144 user 72 critic

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

2:22 | Trailer
On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.


Alfred Hitchcock


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





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... John Jones
Laraine Day ... Carol Fisher
Herbert Marshall ... Stephen Fisher
George Sanders ... Scott 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 ... Mrs. Sprague
Ian Wolfe ... Stiles
Charles Wagenheim ... Assassin
Eddie Conrad ... Latvian (as Edward Conrad)
Charles Halton ... Bradley


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

Plot Keywords:

policeman | fuzz | pig | bacon | reporter | See All (310) »


The thrill spectacle of the year! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Producer Walter Wanger wanted to put a lot of political elements in this movie, but Sir Alfred Hitchcock tried to reduce the political elements as much as possible. Hitchcock felt that the movie would become dated since politics change from time to time, so he tried to reduce mentioning Axis powers as much as possible. See more »


When Joel McCrea and Laraine Day are getting out of their taxi, a number of behind-the-scenes elements can be seen in the reflection of the shiny taxi, including a number of crew people, a man holding lighting equipment and wires, a man holding a cigarette, a woman holding something big like a script, and a director's chair. See more »


Fake Dutch Detective: We simply want you to come with us if you will and tell your story to our chief of police here.
John Jones: Well, let me get this straight. Does this chief of police speak English? Because I'm a very busy man.
Fake Dutch Detective: It will take no more than half an hour, Sir. We all speak English.
John Jones: All speak English? Well, that's marvelous. That's more than I can say for my country.
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 »


Featured in The Tamarind Seed (1974) See more »


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

Hitchcock's excellent classic story of espionage with a lot of suspense and tension.
27 July 2006 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

During the WWII , an American journalist (Joel McCrea) is sent to London by his chief (Harry Davenport) to report a pacifist convention when he becomes romantically involved with the daughter (Laraine Day) of the organizing (Herbert Marshall) . Meanwhile , he befriends an elderly diplomat (Albert Bassermann) but he's abducted by a Nazi spy-ring . The reporter accompanied by a cynic adventurer (George Sanders) travel towards Holland to uncover the clues ; later on , they head to London .

As tells Hitchcock in the famous dialog with Francois Truffaut , this is a B-film (though in big budget) , a thriller plenty of adventures and action . Gary Cooper rejected the starring role (although he regretted later) and is hired a second-class actor , Joel McCrea , of whom Hitch says to be pretty soft ; besides , a beautiful Laraine Day . The film has similar premise than ¨Lady vanishes¨ but with a male character , an elderly diplomat with a secret clause . It also appears the Hitchcock's usual themes as the innocent hero involved in continuous adventures .

The film highlights are the umbrellas and windmill scenes , Hitch tells how it was shot in Holland and he felt really appealed the filming a killing among tulips . The spectacular plane crashing is shot in transparency and a water tank and the passengers-wreck in a big pond . In the interview with the famed French director, Truffaut , regarding this film , Hitch talks about the ¨McGuffin¨ , here is ¨the 27 clause of a peace treatise¨ only known by the kidnapped diplomatic . For Hitchcock , the McGuffin is a gimmick , and isn't important in the plot . The origin is a Scottish name . Hitch explains as two men come into a train . The first asks : what is this packet ? ; the second answers : Oh,it's a McGuffin! ; the first again asks : What's a McGuffin? ; and he subsequently answers : It's a devise to hunt lions in the Adirondaks mountains ; the another answers : But if there aren't lions in the Adirondaks!; and ultimately says : Then , it isn't a McGuffin! .

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Dutch | German | Latvian

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Personal History See more »

Filming Locations:

Amsterdam, Netherlands See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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