Confidential Agent


1h 58m 1945
Confidential Agent

Brief Synopsis

A Spanish spy and an American heiress battle fascists in England.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adventure
Mystery
Thriller
War
Spy
Release Date
Nov 10, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Confidential Agent by Graham Greene (London, 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 58m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Denard, a former musician now working for the Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War, travels to England with a letter of credit to buy a large amount of coal from the British in order to keep it out of the hands of the fascist rebels. Upon landing in England, Denard is detained in customs and misses his train. Rose Cullin, the daughter of Lord Benditch, a coal tycoon, has also missed the train and offers Denard a lift in her rented car. When the car has a flat tire, Rose suggests that they stop at a restaurant and have a meal while the tire is being repaired. Licata, the fascist agent, has also stopped at the restaurant and offers to buy Denard's letter of credit. Denard, whose wife and daughter were murdered by the fascists, rejects his offer. Unable to persuade Rose to leave the roadhouse, Denard takes the car, but is stopped on the road by Licata, his chauffeur, Rose and Captain Currie, a British fascist sympathizer. The chauffeur beats Denard, and while he is unconscious, Licata searches his wallet but does not find the letter which Denard earlier hid in his shoe. Completing his journey on foot, Denard arrives at a hotel owned by his countrywoman Mrs. Melandez. Rose calls him there and asks him to meet her so that she can apologize. In the meantime, Denard meets Contreras, his contact, at a language school. Afterward, on his way to meet Rose, Denard is ambushed. Denard accuses Rose of setting him up, but she reveals that Currie also knew they were planning to meet. Denard then tells Rose why he is in England, and she advises him on the best way to approach her father with his request. At the hotel, Else, the young maid, warns Denard that Melandez and Contreras have searched his room and are waiting for him. Melandez first accuses Denard of selling his letter of credit to Licata, then shows him a letter relieving him of his assignment. Denard does not trust Melandez, however, and announces that he will complete his mission. He asks Else to keep the letter of credit during the night and the next morning tells Melandez that he plans to take the girl with him after his work is finished. Later, when Melandez is ordered to make trouble for Denard, she kills Else by pushing her out the window. Before Denard can complete his deal with Lord Benditch, his letter of credit is stolen, and he is arrested for Else's murder. Denard pulls a gun and escapes, determined to avenge the dead girl. At the hotel, he overhears Mr. Muckerji, another tenant, tell Melandez that he has informed the police that a witness saw her murder Else. Melandez then poisons herself. Although Denard is now unable to buy coal to keep it from the enemy, he decides to try to stop the miners from re-opening the closed mines. He makes an impassioned speech, telling the miners that the coal will be used to make munitions in Spain, but the men are more interested in jobs than in politics until a miner whose son is fighting in Spain speaks on behalf of the Loyalists. One of Licata's men shoots at Denard, and in the ensuing confusion, Rose helps Denard escape. She asks her father's friend, Forbes, who wants to marry her, to help Denard leave the country. Before he returns to Spain, Denard learns that the contract between the mine owners and the fascists has been canceled. When he boards the ship that will take him home, Denard finds Rose waiting for him.

Cast

Charles Boyer

Denard

Lauren Bacall

Rose Cullen

Katina Paxinou

Mrs. Melandez

Peter Lorre

Contreras

Victor Francen

Licata

George Coulouris

Captain Currie

Wanda Hendrix

Else

John Warburton

Forbes

Dan Seymour

Mr. Muckerji

George Zucco

Inspector Geddes

Miles Mander

Brigstock

Lawrence Grant

Lord Fetting

Holmes Herbert

Lord Benditch

Art Foster

Chauffeur

Olaf Hytten

Harry Bates

Herbert Wyndham

Fortescue

William Stack

Butler

Guy Bellis

Butler

Herbert Clifton

Jarvis

David Martin Jones

Second detective

Bill Ellfeldt

Piano player

Bert Kalmar

Man at table

Jack Carter

Singer

Stanley Mann

Singer

Lynne Baggett

Singer

Arthur Gould-porter

Flirt

Alec Harford

Bartender

Gordon Richards

Immigration officer

Keith Hitchcock

Plainclothes man

Charles Knight

Customs officer

Montague Shaw

Customs officer

Leighton Noble

Piano player

Laura Treadwell

White-haired woman

Gerald Hamer

Waiter

James Fowler

Attendant

Percival Vivian

Man on road

Grace Hampton

Woman on road

Rosemary Sharples

Patron

Ruth Vivian

Secretary

Ian Wolfe

Dr. Bellows

Gilbert Allen

London bobby

John Goldsworthy

Beggar

Creighton Hale

Postman

Trevor Tromain

Policeman

Brandon Hurst

Lancashire man on train

Geoffrey Steele

Hotel clerk

Henry Mowbray

Radigan

Rex Evans

Hanley

Harry Cording

Rugged man

James Began

Rugged man

John Rogers

Seaman

Leland Hodgson

Freight officer

Barbara Trevor

Woman praying

Charles Mcnaughton

Miner

Reginald Sheffield

Miner

Cyril Delevanti

Miner

Bobby Hale

Miner

George Broughton

Miner

David Hughes

Miner

Colin Campbell

Miner

Tom Pilkington

Miner

Arthur Stenning

Miner

Harry Allen

Miner

Wilson Benge

Miner

Alan Edmiston

Miner

Wally Scott

Miner

Cyril Thornton

Miner

Will Stanton

Miner

Ben Webster

Miner

George Kirby

Miner

Charles Hall

Miner

Daniel M. Sheridan

Miner

Bob Stephenson

Miner

Al Ferguson

Miner

Frank Hagney

Miner

Frank Leigh

Miner

Marie Debecker

Miner's wife

Hilda Plowright

Miner's wife

Clara Reis

Miner's wife

Sylvia Andrew

Miner's wife

Pat Dennison

Miner's wife

Mae Roberts

Miner's wife

Monnie Leon

Miner's wife

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adventure
Mystery
Thriller
War
Spy
Release Date
Nov 10, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Confidential Agent by Graham Greene (London, 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 58m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Confidential Agent


After Lauren Bacall's stunning film debut in To Have and Have Not (1944), the big question in Hollywood was, what will she do for an encore? The answer should have been The Big Sleep (1946), another pairing with Bogart and actually the second film she shot. But that film was still being tinkered with, and Warner Bros. was in a hurry to capitalize on Bacall's sudden stardom, so instead they rushed her third film, Confidential Agent (1945), into theaters.

