Secret Agent (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  15 June 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 5,803 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.



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Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anny Ondra, John Longden, Sara Allgood


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


Mystery - Intrigue - Romance, burn a flaming trail among the gay capitals of Europe See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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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?


John Gielgud filmed this during the day while appearing on stage in "Romeo and Juliet" opposite Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft and Laurence Olivier in the evening. See more »


Ashenden's resignation letter changes between scenes. The first time we see it, it reads: "Now that I have resigned / if you want a successor for / me I can give you the / name of a good reliable butcher" When Carrington later looks at it and cuts it up, it reads: "Now that I have resigned / if you want a successor / for me I can give you / the name of a good / reliable butcher" See more »


Edgar Brodie: A lady-killer, eh?
'R': Not only ladies.
See more »


Referenced 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

Spy story with suspense and romance by the master of thriller
21 September 2006 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

This espionage film concerns about Ashenden (John Gielgud), a secret agent is sent Switzerland to kill an unknown enemy spy . There he deals with various characters , as a quirky Mexican general (Peter Lorre), a smart gentleman (Robert Young) and a gorgeous woman (Madeleine Carrol) who poses as his wife , causing the classic loving triangle (Gielgud , Carrol , Young). The movie is based on Somerset Maughan's novels titled : Ashenden , taken from ¨The Traitor" and "The Hairless Mexican" spy stories.

This enjoyable picture blends action , a love story , comedy , adventures , thriller , suspense and results to be quite entertaining . Hitchcock said about this film being well developed in Switzerland , it's plenty of typical elements , such as : folkloric dances , Swiss Alps , lagoons and a chocolate factory . Alfred Hitchcock convinced John Gielgud to play the lead by describing the hero as a modern day Hamlet ; Gielgud, however, ended up hating that his character was an enigma and felt Hitchcock made the villain more charming than the hero . Besides , it contains the usual Hitch's touches and the elegant as well as intelligent baddie (repeating in posterior films as James Mason at ¨North by Northwest¨) , the enticing blonde (as later happened with Grace Kelly and Kim Novak) , the filming on the train (a very agreeable vehicle for the director) . It's an uneven movie and Hitch wasn't proud but it had excessive irony as he said in the famous interview with Francois Truffaut . Rating : Good , well worth watching . The motion picture will appeal to Hitchcock fans . Essential and indispensable seeing for Hitch lovers .

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