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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.

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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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Van Meer (as Albert Basserman)
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Mr. Krug (as Eduardo Cianelli)
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Frances Carson ...
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Charles Wagenheim ...
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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:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The US Copyright Office uses "Huntley Haverstock" as the example of a pseudonym. See more »

Goofs

The hero and heroine driving from London to Cambridge come to a signpost saying London 30 miles, Cambridge 35 miles. A total of 65 miles which is 11 more than the actual distance. See more »

Quotes

Ffolliott: Ring Mayfair 24574...
Stebbins: [gets out notebook] Let me write that...
Ffolliott: Mayfair 24574. That's my cousin. He's the director of the airline. Tell him we need two seats on tomorrow's clipper for America. Then go to Hilton Nursing Home and stick by Van Meer. Then phone Miss Edith Armbruster, Kensington 66255. Tell her I'm off to America. Will she dine with me next Monday instead of tomorrow?
Stebbins: Sure.
Ffolliott: Then call up Stevens at The Post, tell him I'm off to America.
John Jones: Cable New York, tell them I'm off to America!
Ffolliott: [...]
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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

Referenced in Atomic Blonde (2017) 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]
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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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