Jump to: navigation, search

Motion Picture Daily (15/May/1936) - Secret Agent




"Secret Agent"


London, May 6. — Based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel, "Ashenden," this story of espionage during the World War combines mystery, romance and action in what is for the most part an intriguing film.

For the exhibitor in the United States there are three leading cast names which to a certain extent should simplify the job of selling, which is further aided by the fact that Maugham was the author of the original novel, and the pull which lies in the nature of the story. The three players are Peter Lorre, Madeleine Carroll and Robert Young.

The work of Lorre as the extremely eccentric, strange-looking operative who will do any job of murder, in the interests of the country for which he is working at the moment, is the high spot. Young is competent, as the mysterious personage who turns out to be the key to the situation, and Miss Carroll is at least satisfactory.

An English author in 1916 is publicly reported killed in action and under an assumed name is sent to Switzerland to track and dispose of a German agent. The success of the mission is vital to the future of England's campaign in the East. Lorre accompanies the author. There the latter finds Miss Carroll, who poses as his wife to quiet suspicion, and is revealed as an English girl seeking a thrill, rather than being an accomplished spy. She meets and is taken with Young, apparently an American traveler. When Lorre and the author cause the death of what turns out to be the wrong man, Miss Carroll insists the author resign. At that moment Lorre finds a new clue, which leads to Young. They pursue him, Miss Carroll having gone with him in anger at the Englishman. The matter is finished for them when the train is bombed and wrecked, Young dying at Lorre's hand, and Miss Carroll and her "husband" making the fiction of their marriage real. Alfred Hitchcock directed from the screen play by Charles Bennett.

Running time, 85 minutes. "A."