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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although Eduardo Ciannelli's name is spelled "Cianelli" in the comprehensive end credits, his name is correctly spelled in the opening credits. See more »
In the chase scene at the windmill site the aircraft circling is in two scenes a single-engine, single-tail, high-wing type, and in a subsequent scene it suddenly becomes a twin-engine, twin-tail, low-wing aircraft. See more »
I don't want any more economists, sages, or oracles bombinating over our cables. I want a reporter. Somebody who doesn't know the difference between an ism and a kangaroo.
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In a recent viewing of my VHS copy of Foreign Correspondent, I hadn't realized how dated it was and also how silly the plot was. Not worthy of the master of suspense.
Foreign Correspondent was the second film that Alfred Hitchcock made in America and it was a one shot deal for independent producer Walter Wanger. That other well known independent producer David O. Selznick got some big bucks for Hitch's services.
Or maybe he saw how ridiculous the story line was for Foreign Correspondent. Hitchcock's all purpose McGuffin in this story is a person, the Dutch Foreign Minister played by Albert Basserman.
The devilishly clever Nazis hatch a scheme in which they kidnap Basserman, substitute a double and assassinate the double. So after getting Basserman, what do they do? They don't spirit him away to Germany, they take him to England instead. Supposedly so that collaborator Herbert Marshall can get the text of a secret clause in a treaty the Dutch have signed with some other country not named. A little sodium pentathol in Germany would have done the trick.
I think the idea was totally ridiculous and I can't believe Alfred Hitchcock didn't find it so.
The purpose of this film was an attack on those in Great Britain dubbed the Cliveden set who hung out at Lady Nancy Astor's estate named Cliveden. These folks wanted peace at any price with Hitler and it's still a subject today for debate whether they were just fools or out and out traitors. Hitchcock opts for the latter.
Still the film has its Hitchcockian touches his fans love so well. The chase scene through the windmill country, the climax when the Atlantic clipper with Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, George Sanders, and Herbert Marshall is shot down after war is formally declared. Even at that, I can't believe that a submarine possessed sufficient fire power to down an airliner, why didn't the airliner just raise altitude?
Joel McCrea was Hitchcock's second choice after Gary Cooper turned him down. Hitchcock and McCrea got along well, he wanted to use him for later films like Saboteur, but they never worked together again.
And that's a pity because Foreign Correspondent isn't Hitchcock at his best.
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