspections. Wouldn't you know it it's Gubak himself who rats out Mary for trying to help his kid sister in getting a life saving operation in West Germany! Well as you can expect there's a lot more here then meets the eye in this "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" episode. And what there is has to do with the paranoia in the Communist country in anyone exposing it for the totally incompetent regime that it is. Which Mary without her knowing it is making that happen.

    ***SPOILERS*** Terrific ending sequence that shows us how the Communists own suspicions in the end worked against them. In this case suspecting Mary of sneaking jewelry out of the country that in fact was only a distraction in what she as well as soccer star Gubak were really attempting and in the end succeeding in doing! We have here future Hogan Hero's stars Werner Kelemperer & John Banner who clicked together so well in this "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" episode that they were reunited five years later in the movie "Operation Eichmann". In it Klemperer plays the Nazi grand architect of what was called the "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question Col. Adolph Eichmann and Banner as Eichmann's right hand man Rudolf Hoss the Commandant of the notorious Auschwitz Concentration Camp!
  • comment
    • Author: Hbr
    A Hitchcock take on the theme of the Cold War which opposed the two main military blocks of post—war world, Cold War thriller as well as 'mystery on a train', SAFE CONDUCT's main attraction and interest is a Hitchcockian blonde—Claire Trevor, whom you should now from '50s movies. I find Mrs. Trevor to be a _hottie, and this episode is normative Trevor footage. Hitchcock knew how to film his pretty blonds. Directed by Justus Addiss, played by Claire Trevor, Jacques Bergerac, Werner Klemperer, this espionage story is set in a central European Slavic country under Bolshevism and it details a bit the interplay of an American hot blonde and a Slavic soccer player; there's a piquant scene when the soccer player asks the disconcerted blonde to sell him her underwear. Anyway, the fetishist note is washed away by the sportsman's avowal that he needs the blonde's underwear to offer to his sister. So, less daring than one would have hoped.

    The blonde is a respected journalist who has just visited the Bolshevik Slavic country. She meets disturbing people on the train—e.g., a scientist.

    It begins with Hitchcock playing pool.
  • comment
    • Author: Granigrinn
    Claire Trevor is central to this story of smuggling, anti-communist underground, and intrigue. Trevor, now beyond the days of co-starring with John Wayne in Stage Coach & Dark Command, holds up well as a woman tricked by continental revolutionist.

    A large support cast includes some later television sit com stars but Jacques the French actor stands out in the deception. Trevor for her part does a fine acting job in her reactions to being duped by him.

    In the end, she is still talented enough to make the audience believe she can romance Jacques at the end of it all even after he deceived her by turning her into the authorities.

    Overall a very good episode.
  • Episode complete credited cast:
    Alfred Hitchcock Alfred Hitchcock - Himself - Host
    Claire Trevor Claire Trevor - Mary Prescott
    Jacques Bergerac Jacques Bergerac - Jan Gubak
    Werner Klemperer Werner Klemperer - Professor / Captain Greisham
    Peter van Eyck Peter van Eyck - Officer (as Peter Van Eyck)
    John Banner John Banner - Train Conductor
    Konstantin Shayne Konstantin Shayne - Customs Officer
    Ralph Manza Ralph Manza - Waiter
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