Secret Agent (1936)
There are some who see the Hitchcock genius as far back as his silent films, but I think until the 1940s it only comes in very brief flashes buried within films that should be better. I was all up for a good spy thriller and this one keeps you on your toes for a while because when your most reliable character is a double agent played by Peter Lorre, you really can't trust anyone. Unfortunately, as the pace starts to slack I realized the story's complexity was needlessly complex and only around to hide the very obvious bad guy in the ensemble.
Hitchcock does some interesting things with sound, where a single shrill noise will play while the tension builds. There's also a moment with a roulette wheel that's that flash of Hitchcockian style I was referring to. Peter Lorre is having a John Leguizamo of a time (his worst performance) which sticks out even more against the other bland leads.RATING: * *