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  1. #1
    Junior Member Country: Australia
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    For longer than I care to remember (or admit) I have been trying to discover the name of the 1940s (or possibly 1950s) British spy film
    in which the above quote "How is Celeste?" was used as a code-phrase between a British spy and his contact in continental Europe.

    I know it shouldn't, but if frustrates me no end, that I haven't been able to find out the name of this movie.

    I'd be eternally grateful if there is a film buff out there who could put my poor mind to rest.

    Many thanks,

    Colin
    (Melbourne, Australia)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Australia wadsy's Avatar
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    It's probably nothing to do with your enquiry but I did read that the quote "How is Celeste" was the code name for

    an alleged assassination plot on the one time U.N Secretary General Dag Hammerskjold! Strange!!

  3. #3
    Junior Member Country: Australia
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    Thanks for that Wadsy. Yeah, I've googled the phrase many times over an extended period of time and the reference you've mentioned is the only hit I've had. Whilst the Hammarskjold story has piqued my interest and made me more determined to identify the movie I'm interesting in re-watching.

    Hammarskjold was the Secretary-General of the UN from the late 50s until his death in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia in 1961. Documents unearthed by the South African Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in 1997 and viewed and discussed publicly by Archbishop Desmond Tutu comment on Hammarskjold's work at the UN and state in part, "Dag is becoming troublesome... and must be removed". There appears to be no doubt that documents discussing an operation to assassinate Hammarskjold exist. The question is, whether they are genuine communication between the CIA and MI5 or, the alternative theory, that they represent mis-information created by the Soviets to discredit the West. The documents refer to the plan to dispose of Hammarskjeld as "Operation Celeste" and instruct the British agent to identify his CIA contact by using the question "How is Celeste?" The correct response from his contact was "She's recovering nicely apart from the cough". These are the exact same codeword and response used in the movie. However one looks at it, the circumstances surrounding Dag's demise are dripping with intrigue worthy of Le Carre himself, (http://www.ctka.net/pr399-congo.html is just one site for those interested in exploring this saga in greater depth) but what amazes me more than anything is that in 1961 (the year of the plane crash in which Hammarskjeld was killed) real-life spooks of either the Russian, American or British persuasion used the codewords from a 1940s or 1950s British spy movie.

    The search continues and just to up the ante, anyone who can shed some light on the movie will be eligible for a nice cold beer the next time they're passing through Melbourne. Damn it, I'll even break out my finest single malt.

    Appreciate your input Wadsy,

    Cheers,

    Colin
    Last edited by colinthomson; 19-08-13 at 04:47 PM. Reason: Text missing from earlier attempt.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Australia wadsy's Avatar
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    That's OK Colin. I'll keep searching as Melbourne is not that far away!!

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