Based on a Graham Greene novel, Confidential Agent is the story of a Spanish musician (Charles Boyer) who becomes a reluctant spy in England during the Spanish Civil War. Bacall plays the daughter of an English lord, who helps Boyer. Bacall would later say, "To cast me as an aristocratic English girl was more than a stretch. It was dementia." Most critics agreed, giving her scathing reviews. And she didn't get much help from Herman Shumlin, a stage director who was directing his second film. He never directed another.

Yet at least one important critic liked the film, and the star. James Agee wrote "Lauren Bacall is still amateurish and she is about as English as Pocahontas, but her very individual vitality more than makes up for her deficiencies." And author Graham Greene -- himself a film critic -- thought Bacall was fine. He pointed out that "the girl was only second generation nouveau riche, and therefore Miss Bacall was right in not giving her any real aristocratic air." Greene liked Confidential Agent the best of all his filmed works.

For Charles Boyer's world-weary agent, there was unanimous praise. Long typecast as a Continental Lover, he had the chance to show what a subtle, multifaceted actor he was. As the villains, Peter Lorre and Katina Paxinou were at their nasty best. Robert Buckner's screenplay captured Greene's moral ambiguity, and cinematographer James Wong Howe captured the drearyness. Although Confidential Agent was not a success in 1945, today's sophisticated audiences may agree with critic Lewis Archibald that "as many another 'classic' retreats with its time and place, something about films like Confidential Agent manages to stay always fresh and useful."

Director: Herman Shumlin
Producer: Robert Buckner
Screenplay: Robert Buckner, Jack Daniel (dialogue), based on the novel by Graham Greene
Cinematography: James Wong Howe
Editor: George Amy
Art Direction: Leo Kuter
Music: Franz Waxman
Cast: Charles Boyer (Denard), Lauren Bacall (Rose Cullen), Katina Paxinou (Mrs. Melandez), Peter Lorre (Contreras), Victor Francen (Licata), George Coulouris (Captain Currie).
BW-118m. Closed Captioning.

by Margarita Landazuri
Confidential Agent

Confidential Agent

After Lauren Bacall's stunning film debut in To Have and Have Not (1944), the big question in Hollywood was, what will she do for an encore? The answer should have been The Big Sleep (1946), another pairing with Bogart and actually the second film she shot. But that film was still being tinkered with, and Warner Bros. was in a hurry to capitalize on Bacall's sudden stardom, so instead they rushed her third film, Confidential Agent (1945), into theaters. Based on a Graham Greene novel, Confidential Agent is the story of a Spanish musician (Charles Boyer) who becomes a reluctant spy in England during the Spanish Civil War. Bacall plays the daughter of an English lord, who helps Boyer. Bacall would later say, "To cast me as an aristocratic English girl was more than a stretch. It was dementia." Most critics agreed, giving her scathing reviews. And she didn't get much help from Herman Shumlin, a stage director who was directing his second film. He never directed another. Yet at least one important critic liked the film, and the star. James Agee wrote "Lauren Bacall is still amateurish and she is about as English as Pocahontas, but her very individual vitality more than makes up for her deficiencies." And author Graham Greene -- himself a film critic -- thought Bacall was fine. He pointed out that "the girl was only second generation nouveau riche, and therefore Miss Bacall was right in not giving her any real aristocratic air." Greene liked Confidential Agent the best of all his filmed works. For Charles Boyer's world-weary agent, there was unanimous praise. Long typecast as a Continental Lover, he had the chance to show what a subtle, multifaceted actor he was. As the villains, Peter Lorre and Katina Paxinou were at their nasty best. Robert Buckner's screenplay captured Greene's moral ambiguity, and cinematographer James Wong Howe captured the drearyness. Although Confidential Agent was not a success in 1945, today's sophisticated audiences may agree with critic Lewis Archibald that "as many another 'classic' retreats with its time and place, something about films like Confidential Agent manages to stay always fresh and useful." Director: Herman Shumlin Producer: Robert Buckner Screenplay: Robert Buckner, Jack Daniel (dialogue), based on the novel by Graham Greene Cinematography: James Wong Howe Editor: George Amy Art Direction: Leo Kuter Music: Franz Waxman Cast: Charles Boyer (Denard), Lauren Bacall (Rose Cullen), Katina Paxinou (Mrs. Melandez), Peter Lorre (Contreras), Victor Francen (Licata), George Coulouris (Captain Currie). BW-118m. Closed Captioning. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film begins with the following written statement: "In October 1937, a man crossed the English Channel knowing that the success or failure of his confidential mission could mean victory or defeat for his people." Robert Buckner's onscreen credit reads "Screen Play and Produced by." According to a news item in Daily Variety, Warner Bros. intended the film as a vehicle for Humphrey Bogart and Eleanor Parker. Katina Paxinou was borrowed from Paramount for the film. Confidential Agent marked Wanda Hendrix's film debut.