Foreign Correspondent

Foreign Correspondent

Alfred Hitchcock (1940)

115min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This is an immensely pleasurable spy story, set on the eve of the Second World War and ending with American reporter Joel McCrea warning of the danger to come. Director Alfred Hitchcock makes the most of some great set pieces, many of which are now acknowledged as key moments in the Hitchcock canon: an Amsterdam assassination (on a huge interior set) as umbrellas close ranks in the rain; tense moments inside a vast Dutch windmill; a plane crash where the air supply on board is slowly draining away; and a remarkable sequence in Westminster Cathedral, where Hitchcock's memorial service was held in memory of this film. The plot's twists and turns are cleverly and wittily maintained, and the supporting cast is impeccably chosen, notably Edmund Gwenn as a most untrustworthy bodyguard and Albert Basserman as the Dutch diplomat whose kidnap kick-starts the plot. This film can also be viewed as a major propagandist work from a Briton in exile, and was recognised as such by Nazi minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels himself. Unfortunately, those are the aspects which have dated the film, and it is also impaired by the lightweight casting of McCrea (Hitch wanted Gary Cooper) and Laraine Day in the leading roles. No matter, this is still marvellous Hitchcock, with the Master clearly at his most playful.

Summary

An American journalist posted to London is reporting the signing of a peace treaty when he witnesses the assassination of a Dutch diplomat. Investigating the killing further, he stumbles upon an underground spy network. Alfred Hitchcock's espionage thriller, starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn.

Cast & Crew

Johnny Jones / Huntley Haverstock Joel McCrea
Carol Fisher Laraine Day
Stephen Fisher Herbert Marshall
Scott Ffolliott George Sanders
Van Meer Albert Basserman
Stebbins Robert Benchley
Rowley Edmund Gwenn
Krug Eduardo Ciannelli
Tramp Martin Kosleck
Mr Powers Harry Davenport
Doreen Barbara Pepper
Latvian diplomat Eddie Conrad
Director Alfred Hitchcock
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: United Artists Corp. LtdAvailable on: video and DVD
Drama