Foreign Correspondent

Almost immediately upon touching down on American soil at the dawn of the Forties, Hitchcock firmly established himself as an integral part of the native filmmaking landscape, with 1940 seeing the rapid release of both Rebecca and this sobering, yet high-spirited spy romp. The brawny, bullish Joel McCrea stars as a newspaper man, who, at the outbreak of a fictitious (and prescient) version of WWII, is given what he at first imagines is a cush, low-key overseas bureau assignment — rapidly, he finds out that, after witnessing a brutal public assassination and dealing with a James Bond level of intrigue, it’s a bit more screwy than he anticipated. This is fast-paced fun from top to bottom; building upon the “suave solutions to deadly serious problems” model of Young & Innocent, Hitch puts McCrea’s adventure-craving big boy through some complex, stylish paces, including the clenched-throat, foostep delicacy of the legendary “windmill” sequence, and the plane crash finale, featuring outstanding cutting-edge special effects decades ahead of their time. Nominated for a half-dozen Oscars alongside Rebecca’s simultaneous eleven nods, this is Hollywood dream factory fodder at its finest.
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1940, 35mm, 120min.

Watch Hitchcock on the Dick Cavett Show, speaking about “Foreign Correspondent”!
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