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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I Was a Spy
I Was a Spy 1933 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVictor Saville
Herbert Mason (Assistant Director)
Frank Sherwin Green (Assistant Director)
Screenplay by
Based onI Was a Spy
by Marthe Cnockaert
Produced byMichael Balcon
CinematographyCharles Van Enger
Edited byFrederick Y. Smith
Music byLouis Levy (music director)
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 4 September 1933 (1933-09-04) (UK)
  • 15 December 1933 (1933-12-15) (USA)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

I Was a Spy is a 1933 British thriller film directed by Victor Saville and starring Madeleine Carroll, Herbert Marshall, and Conrad Veidt. Based on the 1932 memoir I Was a Spy by Marthe Cnockaert, the film is about her experiences as a Belgian woman who nursed German soldiers during World War I while passing intelligence to the British.[1]

I Was a Spy was also the first film dubbed in Poland (while there were earlier examples of films dubbed in Polish, they were recorded in Paramount studio in Joinville, France), released in 1935 as Siostra Marta jest szpiegiem, starring Lidia Wysocka as Martha Cnockhaert's voice. The screenplay was written by Edmund Gwenn.[2]


In German-occupied Belgium in 1914, a local woman nurses injured German soldiers while passing information to the British.[3]



Filming took place in Shepherds Bush. Producer Michael Balcon sent Herbert Mason (who was initially production manager before becoming an assistant director) to take the script to Belgium and give it to Marthe Cnockaert to look at.[4][3]


In a poll conducted by the magazine Film Weekly, the film was voted the best British movie of 1932, and Madeleine Carroll's performance was voted the best in a British movie.[5]

Although it was very successful at the box office,[3] this was not Saville's reaction. He watched the completed I Was a Spy with one of the Assistant Directors, Herbert Mason, and was devastated: however, Mason reassured him that it was his "best to date."[6]

Halliwell's Film & Video Guide described the film as "[good] standard war espionage melodrama."[7]

In 2021, film critic and author, Derek Winnert praised the cast and their performances.[3]

Home media

I Was a Spy was released on DVD on 19 May 2014.[3]



  1. ^ BFI Database
  2. ^ Dolny, Zbigniew (24 March 2019). ""Siostra Marta jest szpiegiem" – przedwojenna recenzja dubbingu". Retrieved 23 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Derek Winnert (25 January 2021). "I Was a Spy". Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  4. ^ Balcon, 1969, p. 74
  5. ^ "BEST FILM PERFORMANCE LAST YEAR". The Examiner (LATE NEWS EDITION and DAILY ed.). Launceston, Tasmania. 9 July 1937. p. 8. Retrieved 4 March 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Moseley, 2000, p. 69
  7. ^ John Walker (1998). Halliwell's Film & Video Guide (13 ed.). HarperCollins Publishers. p. 381.


  • Balcon, Michael. (1969). Michael Balcon Presents...A Lifetime of Films. Hutchinson & Co Ltd
  • Moseley, Roy. (2000). Evergreen: Victor Saville in His Own Words. Southern Illinois University Press
  • Walker, John. (ed). (1998). Halliwell's Film & Video Guide 1998. HarperCollins Entertainment. 13th edition

External links

This page was last edited on 27 June 2022, at 16:37
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