Sound familiar? That’s the plot line for many of Hitchcock’s best films. “The 39 Steps”, “North by Northwest”, and “Rear Window”, just for some examples.
The movie is set in 1957, during the cold war. That was the year after Hitchcock released “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (the second version), which had that basic plot line, and the year before he released “Vertigo”.
What brings this to mind is that in thinking about the movie I decided that “Bridge of Spies” would have required zero changes to have Jimmy Stewart in the lead, and to have actually been filmed it that year. It was Stewart’s exact kind of movie. The dialog is perfectly suited to Stewart’s trademark stammering delivery, particularly scenes where he is being persuasive. No whiz-bang effects, just straight ahead camera work. I mentioned the similarity to Marion and she suggested Doris Day for the part of the wife of the Tom Hanks character, which is perfect. Doris Day was pretty good in “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.
Spielberg directed, and I have to wonder if this similarity was conscious. It is a good movie.