Secret Agent Reviews

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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.
½ September 25, 2013
The Hitchcockan trademark here is the twist, not mind-blowing but shocking enough in terms of the identity of the spy. But it is more like a drama about love triangle after all, only saved by the great and entertaining Peter Lorre.
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.
May 24, 2012
Wrong trailer fort this excellent movie.
May 23, 2012
Creative & Carefully Crafted Spy Story--Classic early Hitchcock!!
½ April 9, 2012
John Gielgud's performance is wooden and very unsympathetic and Peter Lorre's character while meant to provide comic relief is downright annoying. A disappointing movie all round.
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.
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.
December 10, 2011
First, let me say I am a big fan of Hitchcock. However, all the actors seemed out of place here. Peter Lorre as the cold-blooded "General", Gielgud and Young are miscast, in my opinion, as well. Then again the writing and direction don't give them much to work with. The train sets are more humorous and reminiscent of something belonging under a Christmas tree. Forget the acclaimed chocolate factory scene, at the end I felt myself saying " I could have had a Wonka Bar". Big thumbs down.
December 8, 2011
This is one of Hitch's lesser known early British films - it came between "The 39 Steps" and "The Lady Vanishes" and although in its way it is just as enjoyable and accomplished, it hasn't attained the classic status of those two films. Unusually, the most dazzling technical feature of "Secret Agent" isn't visual, i.e. the audacious camerawork or the sublime composition of each shot which characterises The Master's work. It's the sound. It's a very noisy film, with a soundtrack of eerie and unsettling sounds punctuating and heightening the film's most tense and dramatic scenes: A church organ drones on interminably due to the recently strangled organist being slumped over the keys; A forlorn dog scratches at a door and howls sorrowfully as his master is pushed off the top of a mountain; A train filled with rowdy soldiers grinds on towards Constantinople and the uncertain fate of the British agents at the heart of the story. The chase scene in the chocolate factory is spankingly good. The casting is odd but it works. There couldn't be more contrasting acting styles than those of dear old Johnny Gielgud as Ashenden (stiff upper-lipped, formal and very British) and Peter Lorre as "The Hairless Mexican" or General Pompellio Montezuma De La Vilia De Conde De La Rue to give him his full title (over-acted to the nth degree, Lorre acts like a man in the grip of a powerful drug addiction). I've always thought that Madeleine Carroll was one of the finest of Hitch's leading ladies (though he himself wasn't that keen): not only was she luminously beautiful but she had a wider dramatic range than most and a natural talent for comedy.
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.
November 21, 2010
5 stars for Peter Lorre
½ November 1, 2006
This movie has all the marks of a great spy movie, even someone known as "R". It is an exciting story and has a dramatic end. Peter Lorre is really good in this film - he plays The General, who is completely over-the-top. Initially one may be tempted to pass him off as a comedic relief, but he has a ruthless edge and chilling stares. I would like to see a re-make of this film, but it should be kept as a period piece. As one of Hitchcock's earlier films, it was well done, but it would've been much more gripping if he himself re-visited it.
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.
½ April 5, 2009
subpar early Hitch....gielgud just didn't do it for me....lorre was also miscast. the special effects are laughable and the climax was a dud. verdict: pass on this one.
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