Spy Movies - The Early Years
The third genre thriller of the decade by Hitchcock. This time a British officer is sent on a secret mission to Switzerland. It includes a killer, brilliantly known as, ‘The Hairless Mexican.’
The spy and espionage genre of film first started to fill out in the 1930s, with the introduction of Alfred Hitchcock, the father of the espionage thriller. As the British director was a story teller supreme it is hardly surprising that the early films were gadget free espionage thrillers with complex stories, twists and turns.
1935 - The Man Who Knew Too Much
Alfred Hitchcock’s first foray into the world of spies actually began as an adaptation of a Bulldog Drummond story, which involved international conspiracies and baby kidnapping. The deal fell through and the plot was regenerated with the title taken from a GK Chesterton book. What begins with a couple on holiday in Switzerland, an assassination of a spy and the passing of secret information prior to his death to the unwitting wife, sets off a chase to London, further assassination attempts and a climax, which we won’t spoil...
1946 - Notorious
Another Hitchcock classic, and this time a love story that sees movie legends Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains entangled in an espionage operation. The post Second World War films would come thick and fast, with the victorious allies making almost all of them. Bergman is the American daughter of a captured Nazi spy, who is recruited to infiltrate an organisation of Nazis that have relocated to Brazil.
1956 - The Man Who Knew Too Much
James Stewart and Doris Day starred in this remake of Hitchcock’s 1934 thriller. When asked why he remade the film, the director said, "Let's say the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional."
1959 - North by Nothwest
Another tale of mistaken identity. This time, Hitchcock’s innocent man is chased across the United States by a mysterious organisation who want to prevent his interference in their plans to smuggle microfilm containing government secrets.