Confidential Agent

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Confidential Agent
Confidential Agent2.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Herman Shumlin
Produced by Robert Buckner
Screenplay by Robert Buckner
Based on the novel 
by Graham Greene
Starring Charles Boyer
Lauren Bacall
Peter Lorre
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Edited by George Amy
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • November 2, 1945 (1945-11-02) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Confidential Agent is a 1945 spy film starring Charles Boyer and Lauren Bacall, and made by Warner Bros.[1][2] The movie was directed by Herman Shumlin and produced by Robert Buckner with Jack L. Warner as executive producer. The screenplay was by Robert Buckner, based on the novel The Confidential Agent by Graham Greene. The music score was by Franz Waxman and the cinematography by James Wong Howe. The supporting cast includes George Coulouris and Peter Lorre.


Luis Denard (Charles Boyer), a former concert musician, is a Republican, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. He travels to England to secure supplies, where he is threatened by suspicion and Fascist agents. He finds unexpected help when he meets young socialite Rose Cullen (Lauren Bacall), whose father, Lord Benditch (Holmes Herbert), is one of the men Denard is trying to meet.

Everything seems to go wrong when he’s mugged and laid out cold. Not knowing who to trust, he enlists the aid of the young maid, Else (Wanda Hendrix). Then, he runs into Contreras (Peter Lorre) and Mrs. Melandy (Katina Paxinou). It’s a convoluted race to the end.



The screenplay was based on a Graham Greene novel, of the same name. There is evidence of jump cuts, which suggest that editing, to get the running time under two hours, did not help.[3]


Critical response[edit]

According to "The Big Sleep Comparisons 1945/46", a featurette on the 2000 DVD release of Bacall's later film The Big Sleep, her reviews for Confidential Agent were largely negative, with particular aspersions cast on Bacall's performance, as a "pretty amateur".[4]

According to film historian Robert Gitt, host of the featurette, Warner studio head Jack L. Warner was lobbied to order certain scenes in The Big Sleep re-shot in order to rectify performance issues with Bacall identified in Confidential Agent, which he did.

In her own autobiography, Bacall said that she begged not to have to do the film, but couldn't break her contract that early, though her career never fully recovered from Confidential Agent.


  1. ^ Variety film review; November 7, 1945, page 25.
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; November 3, 1945, page 174.
  3. ^ Confidential Agent informational page at Classic Film Guide. Accessed: July 4, 2013.
  4. ^ TCM web site.

External links[edit]