TOP SECRET!
1984, Paramount, 90 min, USA, Dir: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Val Kilmer stars as an American rock star who gets sucked into the world of European espionage in the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team’s follow-up to their smash hit AIRPLANE! Taking shots at everything from Elvis movies to WWII action epics, this parody has more laughs per minute than just about any other film of the 1980s. With Omar Sharif as Agent Cedric.


TOPAZ
1969, Universal, 143 min, US, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock delves deeper into the world of Cold War espionage he’d plumbed in TORN CURTAIN, adapting this thriller from Leon Uris’ fact-based novel about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. When a defector reveals the Soviet plan to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, the CIA turns to French spy André Devereaux (Frederick Stafford) to gather intelligence. Complicating his work is a cadre of French double-agents codenamed “Topaz.” With Michel Piccoli and Philippe Noiret.


SECRET AGENT
1936, BFI, 86 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Based on stories by W. Somerset Maugham, this espionage tale stars John Gielgud as Richard Ashenden, a British officer dispatched to Switzerland to kill a German spy. Sent to assist him on the mission are seasoned assassin (and scene-stealer) Peter Lorre and Madeleine Carroll, who is posing as Ashenden’s wife – which does little to stop suave Robert Young from chasing her. With several years of sound filmmaking under his belt, Hitchcock makes brilliant use of such audio effects as a sustained organ note and a dog’s howl.


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