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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

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

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(screenplay), (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:
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Albert Bassermann ...
Van Meer (as Albert Basserman)
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...
Mr. Krug (as Eduardo Cianelli)
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Frances Carson ...
...
Charles Wagenheim ...
Eddie Conrad ...
Latvian (as Edward Conrad)
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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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA)  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut version: 120') (cut) (uncut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The music being used for by the Germans in the torture of Van Meer is Chick Webb's "Harlem Congo". See more »

Goofs

Window shadow on Johnny's jacket changes while in his boss's office. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Jones: If you knew how much I love you, you'd faint.
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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 »

Connections

References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses from the South, Opus 388
(1880) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss
Background music at a party
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User Reviews

Entertaining, Exciting, and Masterfully Constructed
25 May 2001 | by (Ohio) – See 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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