William Pitt the Younger riding on the back of George III while surveying the French squadron, 1803. © Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee Carnavalet, Paris / Bridgeman Images.


Volume IX, Number 1 | winter 2016


About the first spy film, made in 1898, almost nothing is known besides its name, Execution of the Spanish Spy. Made two years later, Execution of a Spy was a twenty-seven-foot reel showing a firing squad executing a spy in a military prison. In The Female Spy, from 1906, a woman is tied to a horse by her hair and dragged behind it.

There is a sickness among tyrants: they cannot trust their friends.

—Aeschylus, c. 458 BC