6.6/10
6,958
71 user 47 critic

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 »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont
Sabotage (1936)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester
Number 17 (1932)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A gang of thieves gather at a safe house following a robbery, but a detective is on their trail.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Leon M. Lion, Anne Grey, John Stuart
The Skin Game (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An old traditional family and a modern family battle over land in a small English village and almost destroy each other.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Jill Esmond, C.V. France
Murder! (1930)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A juror in a murder trial, after voting to convict, has second thoughts and begins to investigate on his own before the execution.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Herbert Marshall, Norah Baring, Phyllis Konstam
Biography | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The story of Johann Strauss the elder and younger.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Esmond Knight, Jessie Matthews
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In Cornwall in 1819, a young woman discovers that she's living near a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecks for profit.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Robert Newton, Charles Laughton
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre
Comedy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Believing that an unexpected inheritance will bring them happiness, a married couple instead finds their relationship strained to the breaking point.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Henry Kendall, Joan Barry, Percy Marmont
The Manxman (1929)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A fisherman and a rising young lawyer, who grew up as brothers, fall in love with the same girl.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anny Ondra, Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen
Blackmail (1929)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After killing a man in self-defense, a young woman is blackmailed by a witness to the killing.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anny Ondra, John Longden, Sara Allgood
Mary (1931)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A juror in a murder trial, after voting to convict, has second thoughts and begins to investigate on his own before the execution.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Alfred Abel, Olga Tschechowa, Paul Graetz
Edit

Cast

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 Florence Kahn ... Mrs. Caypor
Charles Carson ... 'R'
Lilli Palmer ... Lilli
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alfred Hitchcock reflected (regarding Sir John Gielgud's lack of heroics): "You can't root for a hero who doesn't want to be one." See more »

Goofs

A newspaper gives the date as Thursday May 10, 1916. In actuality, May 10, 1916 was a Wednesday. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Caypor: Do you understand German, Mr. Marvin?
Robert Marvin: No, but I speak it fluently.
See more »

Connections

Version of ITV Play of the Week: The Secret Agent (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Moral Ambiguity of Sanctioned Murder and Other Humorous Anecdotes.
26 January 2008 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

Despite the abject absurdity of Hitchcock's "Secret Agent", I adored it.

The film starts off as a farcical story following John Gielgud and Madeline Carroll - two novice British spies - hunting down a German agent with the help of a more experienced man - "The General" - a Mexican hilariously played by Peter Lorre. With these principal players, it should be no surprise that the performances are top-notch. However, given the fact that Lorre was, at the time, at one of the lowest points in his tumultuous but brilliant career, it is possible that his over-the-top and uncharacteristically comedic performance at least began unintentionally (and was exploited by the great director as a last-ditch effort to complete the film successfully).

The story is based rather loosely on a Somerset Maugham story translated for theater by Campbell Dixon then adapted by Hitchcock favorite Charles Bennett. Quite a bit, as you can well imagine, changes as a result of the translations from medium to medium.

The drama turns on a developing romance between Gielgud and Carroll's characters - and the burgeoning consciences which accompany it. Will they be able to carry out their patriotic duty if and when they finally track down their opponent, or will they fail? Furthermore, what will the zealous and perhaps a little psychotic General do if his co-conspirators drop out of the spy business at the last instant? Typical Hitchcock plot devices (i.e. trains, quirky romantic relationships, European ethnic stereotypes) make cameo appearances at appropriate points in the story, and enhance the experience for Hitchcock aficionados.

The script and general story-line is not one of the best Hitchcock would have access to throughout his career, but it is quite rich compared to some of the plots he worked with earlier in his career, and the director develops the comedy, suspense, and human drama economically and affectively, if not fully. The camera-work is, of course, good, but not nearly as experimental or interesting as many of Hitchcock's earlier and later films. This is generally true of most of Hitchcock's excellent efforts for Gaumont British Pictures of America during the 1930s (I.e. Sabotage, 39 Steps, etc) - very British films made with American/British casts and production for an international audience.

Though less suspenseful than many of Hitchcock's contemporaneous efforts, Secret Agent remains a good and entertaining example of Hitchcock in the 1930s.


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 71 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed