Competent and experienced hand of the director is apparent throughout this production, which is a smart one and executed in a business-like manner from start to finish.
Competent and experienced hand of the director is apparent throughout this production, which is a smart one and executed in a business-like manner from start to finish.But the story, somehow, seems outmoded. Joseph Conrad was never a dramatist, and his novels were dependent altogether upon his genius for descriptive writing. Film play [from Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent] is, therefore, more or less obscure in plot. It revolves around a secret organization which hires people to plant bombs in crowded sections of London, but the reason for their desire to systematically blow up innocent persons is not made clear. Film thus just misses being great. Oscar Homolka’s performance of the harassed victim of the sabotage organization into whose clutches he has fallen is a brilliant piece of character acting. Sylvia Sydney seems to have been circumscribed by plot deficiency.
Gaumont-British. Director Alfred Hitchcock; Producer Michael Balcon; Screenplay Charles Bennett, Ian Hay, Helen Simpson, E.V.H. Emmett; Camera Bernard Knowles; Editor Charles Frend; Music Louis Levy; Art Director Otto Werndorff, Albert Jullion
(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 76 MIN.
Sylvia Sydney Oscar Homolka Desmond Tester John Loder Joyce Barbour Matthew Boulton