In 1930, Maria Brentano and her younger sister Nora flee to London after their father is murdered by a European dictator. Seven years later, during a weekend trip to Paris, Maria unexpectedly meets Louis, her former lover who is now plotting the assassination of the dictator. Maria and Nora become involved in the plan, which goes tragically wrong when the time bomb they plant kills an innocent bystander.Written by
Two of the themes included in the musical score of the film, composed by Roberto Gerhard, are the traditional Catalan Christmas carols "La Mare de Déu" and "El cant dels ocells", the last one had being popularized much before by the great violoncellist Pau Casals. The reason is that Roberto Gerhard, born in Valls, province of Tarragona (Catalonia), was friend since his childhood of Casals, born in El Vendrell, province of Tarragona and a great connoisseur of Catalan popular music. The tune of "La Mare de Déu" was also used by the well known Catalan musician Xavier Cugat, born in Girona (Catalonia), into his song "My shawl". See more »
The film begins in 1930. A character reads a letter quoting W.H. Auden--"We must love one another or die." But it is from the poem "September ,1939" and was written in the following month. See more »
Opening credits: "Hidden in each one of us is a secret person, often unknown even to ourselves. The force of circumstances can drive us to a point at which this inner character takes charge and alters the course of our lives." See more »
Maybe the most important thing about Secret People is the fact that William Wyler took a look at this film and decided that his next film Roman Holiday would star an unknown Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn plays a supporting role as the younger sister of Valentina Cortesa. Both are refugees from some unknown eastern European country where the two of them had their father killed by the local dictator.
Audrey was still a kid when she and Valentina came over, but now she's grown up and an aspiring dancer. As for Cortesa she's content enough until Serge Reggiani shows from the old country. He's with the opposition to the dictator and they want to kill him in London while he's on a state visit. So far it sounds like the plot of Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much.
But this film is told from the point of view of the conspirators and how slowly Cortesa is drawn into their web of intrigue despite a lot of misgivings. Every agonizing thought so registers with Cortesa and her performance even after Hepburn who has adjusted well to Great Britain and wants to pursue a career in dance.
As for Reggiani the years have turned him into quite the fanatic. Today he would be called a terrorist.
Secret People is done a bit unevenly in pace, there are spots it drags. But Cortesa and Reggiani carry it through and it's a milestone of sorts for Audrey Hepburn.
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