Luis Denard (Charles Boyer) is a confidential agent, traveling to England to buy coal. He used to be a musician, but now he’s involved in the Spanish Civil War, and he wants to keep the coal out of the hands of the fascists by buying it out before they can get to it.
Also traveling on Denard’s ship is Rose Cullen (Lauren Bacall), a wealthy young woman whose father is a coal tycoon. When he and Rose both miss the train after landing in England, Rose offers to give Denard a ride to London in her rented car.
But this will be no rosy road trip: trouble awaits Denard and, by association, Rose, when they hit the road.
Confidential Agent was directed by Herman Shumlin, from a novel by Graham Greene.
This film is not quite as gripping as I hoped it would be, with the talents of Greene, Boyer and Bacall involved. There’s even an appearance by Peter Lorre, who I’ll watch in basically anything, adding more talent to the roster!
Lorre is a nice addition to the film and it’s a decent spy/political thriller, but nothing to write home about.
There are several effective moments of suspense, and a nicely-built atmosphere. The characters are also drawn in an interesting fashion, different facets of and changes in their personalities revealed as the film progresses.
I also did enjoy Lauren Bacall’s performance, my main reason for watching the film in the first place. She’s full of sass from her very first scene. While definitely not believable as an upper-crust British woman, if you think of her character instead as an American traveler, she’s great to watch!
As you can see there are several positives to the film, a handful of things to enjoy about it. But overall, it’s simply quite forgettable.