I just watched Joe Wright’s brilliant Hanna and watching all the assassins and spies fighting their secret battles reminded me of Fritz Lang’s 1928 masterpiece Spione aka Spies.

For those you haven’t seen Hanna – read Jorge Ignacio Castillo’s review and then go see it. While Hanna is about a young girl trained to kill and is more about her dealing with her upbringing – seeing any spy movie always reminds me of Fritz Lang’s contribution to the genre.

Spione is the great grandfather for the James Bond movies. It features an evil organization lead by a mysterious mastermind. The hero is known only by a number – 326. And the film is filmed with femme fatales and double agents.

The plot has to do with an mysterious agency trying to disrupt a secret treaty with Japan. Agent 326 is assigned to go after the organization. There are all sorts of death traps, dangerous women, misled allies and nasty assassinations. The film was made after the commercial failure of Metropolis on a significantly smaller budget. It was a huge success commercially.

Spione was written by Lang’s wife Thea von Harbou, and starred Lang regular Rudolf Klein-Rogge (the evil Dr. Mabuse and the evil mad scientist Rotwang in Metropolis) as the head of the evil spy agency. The film falls in the cracks of Lang’s other great works Metropolis and his first talkie M. The film is devoid of political and social messages but it’s great entertainment and there’s nothing wrong with just enjoying a movie.