D: Alfred Hitchcock

General Film Distributors (Michael Balcon)

UK 🇬🇧 1936

76 mins


W: Charles Bennett [based on the novel “The Secret Agent” by Joseph Conrad]

DP: Bernard Knowles

Ed: Charles Frend

Mus: Jack Beaver

Sylvia Sidney (Mrs. Verloc), Oscar Homolka (Karl Anton Verloc), Desmond Tester (Stevie), John Loder (Sgt. Ted Spencer), Joyce Barbour (Renee), Matthew Boulton (Superintendent Talbot)

An early Hitchcock movie, produced and released when he was still making films in Britain, establishing himself as the master of suspense.

The plot surrounds a cinema owner, Mrs. Verloc, whose husband, Karl Anton Verloc, is leaking information and carrying out acts of terrorism for a network of spies from an unspecified European country.  A Scotland Yard detective investigates, as Karl’s next assignment is to place a bomb at Piccadilly Circus station during the Lord Mayor’s show, and though the detective has his suspicions, there is a race against time to prevent the plot.

The film is very speedy at a mere 76 minutes, but Hitchcock effectively builds the tension throughout, helped by solid performances from both Sylvia Sidney and Oscar Homolka. 

Though based on a Joseph Conrad novel called “The Secret Agent”, Hitchcock would also make another film the same year bearing this title, though based on different source material.  The film is also not to be confused with the same director’s 1942 film, Saboteur.


Oscar Homolka in Sabotage
Oscar Homolka in Sabotage