The Hitchcock Haul: Secret Agent  1936

220px-Secret_Agent_(1936_film)_posterSecret AgentΒ was fun!Β I think it contains some of Hitchcock’s better developed characters during this time in his career. I also learned that women in the ’30s really enjoyed sleeping around, fiances be damned! Ok, on with the summary:

Loosely based on short stories by W. Somerset Maugham, a soldier/writer named Brodie (John Gielgud) is “killed off” and transformed into a British spy by a mysterious man named “R”. Given the new identity of Richard Ashenden, Brodie travels to Switzerland to track down a German spy that has thus far evaded all attempts made toward his capture. Upon arriving, Brodie finds that he’s been assigned a wife, the lovely, thrill-seaking Elsa Carrington (Madeleine Carrol, who also starred in The 39 Steps). But that’s not all he finds. A flashy American socialite by the name of Robert Marvin (Robert Young) has zeroed in on Elsa and is determined to steal her away from her “husband”. The advances are so obvious that it makes me wonder how brazen people actually were back then.

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The Hitchcock Haul: The 39 Steps 

the-thirty-nine-steps-novelMy first exposure to the property of The Thirty-Nine Steps was when my aunt vigorously campaigned to watch the Hitchcock filmΒ during some holiday get-together last year. Unfortunately, the only version Netflix had was the 1959 rendition. We began it, but I don’t think we ever finished. In addition to these two film versions, there is another film version from the ’70s, and a stage play based on a combination of the Hitchcock film and the novel (the two vary quite a bit). Obviously, this is a popular work.

Lucky for me, Hulu Plus has the 1935 Hitchcock version as part of their Criterion Collection collection, if you will. I found the original screen adaptation of John Buchan‘s adventure novel of the same name to be charming, exciting, and a hell of a lot of good fun!Β I would say, however, that it contains two of the worst on-screen deaths I have ever seen.

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