Secret Agent of Japan

Secret Agent of Japan is a 1942 film directed by Irving Pichel. It was the first American anti-Japanese war film produced by a major studio after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The film stars Preston Foster as a nightclub owner in Shanghai who becomes involved in espionage revolving around preparations for the attack.

Secret Agent of Japan
Directed byIrving Pichel
Written byJohn Larkin
StarringPreston Foster
Lynn Bari
CinematographyLucien N. Andriot
Edited byAlfred Day
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 21, 1942 (1942-03-21) (New York City)[1]
  • April 3, 1942 (1942-04-03) (USA)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States


Critical reception

The film drew mixed reviews from critics. Theodore Strauss of New York Times panned the film, calling it "a very mild hate-brew" and "third-rate drama", and stating, "Nowadays, we doubt whether anybody, even Hirohito, will be much excited".[2] Variety wrote that "the picture doesn't achieve more than moderately entertaining proportions for the adult ... Foster and Miss Bari show off excellently, though some of the supporting parts are pretty awful."[3] Film Daily called it "a rousing melodrama" but found the twists and turns of the plot confusing.[4] Harrison's Reports wrote: "An engrossing espionage melodrama that is timely. The story value is good, and competent direction and excellent performances help maintain the interest throughout."[5]


  1. "March 21, 1942". The Second World War - A Day By Day Account. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  2. T.S. (March 23, 1942). "Secret Agent of Japan (1942)". New York Times.
  3. "Film Reviews". Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. March 11, 1942. p. 8.
  4. "Reviews of the New Films". Film Daily. New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.: 4 March 16, 1942.
  5. "'Secret Agent of Japan' with Preston Foster and Lynn Bari". Harrison's Reports: 44. March 14, 1942.
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