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Western Morning News (13/Oct/1936) - Unobtrusive Propaganda



Unobtrusive Propaganda


Film Unspoiled By The Moral


The place, of propaganda in art is an old bone of contention. To some it is the whole of art, to others it is anathema. perhaps its true place is that it occupies in "Secret Agent," at the Gaumont Palace this week, where it is essentially subservient to the story, and, it may be, unintentional. Certainly it has that appearance.

It is a spy film, with two people new to the game. The man is accustomed to the killing of the trenches, but the cool personal killing behind the lines not only unnerves him for a time, but completely spoils the woman's appetite for the "thrills" that she looked for.

War and all its futility and horrors is expressed, and yet one need never realize that; one may enjoy the film as such and be untouched by the propaganda. It is there for those who are receptive.

Very clever indeed is "Secret Agent," at the Gaumont Palace. All the skill of Mr. Alfred Hitchcock lies behind it; the clever dialogue is that of Mr. Somerset Maugham and the acting of Miss Madeleine Carroll, Mr. Peter Lorre, and Mr. John Geilgud is as brilliant as is to be expected. These three are British spies — Mr. Geilgud the freshman, Mr. Lorre the experienced and nasty killer, and Miss Carroll who attracts the attentions of the American, Mr. Robert Young, with unexpected complications.