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Secret Agent (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  15 June 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 5,745 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 43 critic

After three British agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.



(play), (novel), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Richard Ashenden / Brodie
Percy Marmont ...
Florence Kahn ...
Charles Carson ...


During the first world war, novelist Edgar Brodie is sent to Switzerland by the Intelligence Service. He has to kill a German agent. During the mission he meets a fake general first and then Elsa Carrington who helps him in his duty. Written by Claudio Sandrini <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dead Women Tell No Tales Was The Motto of This Charming Lady Killer ! See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

15 June 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Laugh Track: Secret Agent  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alfred Hitchcock reflected (regarding John Gielgud's lack of heroics): "You can't root for a hero who doesn't want to be one." See more »


The General (Peter Lorre) drops his hat in the church and then he runs upstairs together with Edgar Brodie (John Gielgud). When they get there he has his hat on again. See more »


Edgar Brodie: Oh, I'm to have an assistant, am I?
'R': Yes, and in the circumstances, a very useful one. We call him the "Hairless Mexican".
Edgar Brodie: Oh? Why?
'R': Well, chiefly because he's got a lot of curly hair and isn't a Mexican. You can call him The General. He isn't a general, but he'll appreciate the compliment.
See more »


Featured in Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (2009) See more »


Bulgar Folk Song
Arranged by Hubert Bath
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Classic early Hitchcock
24 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This, in my opinion, is one of the master's best early films, so good, in fact, that it begs for repeat viewing. That is the only way I know to absorb the subtle verbal repartees (observe the fascinating expressions and body language of Madeleine Carroll as she repeatedly defends herself from the blandishments of the affable American played by Robert Young); the hilarious malapropisms and convoluted syntax courtesy of the unpredictably eccentric Peter Lorre (there is good reason to believe this was unfeigned because Mr. Lorre, a Hungarian by birth who had achieved a well-deserved reputation as a chilling screen presence in German cinema before leaving for England following the National Socialist take-over, had not yet mastered the nuances of the English language); the classic understatement by that most aristocratic of all British actors, John Gielgud; and for those of us who never tire gazing at the incomparably beautiful Madeleine (Elsa) Carroll, the camera angles finally do justice to her divinely-wrought features (she also delivers her usual elegantly controlled performance). And, of course, there is all of the excitement and suspense one comes to expect from the great Alfred Hitchcock... Needless to say, I highly recommend this film.

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