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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.


Alfred Hitchcock


Campbell Dixon (play), W. Somerset Maugham (novel) | 3 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »




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


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


Mystery - Intrigue - Romance, burn a flaming trail among the gay capitals of Europe See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


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 that Hitchcock made the villain more charming than the hero. See more »


Dates given in the story are out of sequence. After starting "May 10, 1916" (title), a telegram received later appears to be dated "3/4/16". A newspaper near the end of the film is dated "Tuesday, September 21, 1916," when that date actually occurred on a Thursday. Afterwards a postcard bears the date of "April 2." See more »


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


Referenced in Breach (2007) See more »


Bulgar Folk Song
Arranged by Hubert Bath
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User Reviews

The oddest Hitchcock
12 July 2011 | by cstotlar-1See all my reviews

Hitchcock was an extremely visual film-maker as a rule and this film took an entirely different direction. What I remember most are the sounds - or more specifically, the noises. The discordant sound of the organ, for example, stands out. It isn't pretty and why should it be? The organist's dead after all. The noise in the chocolate factory is a continuous din relieved only by a fire alarm! Then, two of the main characters are caught in the bell-tower of a church when the bells begin to ring. Again, the sound isn't pleasant at all but quite annoying. A "musical" scene with yodelers ends up with coins being swirled around plates and is almost overbearing. The dog's howling in its psychic moment is long and unnerving. In all, these sound effects set the audience on edge which I think was part of the original plan. The two central characters are uneasy with their task and we are made to suffer too. This is an unusual film for Hitch and well worth the time.

Curtis Stotlar

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English | German | French

Release Date:

15 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Laugh Track: Secret Agent See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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