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British Agent

(1934 b 81')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Suggested by H. Bruce Lockhart's novel, a British diplomat tries to keep Russia in the war while falling in love with Lenin's secretary.

In 1917 Stephen Locke (Leslie Howard) warns that Russia will leave the war. In Petrograd Stephen is welcomed to the embassy by Stanley and attends a ball. Kolinoff (Gregory Gaye) assures them that Russia will not make a separate peace nor have a revolution but needs help. Riots break out, and Kolinoff leaves. People singing are shot. Elena (Kay Francis) shoots a soldier and escapes into the embassy, meeting Stephen. The Soviets take power but are not recognized by the British. Stephen is bored doing nothing. At a cafe he meets Elena and argues with her. Stephen takes Elena in a sleigh to his apartment, where he kisses her. Elena hears Stephen decode a message to stop Russia from making a peace.

Stephen sees American Bob Medill (William Gargan). At the table Stephen argues against the peace treaty and promises English trade but not officially. He asks for three weeks to get British aid for Russia. Stephen finds Elena in his flat and is angry. She says they can't fight England's war; but they make up. In London Stanley says Stephen promised too much. Elena goes to Stephen at the embassy and says that British troops have invaded Russia. Stephen says he only wanted to delay Russia's peace. Elena says she is going to Moscow with Lenin.

Stephen with his man Evan (Ivan S. Simpson) goes to the Moscow consulate. Bob, Tito Del Val (Cesar Romero), and Gaston LaFarge (Philip Reed) tell Stephen to support the white Russians. Col. Zvododu (Addison Richards) asks Stephen for money to help overthrow the Soviets, and Stephen agrees. Pavlov (Irving Pichel) tells Elena that Stephen is working for the whites and asks her to get a check for evidence. A woman shoots Lenin. Stephen finds Elena at home and says he failed. Elena tells him to leave Russia before he is deported, because she got evidence against him. Tito and Bob tell Stephen that Lenin was shot, and he is blamed. Elena goes to Lenin in the hospital and gives Pavlov the evidence. Soldiers break in the consulate and kill Evans. Col. Zvododu and Gaston are shot by firing squad. Tito goes to find out and is shot. Bob leaves, is captured and interrogated by Pavlov with torture but won't tell where Stephen is. Pavlov sends Elena to find Stephen. She asks Bob and says she can get Stephen out. Elena tells Pavlov that Stephen is with ammunition. Elena goes to Stephen to die with him; but Lenin revives and stops the terror. People sing. In the final scene Stephen and Elena leave on a train, waving good-bye to Bob.

This unusual historical drama shows how the early Soviet government worked for peace but was attacked by the West for not continuing the war.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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