Joel McCrea is TCM”s Star of the Month for May 2012 and I admit I hadn’t really given him much thought. But sometimes all it takes to appreciate someone’s work is further exposure to it, and so it is with McCrea. He has a mellow, old-fashioned all-American quality that is really growing on me. He is really good in Espionage Agent (1939) as the diplomat whose wife (Brenda Marshall) has been forced into spying for the Nazis in the early part of WWII, before the US entered the war.
The film has the same producer as Casablanca, Hal Wallis, and it shares an anti-isolationist perspective with that picture and with Foreign Correspondent, which also starred McCrea. Agent is like a cross between Correspondent, Night Train to Munich and Confessions of a Nazi Spy. No wonder I really liked it.
What I also really dig about this film is the typography. It’s just really lovely. Espionage Agent isn’t available on video in any format…maybe Warner Archive will release it someday…for now we’ll have to rely on photos of my TV that I took with my phone.
10 thoughts on “Movie Typography: ESPIONAGE AGENT”
Yeah, McCrea had an easy going sense about him. He was definitely underrated because of that manner, perhaps. Good point about the typography on display with this film. Fine look at it, Paula.
Thanks Michael 🙂 You’re right…he never really seems like he’s acting and so was easily overlooked.
Oh wow, haven’t seen confessions of a nazi spy but did see night train and liked it. I haven’t seen Foreign C for years! Must see that again
Yeah I love Foreign Correspondent! I can’t remember if you have TCM or not, Val? They show it every 2-3 months or so. I know Netflix has it as a DVD, you can’t watch it online any more. I think it’s on Hulu though 🙂
Being a big western fan, I really appreciate McCrea’s work. He more or less specialized in westerns as he got older, and did some great stuff in the process, but his career was amazingly varied and his star ought to shine brighter these days.
HI Colin, thanks for stopping by! I agree, he worked in most of the genres and should be better known. For whatever reason, his movies are seen less often, so fewer people are aware, so his movies are seen less often….etc. For myself, I’m not the hugest Western fan so I had no idea how many he’d made. But I’m working on it 🙂
This is totally an awesome use of fonts. Maybe not as good as E.A., but still pretty good is the opening in _My Man Godfrey_.
My Man Godfrey has excellent typography too though…maybe that’s another post.
Nice post. I love the typography on the stills you post. Classic movies have such character on typography!
Thanks for stopping by! Isn’t it lovely? The classic movies do have some great type going on. I think it may be because it was all hand-made back then. I have a whole bunch of these planned, just not sure when I’ll be able to get to them.