Secret Agent (1936 film)

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Secret Agent
Secret Agent (1936 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Michael Balcon
Ivor Montagu
Screenplay by Charles Bennett
Alma Reville
Ian Hay
Story by W. Somerset Maugham
Starring John Gielgud
Peter Lorre
Madeleine Carroll
Robert Young
Lilli Palmer
Cinematography Bernard Knowles
Edited by Charles Frend
Release dates
May 1936 (U.K.)
June 15, 1936 (U.S.)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Secret Agent (1936) is a British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on two stories in Ashenden: Or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham. The film starred John Gielgud, Peter Lorre, Madeleine Carroll, and Robert Young. Future star Michael Redgrave made a brief, uncredited appearance; he would play the male lead in Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes two years later. This was also Michael Rennie's film debut (uncredited).


Gielgud plays a British officer, a famous writer whose death is faked during World War I, and who is sent by the mysterious "R", head of British intelligence, to Switzerland on a secret mission. Carroll plays a female agent who poses as his wife. Lorre appears as a British agent working with them, a killer known variously as "the Hairless Mexican" and "the General".

Typical Hitchcockian themes used here include mistaken identity and murder.



The film was voted the fifth best British film of 1936.[1]


  1. ^ "BEST FILM PERFORMANCE LAST YEAR.". Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) (Launceston, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 9 July 1937. p. 8 Edition: LATE NEWS EDITION and DAILY. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 

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