Secret People (film)

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Secret People
Original UK poster
Directed by Thorold Dickinson
Produced by Sidney Cole
Written by Thorold Dickinson
Wolfgang Wilhelm
Starring Audrey Hepburn
Valentina Cortese
Serge Reggiani
Charles Goldner
Music by Roberto Gerhard
Cinematography Gordon Dines
Edited by Peter Tanner
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release dates
  • 8 February 1952 (1952-02-08) (UK[1])
Running time
96 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Secret People is a 1952 British drama film, written and directed by Thorold Dickinson and starring Valentina Cortese, Serge Reggiani and Audrey Hepburn. The film is mainly known for providing Audrey Hepburn with her first significant film role, and for leading to her big breakthrough in Roman Holiday. Because on 18 September 1951, shortly after Secret People was finished and while waiting for its premiere, Thorold Dickinson made a screen test with the young starlet and sent it to director William Wyler, who was in Rome preparing Roman Holiday. He wrote a glowing note of thanks to Dickinson, saying that "as a result of the test, a number of the producers at Paramount have expressed interest in casting her."[2]


In 1930, Maria Brentano (Valentina Cortese) and her younger sister Nora (Audrey Hepburn) flee to London as their father is about to executed by his country's dictator. Seven years later, Maria unexpectedly meets Louis (Serge Reggiani), her childhood sweetheart, who is engaged in a plot to assassinate the dictator. Maria is persuaded to play an active part in the plan, but it all goes horribly wrong when the bomb they plant kills an innocent waitress, causing Maria much distress.

Main cast[edit]


Although finished before August 1951 (the film was screened by the BBFC censors on 7 August 1951[3]), it didn't premiere at Odeon Leicester Square in London until 8 February 1952.[1] The film reviewer for The Times found it to be "a confused, inarticulate, disappointing film, neither as imagniative nor as intellectually exciting as it should be."[4]

External links[edit]