Secret Agent - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Secret Agent Reviews

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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.
October 8, 2011
An Alfred Hitchcock film before he was working in the US...this is a straightforward film but you can really see Hitch's touch even the early stages of his career.

The British accents in this film are thick so dialogue was difficult at times to understand but the story flowed quite well.

The way the murders where unravelled was clever and praise must go to Hitchcock for the variety of interesting locations he choose for the murders to take place ie Swedish Chocolate Factory.

This is no masterpiece but really showcases his talent and you get to see Peter Lorre in quite an odd role indeed.
August 21, 2011
What's interesting about SECRET AGENT is its de-romanticized portrayal of espionage and spying. Although its chief theme of whether what they're doing is moral or not remains unresolved, it is still an effective, suspenseful work. Peter Lorre steals the show as a womanizing assassin.
August 1, 2011
This one hinted at greatness to come from the master of suspense.
July 2, 2011
This is a movie that I saw sitting on the shelf at the library a bunch of times, and I finally got around to watching it and I have to say I was a little underwhealmed. It is an ok story, but it seemed to move too fast and then too slow, and I saw the bad guy coming a mile a way.
½ May 26, 2011
100% of critics liked it? really, critics? this is worth watching as hitchcock. it certainly has some elements that he later refines, but its honestly not very good storytelling. it's often confusing and oddly paced. peter lorre is a pretty funny choice as the "Mexican," honestly the best part of the film.
½ April 27, 2011
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
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 11, 2010
One of Hitchcock's more average films. The story isn't that interesting and the various actors add little spice to their roles.
½ October 8, 2010
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 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 September 26, 2010
Couldn't make it to the end.
½ September 20, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 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.
½ August 1, 2010
Quizas 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
April 26, 2010
it's a good story, but i think i'm a lil spoiled cuz this story has been done so many other times
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