I Was a Spy (1933)


Personal opinion: This is the film that defined Conrad’t quintessential role – the monocled, dangerous officer, who puts duty above everything, including love. I wouldn’t say he is a villain, but he is a character that exudes tension and a mix of passion and cold-blooded attitude. His “victim” here is the beautiful blonde and fine actress Madeleine Carroll (best known for Hitchcock’s 39 Steps and for The Prisoner of Zenda). Connie looks impeccable in elegant uniform and wearing monocle – obviously his trademark. My regret is that he hasn’t got here the leading role, but Herbert Marshall. As the title says, this is a spy film, one of the first of this genre in which Connie appeared over the next 10 years. This was also his first motion picture made in England as an immigrant from Germany. “I Was a Spy” has a few memorable scenes (such as the scene where the Commandant is trying to seduce the nurse) and is directed by Victor Saville (who also directed “Dark Journey”). It was very successful, even if what bothered me was the lack of musical score and of impressive sets. Unfortunately, several sequences were deleted, such as the one where the Commander is having a drink with Marthe at a café. It would be nice if the cut footage would be put back where it belonged, so we could trully enjoy this complex and very realistic film about the difficult times of World War I.


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