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5 Fingers

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Genre  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Country  United States
7.8/10 IMDb

Director  Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Language  English
5 Fingers movie poster
Release date  February 22, 1952 (1952-02-22)
Based on  Der fall Cicero 1949 novel  by L.C. Moyzisch
Writer  Michael Wilson (screenplay), L.C. Moyzisch (book)
Cast  James Mason (Ulysses Diello), Michael Rennie (Colin Travers), Walter Hampden (Sir Frederic Taylor), Oskar Karlweis (L. C. Moyzisch), Herbert Berghof (Col. von Richter), John Wengraf (Count Franz Von Papen)
Similar movies  Fury, Terminator Salvation, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Now You See Me, Mission: Impossible III

5 Fingers, known also as Five Fingers, is a 1952 American spy film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Otto Lang. The screenplay by Michael Wilson was based on the book Operation Cicero (Original German: Der Fall Cicero) (1950) by Ludwig Carl Moyzisch, Nazi commercial attaché at the German Embassy in Ankara (1943-44). In the film, James Mason plays Ulysses Diello (Cicero), the character based on Elyesa Bazna. The rest of the cast includes Danielle Darrieux, Michael Rennie, Herbert Berghof and Walter Hampden.


5 Fingers movie scenes

The film is based on the true story of Albanian-born Bazna, one of the most famous spies of World War II. He worked for the Nazis in 1943–44 while he was employed as valet to the British ambassador to Turkey, Sir Hughe Montgomery Knatchbull-Hugessen. He used the code name Cicero. He would photograph top-secret documents and turn the films over to Franz von Papen, the former German chancellor, at that time German ambassador in Ankara, via the intermediary Moyzisch.

5 Fingers movie scenes

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Plot summary

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In neutral Turkey in 1944, German ambassador Franz von Papen (John Wengraf) and his British counterpart Sir Frederic Taylor (Walter Hampden) attend a reception and encounter Countess Anna Staviska (Danielle Darrieux), who is a Frenchwoman and the widow of a Polish count. Now destitute, the countess volunteers to become a spy for a fee, but she is turned down.

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A man approaches a German embassy attaché, Moyzisch (Oskar Karlweis), offering to provide von Papen with top-secret British documents for a price: 20,000 British pounds. What is not yet known by the Germans is that the man, Diello (James Mason), is the personal valet to Sir Frederic as well as the former valet of the late count.

The documents taken from Sir Frederic's safe and photographed prove genuine. Diello is given the code name "Cicero" and asked to continue his subterfuge. Diello gives his money to Anna for safekeeping and pays her a portion of it, provided he be allowed to use her new villa as a meeting place for his transactions. When the valet also tells Anna his dream of living in South America together, she slaps his face. But she agrees to his conditions.

Moyzisch is summoned to Berlin by military officers suspicious of Cicero's true intent. Allied bombing of a Romanian oil refinery is carried out, exactly as Cicero's photographed documents had outlined. Colonel Von Richter (Herbert Berghof) is sent to Ankara to take over the negotiations with Cicero, while the British send a counter-intelligence man, Colin Travers (Michael Rennie), to identify the spy.

Anna's newfound wealth and previous willingness to become a spy cause her to fall under suspicion from Travers, who also rigs the ambassador's safe with a burglar alarm. Von Richter requests a document detailing an Allied operation called "Overlord." It is the D-Day invasion plan and Cicero wants 40,000 pounds for it.

Diello realizes that he could soon be killed by one side or captured by the other. He decides to leave for South America, only to discover that Anna has stolen all of his money and departed to Switzerland instead. A letter arrives from her to Sir Frederic that identifies his valet as the spy being paid by the Germans. Diello breaks into the safe and photographs the D-Day plans, and intercepts the letter, but when returning the plans to the safe, he sets off the alarm and must flee.

He now knows for certain how Anna feels toward him. Broke and on the run, Diello demands a 100,000-pound payment from the Germans for the photographs of the D-Day plans. He receives it, then manages to avoid getting killed or captured. A second malicious letter from Anna to the Germans misinforms them that the valet is a British spy, whereupon they dispose of the D-Day information as unreliable.

Diello escapes alone to Rio, where he is shown enjoying a new life of prosperity and freedom. Or at least he is until Brazilian authorities arrive to take him into custody because all his money is counterfeit (from Operation Bernhard). Anna's money in Switzerland, he finds out, is fake as well, which offers him consolation in his new, dark circumstances.


  • James Mason as Ulysses Diello / Cicero (Elyesa Bazna)
  • Danielle Darrieux as Countess Anna Staviska
  • Michael Rennie as Colin Travers
  • Walter Hampden as Sir Frederic Taylor
  • Oskar Karlweis as Moyzisch
  • Herbert Berghof as Colonel von Richter
  • John Wengraf as Count Franz von Papen
  • Ben Astar as Siebert
  • Roger Plowden as McFadden
  • Awards

    The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Director for Mankiewicz and Best Screenplay for Wilson. Mankiewicz was also nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures by the Directors Guild of America and Wilson was nominated for Best Written American Drama by the Writers Guild of America. He won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and the Edgar Award for Best Mystery Screenplay.


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