Secret Agent

Secret Agent

4.0 3
Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Madeleine Carroll, Peter Lorre, John Gielgud

Cast: Alfred Hitchcock, Madeleine Carroll, Peter Lorre, John Gielgud

     
 

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Based on the novels of W. Somerset Maugham, The Secret Agent is the second in a trilogy of Alfred Hitchcock spy movies (along with The 39 Steps and Sabotage). Set during WWI, John Gielgud plays British novelist Edgar Brodie who discovers that a government agency has faked his own death. He is then given orders to go to Switzerland to kill a German

Overview

Based on the novels of W. Somerset Maugham, The Secret Agent is the second in a trilogy of Alfred Hitchcock spy movies (along with The 39 Steps and Sabotage). Set during WWI, John Gielgud plays British novelist Edgar Brodie who discovers that a government agency has faked his own death. He is then given orders to go to Switzerland to kill a German agent. He goes by the name of Richard Ashenden and travels with secret agent Elsa Carrington (Madeleine Carroll), who poses as his wife. Richard joins professional killer the General (Peter Lorre) to look for clues, which leads them to suspect the tourist Caypor (Percy Marmont). Elsa occupies Caypor's wife, Florence Kahn, while Richard and the General attempt to complete their mission during a climbing trip in the Alps. It turns out he was the wrong man, so the spies reluctantly start another search for clues that leads them to the American charmer Robert Marvin (Robert Young). Unfortunately, he has just boarded a train to Greece with Elsa, so they have to get onboard and warn her. The situation is complicated with an air attack, where several key players meet their fate. The Secret Agent marked a rare instance where Hitchcock was pressured into changing the ending from the more grim original.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Deception is the order of the day in this solid espionage thriller from director Alfred Hitchcock. Based on Somerset Maugham's adventure stories and a play by Campbell Nixon, Secret Agent is deceptive in every way: characters hide their true intentions, beautiful locations mask the sinister deeds that happen in them, even the film's title is tricky since the story is about several agents rather than just one. All of this duplicity helps develop the suspense normally associated with Hitchcock's films, but Secret Agent falls a bit short of becoming one of the director's classics. The picture's primary shortcomings lie with the plot: John Gielgud is a spy whose assignment is to find and kill an enemy spy in Switzerland. The fact that the hero of the film is told to kill rather than save someone or steal something is a dark, edgy move, but it weakens the viewer's connection to Gielgud's character. In one of the most chilling sequences, Gielgud and Peter Lorre carry out the assassination only to discover that they've killed an innocent man. To a lesser degree, the cast is also a weakness. While the performances are decent, Gielgud, Madeleine Carroll, and Robert Young seem out of place in a Hitchcock film. Lorre is the bright, shining star, in the role of a Mexican general whose twisted black humor matches his murderous tactics. Lorre's character is neither a Mexican nor a general, but he steals the show. The most exciting sequence is the climax, in which the real spy is revealed amidst gunplay and a terrific train crash. Hitchcock had two slightly different endings prepared for the film, but neither was used. The director appears as a mourner during the fake funeral that opens the film.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/2003
UPC:
0011891970150
Original Release:
1936
Rating:
NR
Source:
Tgg Direct
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:23:00

Special Features

Interactive menus; Original graphics; Film information; Chapters - direct scene access (go to your favorite scenes); Biography; Facts & trivia; Special collector's photo gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Madeleine Carroll Elsa Carrington
Peter Lorre The General
John Gielgud Richard Ashenden
Robert Young Robert Marvin
Percy Marmont Caypor
Florence Kahn Mrs. Caypor
Lilli Palmer Lilli
Charles Carson "R"
Tom Helmore Capt. Anderson
Andrea Malandrinos Manager
Michael Redgrave Actor
Michael Saint-Denis Coachman

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director
Michael Balcon Producer
Charles Bennett Screenwriter
Charles Frend Editor
Ian Hay Screenwriter
Albert Jullion Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Knowles Cinematographer
Jesse Lasky Screenwriter
Louis Levy Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Ivor Montagu Producer
Alma Reville Screenwriter
Joe Strassner Costumes/Costume Designer
Otto Werndorff Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Ashenden Arrives [20:32]
2. The Spy Game [20:20]
3. The Wrong Man [20:04]
4. On the Run [24:56]

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Secret Agent 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Manirul More than 1 year ago
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!
Guest More than 1 year ago
whoever is reading this review, i'll let you know that Alfred Hitchcock movies are pretty awesome, especially from the 50s, but unfortunately, the secret agent to me wasn't as good as his other films that gave him the name 'master of suspense'...the film is hard to understand, and the plot twists make it more and more confusing. the only part of this that i enjoyed was the ending (which you will have to see for yourself)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago