Friday, November 26, 2010

Foreign Correspondent (1940).

Foreign Correspondent(1940). Spy/thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Bassermann and Robert Benchley and Edmund Gwenn.

The film was Hitchcock's second Hollywood film, the first was Rebecca and had many writers: Robert Benchley, Charles Bennett, Harold Clurman, Joan Harrison, Ben Hecht, James Hilton, John Howard Lawson, John Lee Mahin, Richard Maibaum, and Budd Schulberg, with Bennett, Benchley, Harrison, and Hilton the only writers credited in the finished film. It was based on Vincent Sheean's political memoir Personal History (1935), the rights to which were purchased by producer Walter Wanger.

The film was one of two Hitchcock films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1941, the other being Rebecca, which went on to win the award. Foreign Correspondent was nominated for six Academy Awards, including one for Albert Bassermann for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but did not win any.

Foreign Correspondent tells the story of Johnny Jones, an American newspaper writer who travels to England to report on the war as, Huntley Haverstock for the New York Globe. The young reporter's, first assignment is at an event held by Fisher, in honour of a diplomat named Van Meer. On the way to the party, Haverstock sees Van Meer and runs to interview him. Van Meer invites him to ride along in his car. At the party, Haverstock meets Fisher's daughter, Carol . Later, after Van Meer disappears, Fisher informs the guests that the guest of honor, Van Meer, will not be attending the party, instead he will be at a political conference in Amsterdam.

At the conference, Van Meer is shot by a man posing as a photographer. Haverstock, wanting to follow the assassin jumps into Carol and reporter Scott's car. They follow the assassin to a windmill in the countryside. Carol and Scott decide to go for help, Haverstock searches the windmill and is surprised who he finds. Will he be able to escape the kidnappers?

In my opinion the cast is very good, the settings are wonderfully put together. It has everything I look for in a Hitchcock film: action, suspense and humor.

Fun Facts:

Director Alfred Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper for the lead instead of Joel McCrea, but Cooper wasn't interested in doing a thriller. Which he later regretted.

Alfred Hitchcock had wanted either Barbara Stanwyck or Joan Fontaine for the female lead.

Alfred Hitchcock's eccentric marriage proposal to Alma Reville was written into the script.

Herbert Marshall's, first film was, Mumsie (1927). The actor spent many years playing romantic leads opposite stars: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davis, and starring in such classic films: Trouble in Paradise (1932), The Little Foxes (1941), and The Razor's Edge (1946). He was featured in both the 1929 and the more famous 1940 version of The Letter, first as the murdered lover, then the wronged husband.


  1. I'd love to see this one again some time. I've heard people call it a propaganda picture, but that's part of why it's so fascinating!

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