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Espionage Agent (1939)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  30 September 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 174 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

When Barry Corvall discovers that his new bride is a possible enemy agent, he resigns from the diplomatic service to go undercover to route out an espionage ring planning to destroy ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Corvall
Brenda Ballard
Jeffrey Lynn ...
Lowell Warrington
Dudley Garrett
Stanley Ridges ...
Hamilton Peyton
Dr. Rader
Howard C. Hickman ...
Walter Forbes (as Howard Hickman)
Karl Mullen
Nana Bryant ...
Mrs. Corvall
Rudolph Anders ...
Paul Strawn (as Robert O. Davis)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ...
Dr. Helm (as Hans Von Twardowski)
Lucien Prival ...
Addison Richards ...
Bruce Corvall
Edwin Stanley ...
Secretary of State
Granville Bates ...
Phineas T. O'Grady


When Barry Corvall discovers that his new bride is a possible enemy agent, he resigns from the diplomatic service to go undercover to route out an espionage ring planning to destroy American industrial capability. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agent double  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names, if any): Lloyd Ingraham (Woodrow Wilson), Alex Melesh (Headwaiter), Eddie Acuff (Taxi driver) and Mary Forbes. See more »


Martin Kosleck is credited onscreen as Karl Mullen and shows a business card by that name, but he is consistently called Müller in the film. See more »


Referenced in Shining Through (1992) See more »


I'll Sing You a Thousand Love Songs
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Dance music played after the marriage announcement
See more »

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User Reviews

A lesson for our times
12 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In these days, when many are more concerned about the rights of terrorists than the security of our country, a simple old movie like ESPIONAGE AGENT reminds us that no country can afford to relax its vigilance against terrorists within its borders.

Joel McCrea, on the verge of making one of the best WW2 spy pictures of all (Hitchcock's FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, 1940), plays a likable US diplomat who makes the mistake of falling for a woman with a shady past. Orphaned in Europe, his wife Brenda was recruited by German spies, and now that she's married into the diplomatic corps, her handlers want her to use her connections for further infiltration. The two lovers decide to play their own double game to bring down the Germans.

There's nothing extraordinary about the film. It's simply done, with solid acting and a taut script with no wasted scenes (and no money wasted on actual location shoots). What makes it seem so special is its timing: being released just as WW2 openly broke out in Europe, and the danger of spies became more of a real threat to free countries everywhere. There's also a nice balance between the spy plot, the romance plot, and some humorous bits involving annoying American tourists.

Just like today's terrorists, the German saboteurs operate under a neutral-sounding front: the WORLD PEACE ORGANIZATION. Early in the picture, discussing the government's reluctance to do something about saboteurs, a high-ranking US official asks a question that rings true here in the post-9/11 world: "Will we as a nation ever learn the difference between tolerance and stupidity?"

Trivia bit: keep your eyes open for Clark Kent AND Perry White from the old SUPERMAN TV series.

And contrary to a previous poster, this film is not in the least confused about which war it's about. The opening scenes, with the father of McCrea's character, take place around WW1. Then there's a very clear narration bringing us up to the late 1930s, and there are several references later on to "20 years ago" (meaning the World War). Someone must have been dozing.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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