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Secret Agent (1936)

Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | 15 June 1936 (USA)
After three British agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Campbell Dixon (play), W. Somerset Maugham (novel) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Madeleine Carroll ... Elsa Carrington
Peter Lorre ... The General
John Gielgud ... Richard Ashenden / Brodie
Robert Young ... Robert Marvin
Percy Marmont ... Caypor
Florence Kahn Florence Kahn ... Mrs. Caypor
Charles Carson ... 'R'
Lilli Palmer ... Lilli
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Storyline

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 <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dead Women Tell No Tales Was The Motto of This Charming Lady Killer ! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

15 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Laugh Track: Secret Agent See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

Ashenden's resignation letter changes between scenes. The first time we see it, it reads: "Now that I have resigned / if you want a successor for / me I can give you the / name of a good reliable butcher" When Carrington later looks at it and cuts it up, it reads: "Now that I have resigned / if you want a successor / for me I can give you / the name of a good / reliable butcher" See more »

Quotes

The General: General Pompellio Montezuma De- oh, we've already met.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Breach (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Bulgar Folk Song
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Hubert Bath
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Underrated Hitchcock
4 April 2003 | by zetesSee all my reviews

The only thing generic about this British thriller is its title. After that, it's a rather remarkable and suspenseful Hitchcock movie. John Gielgud plays a WWI pilot who is hired by his government as a spy. He meets up with two operatives, one who is playing the part of his wife (Madeleine Carroll) and one who is just Peter Lorre. I'm not sure what his cover was (perhaps this is just a small flaw; I think that if these were real spies they wouldn't make it very far, but I think I'm mature enough to suspend my disbelief on this kind of thing). They are in Switzerland to root out a German spy. Robert Young plays an American tourist who has a thing for Carroll. The script is excellent, with some fine dialogue. The characters are well developed. Hitchcock's direction is super-taut. The acting is just great here, especially Peter Lorre, who is just delicious. One thing to note in this movie, as well as Hitch's other 1936 film, Sabotage, in my opinion one of his greatest achievements, is the weight that death carries. In most of his other films, the death of a human being is treated rather cynically. One need only view The Trouble with Harry, which displays Hitch's wildest cynicism. I don't particularly mind this normally, but it's interesting to see the moral implications explored more fully in Secret Agent and Sabotage. 9/10.


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