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Noel Field

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Visions du Réel Nyon 1996

Noel Field

CH 1997 105'

Regie: Werner Swiss Schweizer
Drehbuch: Werner Swiss Schweizer, René A. Zumbühl, Thomas Grimm, Kathrin Plüss, Susi Koltai
Kamera: Helena Vagnières, Thomas Hartmann
Ton: Martin Witz
Schnitt: Kathrin Plüss
Produktion: Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion AG

Dschoint Ventschr NOEL FIELD

ISAN: 0000-0000-CE2B-0000-I-0000-0000-K

Werner Swiss Schweizer 1997 105'

The American Noel Field was a key figure of the show trials of Eastern Europe. He himself was imprisoned without trial from 1949 to 1955, but remained in the East after his release. Why? The mystery of Noel Field.

The time: the early 1950s. The place: the socialist countries of Eastern Europe. The connection: Switzerland, Germany. – The staging of the show trials of the 1950s was an opportunity for Stalin to display his power. Intellectuals and Communists critical of the system were brought to trial and sentenced, in order to remove any possible threat to the Stalinist order. Many were condemned to death. The major accusation: spying for the American secret services. The major “proof”: any connection with Noel Field, the alleged American secret agent.

The charges were completely unfounded, the evidence based on a different set of facts. The accused actually had met Field: during wartime, in connection with their emigration from Fascist-occupied countries. Field, as American head of the Unitarian Service Committee, organised such emigrations, mainly to Switzerland.

Noël Field, his wife and his brother were also arrested in Hungary and imprisoned without charge. After 5 years they were suddenly released and declared innocent. Paradoxically, Field and his wife applied for political asylum in Hungary. Rumours began that the “Field Affair” had been organised by the American secret service. – But who was Field really: a naïve humanitarian who accidentally fell into the CIA's trap, or really a double agent?

With Erika Wallach-Glaser, Hermann H. Field, Tonia Lechtmann, Rosa Demeter, Ivan Földi, Janos Bobo, Elsi Kende-Haus, Dorothea B. Jones, Arthur Schlesinger jr., Vladimir Farkas, Maria Schmidt, Andreas Hegedüs, György Aczel, Jenny Humbert-Droz.

“What Schweizer uncovered in archives and through interviews has the quality of a political thriller.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung