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>
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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