7.6/10
14,126
129 user 73 critic

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Saboteur (1942)
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, Otto Kruger
Sabotage (1936)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester
Suspicion (1941)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke
Crime | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont
Secret Agent (1936)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After three British agents are assigned to assassinate a mysterious German spy during World War I, two of them become ambivalent when their duty to the mission conflicts with their consciences.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: John Gielgud, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Young
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas
Lifeboat (1944)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A happily married London barrister falls in love with the accused poisoner he is defending.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In Cornwall in 1819, a young woman discovers that she's living near a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecks for profit.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Robert Newton, Charles Laughton
Stage Fright (1950)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A struggling actress tries to help a friend prove his innocence when he's accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Richard Todd
The 39 Steps (1935)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young gentleman goes to Australia where he reunites with his now married childhood sweetheart, only to find out she has become an alcoholic and harbors dark secrets.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Michael Wilding
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Van Meer (as Albert Basserman)
...
...
...
Mr. Krug (as Eduardo Cianelli)
...
...
Frances Carson ...
...
Charles Wagenheim ...
...
Latvian (as Edward Conrad)
...
Edit

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:

MYSTERY IN WHISPERS that cracks like THUNDER! (original print ad - many caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Personal History  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in which a German destroyer shoots down a British airliner at the outset of WWII may have been influenced by the real-life sinking of the S.S. Athenia, the first British passenger ship to have been sunk by U-boats. By coincidence, one of the survivors of the Athenia sinking was actress Judith Evelyn, who later acted in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) and two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). By a further coincidence, Evelyn's father was among the Athenia passengers killed, paralleling the fate of the Fishers in 'Foreign Correspondent' (Carol survives; her father Stephen does not). See more »

Goofs

Most of the hotel staff that gather in Jones' room at the Hotel de l'Europe in Amsterdam are chattering in German instead of Dutch. See more »

Quotes

Scott ffolliott: Who has he shot?
Johnny Jones: Van Meer assassinated.
Scott ffolliott: Dead?
Johnny Jones: Looked like it.
Scott ffolliott: Bad show.
Johnny Jones: Couldn't be much worse from his point of view.
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 »

Connections

Featured in Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Harlem Congo
(1937)
by Chick Webb and his Orchestra, arr. by Charlie Dixon
[The phonograph record played by the kidnappers during Van Meer's interrogation]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Hang onto your lights, America"
4 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Admittedly, partly due to the presence of Joel McCrea, this is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. As with "Saboteur," Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper (and in this case, Joan Fontaine - he wanted Barbara Stanwyck for "Saboteur) but couldn't get them. Cooper turned down the role of Johnny Jones and lived to regret it.

Today, "Foreign Correspondent" can be seen as a fierce call to bring America into the war. It's amazing today how long America stayed out. In the film, Johnny Jones, writing under the pen name of Huntley Haverstock, is given the assignment of going to Europe and digging around for information about the impending war - and particularly to have a conversation with Professor Van Meer, who may be one of the men who can help keep the peace. Johnny witnesses Van Meer being killed right in front of him, and chasing the perpetrators, he winds up searching a windmill, in one of the many remarkable scenes in the film. While on assignment, he falls in love with Carol Fisher, whose father is the head of a peace-making movement.

The film is striking for its underlying humor and lightness despite the seriousness and shock value of the events. It's also remarkable for some against type casting, i.e., George Sanders is a newsman and a good guy for a change, and Edmund Gwenn - Santa Claus! - is a killer. That's another remarkable scene.

There are several spectacular moments. The rainy scene on the steps when Van Meer is killed is one; when Jones looks for the perpetrator, all he can see is a sea of same-colored umbrellas. The windmills are another - claustrophobic inside, a peaceful picture outside. There is a marvelous shot of Johnny escaping from killers by slipping out of his hotel bathroom window and walking along the ledge. The lit-up sign HOTEL EUROPE can plainly be seen, and Jones breaks one of the lights as he goes by. Best of all is the airplane crash into the ocean which is fantastic and looks both agonizing and real. The final scene of the film, a radio broadcast, was added some time later - five days before the Germans started bombing, in fact.

Shot in black and white, "Foreign Correspondent" is loaded with atmosphere and the tension of the coming war. Joel McCrea, a very likable, easygoing actor in the same vein as Cooper, though maybe a bit livelier, is excellent in his role here as a gentle but adventurous man caught up in bizarre circumstances. Laraine Day, never used much by her own studio (MGM) and often loaned out, is great as the pretty, intelligent, and principled Carol. As Scott ffolliott, Sanders is charming and plays beautifully with Day and McCrea. Herbert Marshall has a slightly different role for him and is very effective.

Though many may not agree, I consider this one of Hitchock's best films and totally underrated. Why did Gary Cooper turn it down? It was a thriller, which in those days was considered a B-class genre. After "Foreign Correspondent," this was no longer true.


21 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page