7.2/10
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7 user 1 critic

The Secret Adversary (1983)

After two old friends accidentally meet and resolve to become investigators for hire, they quickly become embroiled in a missing treaty and a Bolshevik conspiracy.

Director:

Tony Wharmby

Writers:

Agatha Christie (novel), Pat Sandys (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Warwick ... Tommy Beresford
Francesca Annis ... Tuppence Cowley
Gavan O'Herlihy ... Julius P. Hersheimmer
Alec McCowen ... Sir James Peele Edgerton
Honor Blackman ... Rita Vandemeyer
Peter Barkworth ... Mr. Carter
Toria Fuller ... Jane Finn / Annette
John Fraser ... Kramenin
George Baker ... Whittington
Donald Houston ... Boris
Joseph Brady ... Dr. Hall
Wolf Kahler ... The German
Reece Dinsdale ... Albert
Peter Lovstrom ... Henry
Matthew Scurfield ... Conrad
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Storyline

Childhood friends Tommy and Tuppence (Prudence) meet in London after having served in World War I. Recently "demobed", short of money, and with no job prospects, they decide to become adventurers for hire. Soon, they are employed by the British Government to locate a secret treaty signed before the war. Bolsheviks, kidnappings, missing persons, and a marriage proposal for Tuppence, keep things moving for The Young Adventurers, Ltd. Written by Mike Smith <mismith@brody.med.ecu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1983 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Тайный противник See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is very accurate in comparison to the book. See more »

Goofs

In the final dinner scene, a fly lands on Julius Hersheimmer's hand. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tommy Beresford: Tuppence?
Tuppence Cowley: Tommy! You! Of all people, you.
[They embrace. Tuppence shows Tommy the bread crumbs in her hand]
Tuppence Cowley: Ducks.
Tommy Beresford: Of course.
Tuppence Cowley: Oh, dear old bean.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Partners in Crime (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable Agatha Christie

I'd see anything adapted from Agatha Christie, as I love her books and writing style. On films and TV, there have been some real gems, like with the Russian and 1945 versions of And Then There Were None, Witness for the Prosecution, Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express, the Peter Ustinov films of Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun and most of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple and David Suchet Poirot adaptations. Not all adaptations of her work has been great mind, seen with Austin Trevor's Lord Edgware Dies, The Alphabet Murders, the 1989 version of Ten Little Indians and Alfred Molina's Murder on the Orient Express, the worst of the Geraldine McEwan Marple adaptations were similarly hard to sit through.

Fortunately, The Secret Adversary does work as an adaptation and on its own. It's not a gem, but in no way is it a disgrace. It does drag at times in the middle and Gavan O'Herlihy's acting does come across as awkward. If you love Tommy and Tuppence and the TV series Partners in Crime, you'll like The Secret Adversary. If you don't, you may want to look elsewhere. Tommy and Tuppence may not be as interesting or as distinctive as Miss Marple and Poirot, but the stories they feature in still have Agatha Christie's unmistakable style and they are compelling enough. Partners in Crime is a very fun and light-hearted series that will cheer anybody up, a feeling that you do get also in The Secret Adversary.

Again, fortunately what is good about The Secret Adversary more than makes up for any reservations. It looks good certainly, the somewhat soft-grained image does have an 80s look, but even they don't take away from the sumptuous period detail and the simple but effective way it is shot. The scenery and cars are very evocative to period, while I can't help admiring the fashions. The music has a certain jauntiness to it that doesn't jar with the atmosphere, while the writing is droll and thoughtful. The story is engrossing and keeps us guessing until the very end, which was a big surprise. True the pace does lull and there is a lot going on that it can come across as rather complicated sometimes. A couple of re-watches might help though.

The acting is fine, there is a lot of talent here and they give their all to characters(of which there is many, any complaints though of being too many is valid and understandable) that do engage and don't kill the story. James Warwick and Francesca Annis are great in the lead roles and work beautifully together, while Reece Dinsdale is a lively presence as Albert and George Baker, Honor Blackman and Alex McCowen make memorable impressions as well. In conclusion, enjoyable, well worth seeing. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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