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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Charles Bennett (screenplay), Joan Harrison (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... John Jones
Laraine Day ... Carol Fisher
Herbert Marshall ... Stephen Fisher
George Sanders ... Ffolliott
Albert Bassermann ... Van Meer (as Albert Basserman)
Robert Benchley ... Stebbins
Edmund Gwenn ... Rowley
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Mr. Krug (as Eduardo Cianelli)
Harry Davenport ... Mr. Powers
Martin Kosleck ... Tramp
Frances Carson Frances Carson ... Mrs. Sprague
Ian Wolfe ... Stiles
Charles Wagenheim Charles Wagenheim ... Assassin
Eddie Conrad ... Latvian (as Edward Conrad)
Charles Halton ... Bradley
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Storyline

Johnny Jones is an action reporter on a New York newspaper. The editor appoints him European correspondent because he is fed up with the dry, reports he currently gets. Jones' first assignment is to get the inside story on a secret treaty agreed between two European countries by the famous diplomat, Mr. Van Meer. However things don't go to plan and Jones enlists the help of a young woman to help track down a group of spies. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The thrill spectacle of the year! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Dutch | Latvian

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Personal History See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,484,588
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alfred Hitchcock took great interest in the scenes of the spy ring operating inside of a Dutch windmill. The creaky, atmospheric set was three-tiered and equipped with working gears, important to the plot as our hero's coat becomes entangled in them. Also built for the movie was an airplane equipped with four propeller motors, a wingspan of one hundred twenty feet, and an eighty-four-foot fuselage, most of which ended up in a giant studio tank. See more »

Goofs

The name of London's famous Carlton Hotel is spelled correctly on the two telegrams addressed to Haverstock that are shown onscreen. However it is misspelled on the cap of the doorman who opens the door to the cab for Van Meer, incorrectly written as "Carleton". See more »

Quotes

John Jones: [Powers is giving Jones instructions on whom he should interview in Europe] Anyone else?
Mr. Powers: No.
John Jones: Well how about Hitler? Don't you think it would be a good idea to pump him? He must have something on his mind.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: To those intrepid ones who went across the seas to be the eyes and ears of America... To those forthright ones who early saw the clouds of war while many of us at home were seeing rainbows... To those clear-headed ones who now stand like recording angels among the dead and dying... To the Foreign Correspondents - this motion picture is dedicated. See more »

Alternate Versions

Due to its political theme, no German distributor was willing to show the film until 1960. Then, after the huge success of Psycho, Constantin Film released the film with a running time of ca. 98 Minutes; approximately 22 minutes were cut, mainly Nazi-sequences. ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) showed the film in 1995 for the first time ever in Germany in a newly-dubbed uncut version. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in High Anxiety (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(1740) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Background music played as a ship pulls out of the harbor
See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining, Exciting, and Masterfully Constructed
25 May 2001 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

While not as well-known today as some of his later films, Alfred Hitchcock's spy thriller "Foreign Correspondent" is entertaining, exciting, and masterfully constructed. Though lacking the star power of some of the great director's more famous movies, the cast is very good, the settings are wonderfully conceived, and the story and writing keep the viewer's attention at all times. It has everything we hope for from Hitchcock: action, suspense, and a good dose of humor.

The plot is a complicated one, beginning when American reporter Johnny Jones (Joel McCrea) is sent to Europe just before the outbreak of World War II. Expected to send back news about the possibility of war, Jones stumbles across an espionage ring that is using kidnapping and murder in an attempt to get important government secrets for use in the coming war. The action goes from England to Holland and back to England, with Jones constantly escaping from danger as he tries to get the details of the spy plot for his newspaper. It does take some effort to follow everything that is happening, but there are many action sequences and a lot of good writing - with many fine touches of humor - that make it easy to pay attention.

In the lead role, McCrea performs with the easy-going understatement that typifies the heroes of Hitchcock's earlier films. Laraine Day is pleasant if unspectacular as McCrea's romantic interest, whose father (played nicely by Herbert Marshall) is also one of the key figures on the international scene. The supporting cast also has some fine actors. George Sanders for once gets to play a good guy, Robert Benchley is very funny as McCrea's fellow foreign correspondent, and Albert Basserman is touching as an old diplomat who has seen too much of the world's troubles.

But it is the action sequences and the settings that really make the film. Hitchcock's expert hand can be seen in almost every setting, and he displays a wealth of creative ideas here equal to any of his films. Particularly good are the memorable windmill scenes and the exciting climactic sequence in mid-ocean. This final sequence is not only thrilling, it also perfectly completes all of the film's action and themes.

"Foreign Correspondent" contains plenty of excitement, humor, and suspense, along with some of Hitchcock's best set pieces. It is highly recommended.


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