A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missle Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
Patsy Brand is a chorus girl at the Pleasure Garden music hall. She meets Jill Cheyne who is down on her luck and gets her a job as a dancer. Jill meets adventurer Hugh Fielding and they ... See full summary »
During the first world war, novelist Edgar Brodie is sent to Switzerland by the Intelligence Service. He has to kill a German agent. During the mission he meets a fake general first and then Elsa Carrington who helps him in his duty. Written by
Claudio Sandrini <email@example.com>
Alfred Hitchcock convinced John Gielgud to play the lead by describing the hero as a modern day Hamlet. Gielgud, however, ended up hating that his character was an enigma and felt Hitchcock made the villain more charming than the hero. See more »
When you first see the hotel bathroom, the toilet roll is held on its holder with the end hanging at the back of the toilet roll hanger. When 'The General', however, goes on a strop for not having a wife 'issued' to him, the toilet roll is hanging with the end on the front of the toilet roll holder. See more »
A super film with probably the ideal balance of Hitchcockian control and cast contribution. The story is told at a good, brisk pace, slowed only to incorporate the three to four exemplary tension-ratcheting sequences. There's also ingenious use of the camera: the pick of the aforementioned suspense set-pieces involves intercutting between two characters on the Alps and a hotel room. Hitchcock's manoeuvre to the eye piece of the Alpine telescope and thence to the climbers would tickle the David Fincher of Panic Room.
The acting is solid gold. A young, terse John Gielgud cannot fail to capture (Hitchcock blonde) Madeleine Carroll's heart. Opposite this requisite lovematch are Robert Young's Yank charmer Marvin (his character manages to give the picture much needed sveltesse and glamour) but above all the unique contribution of Peter Lorre. Everyone knows Lorre from Casablanca; here he is a much more rounded, entertaining but no less interesting character.
A half-fumbled ending is symptomatic of the trust placed by the cast in the 'process', so this as other bumpy moments can be put down to Hitchcock and, in their turn, to contemporaneous technical limitations. It's a great matinée. 7/10
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