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Foreign Correspondent(1940)

From the start, we are left in no doubt that Hitchcock is presenting the war in Europe as a global concern. Indeed the opening credits show a globe of the world. The action begins in America with an irritable newspaper editor, Mr Powers (Harry Davenport). He is tired of the reports from his foreign correspondents that offer opinions when he wants facts.

Foreign Correspondent(1940)

Crime reporter Johnny Jones (Joel McCrea) takes the name Huntley Haverstock to seem more dignified while serving as a new foreign correspondent in Europe. Once there, he fails in getting a story from the dedicated leader of the Peace League, Stephen Fisher (Herbert Marshall) but falls in love with his pacifist daughter Carol (Laraine Day). But the apparent murder of the last hope for peace, a prominent diplomat named Van Meer (Albert Basserman) pitches Jones, Carol, their Welsh adventurer-helper Scott ffolliott (George Sanders) all on a thrilling spy chase to find out who is trying to jump-start World War II.

The propagandistic tale of international intrigue from United Artists, involved a hard-headed, but relatively inexperienced American crime reporter and foreign correspondent caught in the political turmoil of Europe just before the outbreak of World War II (in the late summer of 1939). He became embroiled in the duplicitous activities of an international peace organization operating as a subversive Nazi spy ring, although there were no depictions of Hitler, the Nazi's 'Heil Hitler' salute, or the swastika. The settings began in New York, and proceeded to London, then Amsterdam, and finally full circle back to London (and to New York via telephone). After the conclusion of filming in late May 1940, and before the film's release, Hitchcock learned of the anticipated bombing of London (the Luftwaffe's blitzkrieg), so a new final scene was written (by Ben Hecht) and reshot.

In the newsroom offices of the New York Morning Globe with a spinning metal globe-shaped sculpture atop the tall skyscraper, a camera zoomed into one of its windows, into the busy publishing offices. One of the cable editors, Mr. Bradley (Charles Halton), received a cable-gram from the foreign news office in London, and reported it to Mr. Powers (Harry Davenport), the Globe's editor-in-chief. It was dated August 19, 1939 - auspiciously just about two weeks before Germany's unannounced invasion and occupation of Poland:

Powers was fuming about the falsity of Foreign Correspondent Stebbins' unsatisfactory report: "I could get more news out of Europe looking in the crystal ball....Europe about to blow up and all I can get out of my foreign staff is a daily guessing game. I want some facts, Mr. Bradley!...Any kind of facts. There must be something going on in Europe beside a nervous breakdown." When Bradley offered to be sent to Europe, Powers rejected him because Bradley was an intellectual economist and not a hard-nosed reporter:

In Powers' office, Jones met with one of the Globe's urbane contributors, the suave Stephen Fisher (Herbert Marshall), the respectable head of the Universal Peace Party and a close confident to Van Meer. Both men were working to prevent Europe from "going up in flames." Powers advised that the Globe's new "foreign correspondent" change his name to the very formal pseudonym or nom de plume, the posh-sounding Huntley Haverstock, in order to be more believable (and identified as an English gentleman).

While mingling with the assemblage of international guests, Jones again met Stephen Fisher who reminded him of his name change: "The Jones that became a Haverstock." He was also introduced to talkative Britisher Mrs. Appleby and a round-faced Latvian diplomat (Edward Conrad) who only grinned and couldn't communicate. To Carol, Jones introduced himself as a "foreign correspondent." After some banter back and forth, and mistakenly believing that she was a publicist (but not knowing that her father was the reknowned Stephen Fisher), he asked for a statement about the "league for peace and understanding" - the group hosting the luncheon. He tactlessly implied that it was composed of a group of amateurs unable to compete with the forces urging war:

Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 B&W spy thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. In August 1939, American reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea) is sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent of a prominent New York newspaper. His first assignment is to interview a Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Albert Basserman) at an event held by Stephen Fisher (Herbert Marshall), the leader of the Universal Peace Party. During the event, Jones makes acquaintance with Fisher's daughter Carol (Laraine Day). The following events lead Jones to the trail of a spy ring that hunts for Van Meer in order to get information about a top secret international treaty.

It's always good when I discover a Hitchcock film that I haven't seen yet (not many of those left...), and this one was particularly good because it's actually one of the great director's better films! The film takes place shortly before the release date; namely, just before the start of World War 2 in 1939. Work began on the film shortly after Hitchcock released Rebecca, and this must have been something of a controversial picture at the time of release as the war was, at that time, confined to Europe and I guess all America got to hear about it was the reports of foreign correspondents such as the one in this film. Despite being about the war, Foreign Correspondent is not a war film but rather a story of espionage centred on the Second World War. We focus on Johnny Jones; a reporter sent to Europe to find a story about the events going on there. He takes the name Huntley Haverstock (because it's more memorable), and soon finds himself in the middle of the world of espionage when he witnesses the murder of a famous diplomat, and follows his shooter to a windmill outside Amsterdam...The film takes a while to get going, and unfortunately peaks a little too early as the film is at it's best at around the middle section when our hero is hot on the trail of the spies and finds himself snooping around a windmill and climbing in through bathroom windows. Hitchcock seems keen to implement a sense of humour at this junction of the movie, whereas it gets a little too serious later on when the sense of patriotism grips hold of the movie and spoils the fun. I've got to say that the film is slightly too long at almost two hours, and the overall movie would have been thrilling if Hitchcock had opted to trim it a little bit. That being said, the movie is always at least interesting even at it's worst moments and Hitchcock builds the suspense well, which ensures that the audience is always interested in what's coming next. The acting is more than adequate also, with Joel McCrea delivering a fair lead performance and receiving good backup from the likes of Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall and best of all; George Sanders, who steals every scene he's in. On the whole, this isn't Hitchcock's BEST film - but it's a very good one and well worth seeing.

In 1939, the editor of the New York Globe invites the tough reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea) to be the substitute for the inefficient Stebbins (Robert Benchley) as foreign correspondent in London. His first assignment is to interview the Dutch leader Mr. Van Meer (Albert Basseman) in his lecture for peace in London to know about the possibility of a declaration of war against Germany. Johnny meets Stephen Fisher (Herbert Marshall), the leader of the organization Universal Peace Party that promotes peace, and his beautiful daughter Carol Fisher (Laraine Day), and he has a crush on Carol. When Van Meer is apparently murdered in Amsterdam, Johnny follows the assassin with Carol and the journalist Scott ffolliett (George Sanders) through the countryside and discovers that Van Meer has been abducted indeed. However, nobody believes on the truth and he tangle with an international conspiracy. "Foreign Correspondent" is a highly entertaining adventure, with a suspenseful story of espionage and an enjoyable romance, with Joel McCrea and Laraine Day showing a perfect chemistry. But the greatest attraction is the plot based on the beginning of the World War II in 1939 practically in real time. My vote is eight.Title (Brazil): "Correspondente Estrangeiro" ("Foreign Correspondent") 041b061a72


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