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British Agent

A powerful yarn of espionage during the early days of the Russian revolution. Leslie Howard and Kay Francis handle the two chief roles tellingly. Story comes from a novel by R. H. Bruce Lockhart, with much liberty taken in the screen version.

With:
Leslie Howard Kay Francis William Gargan Philip Reed Irving Pichel J. Carrol Naish

A powerful yarn of espionage during the early days of the Russian revolution. Leslie Howard and Kay Francis handle the two chief roles tellingly. Story comes from a novel by R. H. Bruce Lockhart, with much liberty taken in the screen version.

Yarn has Howard spotted in Russia, just prior to the rebellion, as the British consul-general. Russia wants to break away from the war and sign a separate peace with Germany. England doesn’t want, and here the adaptation goes on its own. In the film England also doesn’t want the hero to butt in. But he is so determined in his belief that Russia must be kept in the war that he conducts a one-man campaign against Bolshevism.

Romantic element is via Francis, cast as Lenin’s secretary. Howard accidentally saves her life, and they fall in love. Through the revolution the romance continues, but it is kept in check though never lost sight of.

Historical accuracy is attempted by the portrayal of Trotsky, Lenin, David Lloyd George and others. Not a perfect job but well done generally.

British Agent

Production: First National/Warner. Director Michael Curtiz; Screenplay Laird Doyle; Camera Ernest Haller; Editor Thomas Richards; Music Leo F. Forbstein (dir.); Art Director Anton Grot

Crew: (B&W) Extract of a review from 1934. Running time: 75 MIN.

With: Leslie Howard Kay Francis William Gargan Philip Reed Irving Pichel J. Carrol Naish

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