Secret Agent Reviews

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cosmo313
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2007
Well, considering that this was based on some works by W. Somerset Maugham, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starred John Gielgud and Peter Lorre that it would be one terrific WWI spy thriller.

Surprisingly as it turns out, this film is pretty bad. It's bland, dull, but worst of all boring. Gielgud looks bored and uninterested, Lorre feels out of place, and the plot (three agents join up to take out an undercover spy, but things get complicated when two of them suffer crises of conscience) should be awesome, but I just couldn't get involved or care about it. On top of that, the poicture and sound quality are both really pretty bad at times.

I know that not everything Hitch did was good (at least), but this is just alarmingly terrible. It's as if while making this he had overdosed on apathy pills and stopped trying.

The big train crash climax isn't great, mostly because of the silly and bad effects, but it at least got my attention since it was something happening, instead of lots of nothing taking place.


Even if you're a Hitch diehard, just spare yourself a mess and skip this.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2010
I love Lorre, but his character wasn't that great in this movie. Plus, I didn't get the plot. Maybe I should see it again, but the movie quality is so horrible it's hard to watch.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2008
Decent early Hitchcock with all his classic elements here but also still in their nascent form. As with most of his beginning films the picture itself is very dark and murky, probably due to age of the film and budget constraints at the time. Good performances from all the cast, Lorre stands out as usual.
bbcfloridabound
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2009
You have to love really classic Hitchcock to enjoy this. The usual Hitchcock Twist, easy to guess as I did half way through. Its from 1936, opening Credits, had Ireland free State listed. A very Young Robert Young and Peter Lorre. What shade is Lorre??? Anyway a Spy vs Spy Thriller, film was decent quality. It came with 11 other hitchcock movies. 2 1/2 stars.
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2006
Very stylishly shot and lit - better to look at than to listen to.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2012
I don't really know what to make of this picture. It is not one of Hitchcock's best or is it any thrilling. All I know is that it is a spy drama set in the first world war. John Gielgud plays British novelist Edgar Brodie who discovers that a government agency has faked his own death. Brodie is then given orders to go to Switzerland to kill a German agent. Brodie 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.

That is all I know...I was mostly lost in the film's plot my mind kept on wondering as key information passed by. "Secret Agent" isn't a bad film but I wish it was more intriguing just as intrigued I was when watching "Easy Virtue". Still, this is a film I would recommend. Just try not to be bored.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2009
I'd have to say it's a minor Hitchcock, but still carries alot with it.
The plot is interesting and peculiar, and Peter Lorre pulls a performance that's both racist, goofy, and very creepy. Some of the humor is strange as hell, but in the end you have an interesting conclusion.
January 16, 2013
I almost feel like I can't properly say anything about this film since the print I viewed on DVD was so bad that numerous shots were just indecipherable blobs of blackness. My imagination was able to fill in some of the gaps but it was clear that this is not one of Hitchcock's finest.
His style is obviously abundant with a seemingly extra dose of his humor coming forth in this one thanks to the extremely fun performance by Peter Lorre.
It is clear that many aspects of this film were used in later films by Hitch (as well as numerous films from the spy genre in general) so we should definitely note 'Secret Agent's importance as a trendsetter in that regard.
½ October 5, 2010
a great early thriller from Hitchcock. great actor chemistry and some outstanding use of camera work to enhance the story and suspense. what I didn't especially like was how Lorre's character was filmed. mostly he seemed like the comic relief, but certain closeups and focuses on his more sinister side led me to lean unnecessary suspicion towards him, even after the true antagonist was revealed. overall though, a really enjoyable film.
February 29, 2008
Lorre & Gielgud were great together... Favorite scenes are that of Carroll engaging Young on the train & that of Lorre making romantic passes at Carroll & other women... Good suspense on the identification of the spy... Good Hitchcock movie...
July 23, 2007
Almost missed this. Wrong title. There's no "The". It's just "Secret Agent" and while not the best Hitch. It's pretty good.
½ April 28, 2012
A film that's not quite sure what it wants to be, in many ways providing an early prototype for the James Bond films (complete with annoying racial stereotype and bizarre sexual politics), but neither the plot or action are good enough to past as a thriller; it hadn't yet been worked out how to sex-up the titular job. At times it appears to veer into send-up, there's a nice twist at the end of the first act which could have been played better into a crisis of conscience, but it is portrayed closer to something from a comedy of errors.
January 20, 2015
Puliendo su estilo Hitchcock en esta pelicula de espias y dobles identidades, mas adelante nos daria grandes peliculas como Encadenados y Con la muerte en los talones
June 13, 2014
A very good movie; the scene in which the dog cries out is agonizingly suspenseful...and there are others; Lorre is great! B+
February 17, 2014
More bland drama, with good Hitchcock cinematography and a decent plot. The characters are okay, and the pacing isn't too bad. Yet it's not the best, nor the most interesting.
December 25, 2013
A trio of secret agents is involved in a love triangle as they try to solve a mystery. Secret Agent is one of the most forgettable films by Hitchcock perhaps because the filmmaker himself doesn't feel as inspired here as in the best of his work, or indeed even the most of his work. The screenplay is sometimes careless and the plot has an unbarable tendency to tangle, though it is uncertain whether it is Hitchcock's lack of proper handling of a thriller that on paper looked quite similar to other ones by the British filmmaker anyways or the screenplay itself. Nevertheless, a stong cast and some good narrative choices make it entertaining and a little rewarding anyways.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2012
I don't really know what to make of this picture. It is not one of Hitchcock's best or is it any thrilling. All I know is that it is a spy drama set in the first world war. John Gielgud plays British novelist Edgar Brodie who discovers that a government agency has faked his own death. Brodie is then given orders to go to Switzerland to kill a German agent. Brodie 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.

That is all I know...I was mostly lost in the film's plot my mind kept on wondering as key information passed by. "Secret Agent" isn't a bad film but I wish it was more intriguing just as intrigued I was when watching "Easy Virtue". Still, this is a film I would recommend. Just try not to be bored.
½ July 30, 2008
This is definitely one of the lesser Hitchcock films that I've seen. Lacking in either the wit or thrills for which is appeared to be striving, rather it's a bit of a non-event.
January 13, 2011
Quiza una de las pocas peliculas que no paso de Hitchcock, la historia es forzada, los actores no encuadran y el papel de Peter Lorre (El general) es de lo mas absurdo que he visto en el cine. A mi gusto es como para olvidar pues no parece dirigida por Alfred.
½ July 19, 2010
For an early Alfred Hitchcock sound thriller its fantastic. The plot : In 1916 english novelist John Gielgud discovers that his goverment agency has fake his own death and has been assigned with a new identity Richard Ashenden and a mission to go to switzerland to kill a greman agent. Richard also is given a proffesional killer simply knowen as the General to help him carry out the task plus Elisa another secret agent poses as his wife. After the Murder of thier comrade in a church the group soon suspect an old man called Caypar as the agent. while of a climb in the alps the general and anderson kill the suspected spy, while elsia occupies Caypars wife and trying to get rid of an american chamer called marvin. But in true Hitchcock style expect a good twist , it truns out they got the wrong man the spy is still somewhere in switzerland. The result: the movie climaxs in a train deep with in enemy terrtoiry under Ailled air attack.

A fantastic and some what thrilling early masterpiece from the Great Hitchcock .9/10
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