Secret Agent - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Secret Agent Reviews

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½ November 15, 2017
*Secret Agent (1936) - A. Hitchcock

Hitchcock's follow-up to The 39 Steps (1935) also stars Madeleine Carroll, this time as an apprentice spy during WWI, and Peter Lorre (from the Man Who Knew Too Much, 1934), as a wacky assassin working for the Brits. John Gielgud takes the lead as the writer drafted to be a spy as Richard Asheden (from the stories by Somerset Maugham). They are all shipped off to Switzerland to track down an enemy agent and kill him. As Hitchcock points out, the unsavoury nature of this assignment and the clear ambivalence shown by Gielgud and Carroll undercut the excitement of the adventure story. And when things go very wrong, this doesn't help either. At this stage in his career, Hitch was already ready to defy audience expectations in a big way (he blew up a child with a bomb in his next picture, Sabotage, 1936) but the honesty with which he deals with assassination doesn't fully jell with the comedy-thriller elements dominating the rest of the picture. There are, of course, some excellent set-pieces handled with aplomb and an unpredictable ending, if you weren't trying to figure things out too hard. Still, this is worth a look, even if not up there with the greatest of the Master's British pictures.
½ November 6, 2017
Secret Agent: A early hitchcock film. One that lacks the hights he'd reach later in his later years as a director.
½ January 2, 2017
Not nearly as neatly packed as Hitch's later work (amused that Flixster is bleeping his full name in user reviews). Nor nearly as memorable. I know I had seen it before but I'd forgotten almost everything about it. Peter Lorre's constant side-eye led me to believe the ending would be more interesting than it was. Still, the leads are charming and there's a lot of scenery to appreciate.
December 1, 2016
Surely the source of many of the tropes of spy films to come. Held together by charismatic performances from Peter Lorre and Jonn Gielgud and a cracking story. The Old Master keeps it all on track with masterful directing.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2016
Didn't really like this one that much. Not one of Hitchcock's good ones.
August 9, 2016
This film has excellent cinematography and its similarities with the James Bond films can't be a coincidence. Also has some shots that were copied in Topaz among others.
June 30, 2016
Boring, lacklustre offering. Considering The Crew Involved It Is Surprising How Bad It Is. I Got Confused As To The 'Comedy' Aspect Because ain't All Seemed A Bit Befuddled With Other Genres. In The End, Hitchcock Shoulda Steered Clear Of This One...I Don't Think It Was A Successful Project At All.
June 19, 2016
This is one of Alfred Hitchcock's earlier British films. It stars Peter Lorre and John Gielgud. Not a great film, but it does have some of the Master's flourishes and is certainly worth checking out for fans.
April 28, 2016
Alors qu'il sortait de deux bons films, Alfred Hitchcock retombe dans ses travers de début de carrière avec Secret Agent, un thriller particulièrement intéressant qui envoie John Gielgud dans les mains de Peter Lorre, à l'intérieur d'un hôtel suisse. Seul Lorre est réellement performant ici, prenant tout à la dérision quand tout ceci est bien trop sérieux. Le film conte une histoire d'espionnage d'une lenteur indécente qui n'apporte rien d'original au genre, déjà en 1936. On oubliera donc très vite Secret Agent, où même les quelques scènes d'action (ce qu'Hitchcock réussissait depuis 2 ou 3 films) sont laides et anémiques.
½ January 23, 2015
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
October 13, 2014
Perfect Hitchcockian Mystery/Thriller.
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.
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