Espionage Agent

Espionage Agent is a pre–World War II spy melodrama produced by Hal B. Wallis in 1939. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, Espionage Agent, like many Warner Bros. movies, clearly identifies the Germans as the enemy. This was unlike many other movie studios during this period that did not want to antagonize foreign governments.

Espionage Agent
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Written byRobert Buckner (story)
Warren Duff
Frank Donaghue
StarringJoel McCrea
Brenda Marshall
Jeffrey Lynn
George Bancroft
Music byAdolph Deutsch
CinematographyCharles Rosher
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 22, 1939 (1939-09-22) (U.S.)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film was released on September 22, 1939, the day after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Neutrality Act allowing "Cash and Carry" provisions for countries fighting Germany and a little over four months after another Warner Bros. anti-Nazi film Confessions of a Nazi Spy.[1]


The film opens with a description of the Black Tom explosion of a munitions supply located in Jersey City on the Hudson River. The explosion, which occurred during World War I was an act of sabotage by German agents.

Barry Corvall (Joel McCrea), the son of a recently deceased American diplomat, has just got married. When he discovers that his new wife (Brenda Marshall) is a possible enemy agent, he resigns from the diplomatic service to go undercover to expose an espionage ring planning to destroy American industrial capability before war breaks out.

Traveling on a train in Germany, Corvall attempts to steal a briefcase with documents in an attempt to prove that the Nazis have been infiltrating vital industrial centers in the United States. With the help of his wife, he tries to foil the plans of the Nazi spy (Martin Kosleck).



  1. Michael E. Birdwell, Celluloid Soldiers - Warner Bros.'s Campaign against Nazism ISBN 0-8147-9871-3 (New York University Press, 1999)
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