powered by AFI
In 1943 during World War II, Swedish industrialist Olaf Lindquist attends a secret meeting in Stockholm led by the mysterious Victor Danemore. Years later in the mid-1950s, Danemore dies of an apparent heart attack in his palatial villa in the French Riviera. He is discovered moments later by his American press agent, Dave Bishop, who informs Danemore's young, dispassionate wife Dominique. Dave is approached at the funeral by a British tourist named Pierre Sandoz, whom he met while purchasing Danemore's airline tickets to Vienna. Sandoz repeats a question that Dominique also asked: Did Danemore say anything before he died? Dave is surprised by the stranger's interest and confirms that Danemore said nothing. Afterward the medical examiner, Thibault, who also asks about Danemore's dying words, gives Dave a letter from Viennese lawyer Karl Mannheim, who wants written verification of the cause of Danemore's death. Dave returns to the villa, where insurance representative Jonathan Spring is waiting. After Spring confirms the nature of Danemore's death, he is the fourth person to ask about Danemore's last words. Dave learns from Dominique that Danemore had no insurance because he did not want anyone to have personal information about him. Dominique explains that she married Danemore to provide a respectable appearance for him, and consequently knew little about her husband's true identity. Dominique, who is attracted to Dave, now plans to go to Paris and asks Dave to join her. Although Dave returns her affection, he is curious about Danemore's true identity, and instead arranges to meet Mannheim, who has a sealed envelope he was instructed to open only if Danemore died of unnatural causes. Dave is met in Vienna, which Danemore visited a few times a year, by his friend, reporter Tony Forrest, who helps him gain access to Danemore's immigration file. That evening, Dave goes to the address listed in Danemore's file, which is in a slum, and encounters the elderly, blind housekeeper. She tells Dave that Danemore held meetings there three times a year, but she can only remember the name of one guest, Lindquist. Dave returns to his hotel and is approached in the café by Spring, who reveals that he is actually working for a prominent person, and has been instructed to follow Dave. The avaricious Spring suggests that Danemore was a blackmailer, and offers to join forces with Dave so that they both can find what they are seeking. Dave rejects his offer and confirms his appointment with Mannheim by telephone. Moments later, Dominique visits Mannheim and asks to see what is inside Danemore's envelope. Mannheim refuses, but agrees to prove that the seal is intact, and withdraws the file from his safe. By the time that Dave arrives at Mannheim's, his dead body is lying on the floor, and the cleaning woman and several others believe Dave is the killer. Dave runs from the building and is chased by police, but Spring, who has been following him, purposely misdirects them. Unaware that Dominique is also following him, Dave poses as Danemore's biographer and visits Lindquist's home in Stockholm, where he meets Lindquist's daughter Brita. She and Dave are immediately attracted to each other, and she reveals that her father died five years earlier. Brita invites him to their summer home on an island, where Dave meets her mother, who claims to know nothing about Danemore. However, she reveals that Lindquist was a philanthropist and industrialist and traveled to Vienna once a year. As the return ferry to the city is canceled due to fog, Dave spends the night at the Lindquist home, and his romance with Brita deepens. Upon returning to his Stockholm hotel the next day, Dave finds Spring waiting for him with orders to kill him because he contacted the Lindquists. When Spring offers to let Dave live if he agrees to cooperate with him, Dave refuses and Spring draws his gun, prompting Dave to react quickly and knocks him unconscious. Meanwhile, Dominique, who was fully aware of her husband's blackmail operation, visits the Lindquists and claims that Dave is a ruthless blackmailer who is attempting to take over Danemore's business. Mrs. Lindquist admits that Danemore was blackmailing her husband, who was not a philanthropist, but a traitor whose death was caused by suicide. After Spring revives, he tells Dave that Tony has sent a cable saying he has learned more and requests that Dave return to Vienna. Dave then consents to join forces with Spring in reviving the blackmail scheme, and cancels lunch plans with Brita, who is relieved she does not have to confront him. When Dominique learns that Dave has cancelled his lunch date, she fears that he has discovered the names of the men who were blackmailed by her husband, and decides to offer him the same kind of partnership she had with Danemore. Dominique leaves, and Brita tries to contact Dave, but her mother disconnects the phone and locks her in a room. After arriving in Vienna, Spring arranges to meet Dave later. Dave is surprised when he is met by Sandoz, who forged the cable from Tony. Sandoz reveals he is actually a British counter-intelligence agent, and takes Dave to a remote location where he meets American intelligence agent Smith, Swedish government agent Jones, and Brown, from the British government. Dave learns that they have been following him since his first meeting with Sandoz, and that Danemore was one of several prominent men who secretly contracted with Adolf Hitler in 1938 to aid Hitler's government after he invaded their countries. Following Germany's defeat, the identities of four of the men remained unknown. Danemore, a Russian whose name was a pseudonym, knew who they were and blackmailed them to keep their identities secret. However, Lindquist was identified after his suicide, and the agents believe that Spring was hired by the English traitor to protect his identity. Although the agents warn Dave that Spring is a dangerous spy, he agrees to help them by working with Spring, who plans to blackmail his employer. Dave is accosted and beaten by some thugs while walking back to his hotel, and is brought to a basement where Jones tries to bribe Dave into giving him any information first. Dave pretends to agree to the arrangement, but then knocks out one of the thugs and shoots Jones, then calls an emergency number to summon the other agents. However, Jones is unharmed and Dave discovers that this was only a test of his loyalty. Having passed the test, Dave arranges to meet Spring alone at a deserted square later in the evening. Dave is surprised when Brita, who has defied her mother to fly to Vienna, meets him at his hotel to warn him about Dominique. Dave assures Brita that although his original intentions were blackmail, he has had a change of heart, and he urges her to leave for her own safety. Dominique arrives moments later, and outside the hotel, Brita overhears Dave reject Dominique's offer. Both women independently follow Dave to the square, where Dominique admits to killing Mannheim and stealing the document that lists the four traitors. As Dominique holds Dave and Brita at gunpoint and demands that Dave abandon Spring and work with her, she is overpowered and silenced by Sandoz and the other agents. Dave then meets Spring in an alley nearby, and Sandoz explains to Brita that by partnering with Spring, Dave will soon unmask the other traitors.