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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 2

Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent features a winning combination of international intrigue, comic relief, and some of the legendary director's most memorable set pieces.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0

Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent features a winning combination of international intrigue, comic relief, and some of the legendary director's most memorable set pieces.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 6,621

My Rating

Movie Info

Fourteen scriptwriters spent five years toiling over a movie adaptation of war correspondent Vincent Sheehan's Personal History before producer Walter Wanger brought the property to the screen as Foreign Correspondent. What emerged was approximately 2 parts Sheehan and 8 parts director Alfred Hitchcock--and what's wrong with that? Joel McCrea stars as an American journalist sent by his newspaper to cover the volatile war scene in Europe in the years 1938 to 1940. He has barely arrived in Holland

Sep 7, 2004

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (2) | DVD (11)

This film contains one of Hitchcock's most famous set pieces -- an assassination in the rain -- but otherwise remains a second-rate effort, as immensely enjoyable as it is.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Story is essentially the old cops-and-robbers. But it has been set in a background of international political intrigue of the largest order.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Into it Director Alfred Hitchcock, whose unmistakable stamp the picture bears, has packed about as much romantic action, melodramatic hullabaloo, comical diversion and illusion of momentous consequence as the liveliest imagination could conceive.

January 28, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hitchcock's espionage thriller is a thoroughly enjoyable affair, complete with some of his most memorable set pieces.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Creative Hitchcock thriller mixes fun, spectacular set pieces and political depth.

August 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

While Albert Bassermann earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for a somewhat hammy turn, the best performance comes from George Sanders, atypically cast as a fearless and resourceful hero rather than the cads and scoundrels he generally played.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It's such an entertaining film that it's almost possible to forget its didactic agenda, which is certainly part of the point.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

It doesn't always proceed as smoothly as some of Hitchcock's best films, but it is never anything less than grandly entertaining.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

A fitfully crackerjack picture with astonishing mise-en-scène...some memorable set pieces to take advantage of same, and flashes of Hitchockian wit... [Criterion Blu-ray/DVD]

February 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

A showcase of early Hitchcock suspense.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Due to the rapidly changing political context, more writers worked on the script than on any Hitchcock thriller, but end result is satisfying (if not credible), and even Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels acknowledged the movie was a masterpiece.

March 20, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

...a strangely uninvolving thriller...

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

highly entertaining with many great set pieces.

February 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Hitchcock gem.

August 13, 2005 | Comment (1)
Classic Film and Television

Funny on purpose and that, obviously, makes all the difference in the world.

March 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The film includes some of Hitchcock's finest set-pieces, including a secret hideout inside a windmill, a murder in broad daylight and a plane crash, even if the romantic subplot tends to slow things down a bit.

September 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

strength of this film lies with Hitchcock's incredible narrative ability and cinematic vision

September 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Foreign Correspondent works best for what it was designed for: Propaganda.

September 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A run-of-the-mill Hitchcock thriller that has some bright spots, but it's not one of his best.

August 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

[A] dandy wartime Hitchcock thriller

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Foreign Correspondent

It's fascinating watching war time dramas made during that particular war time, especially when it's from the 40s.

Hitchcock once again delivers with this thrilling war story about an American journalist on assignment in Europe who stumbles upon a scoop that could really be THE story that cements his career. That particular scoop happens to be a group of spies humorously fronting as a pacifist organization.

I think the structure and pacing could have been reworked, as a pivotal assassination scene happens fairly early, when I felt it should have happened at the midpoint. And, for a two hour film, it does feel a little long and disjointed. However, the film is still engaging enough that this is not a major flaw, and more of a personal nitpick.

The two leads aren't the most compelling, for a Hitch film or otherwise, but they could probably be worse, and seem to be at least trying their best. Where the film really shines is in the other stuff, like the typically strong direction, the wonderful cinematography, and some impressive setpieces like the aforementioned assassination scene set amongst a sea of umbrellas, the super taut creeping around the windmill scene, and the awesome plane sequence.

It's all some great stuff, you know, typical Hitch, but it's worth seeing. Really solid, pretty fun, and something you should check out, despite the flaws.
November 9, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

If it wasn't for the corny propaganda... But anyway a great little thiller with some impressive set pieces. Hitchcock didn't need an overly constructed plot to make it work, injecting his finesse and humour at every step. Current action/adventure filmmakers should take note of this fine example of escapist cinema.
June 25, 2012
pier007

Super Reviewer

Alfred Hitchcock's tale of foreign intrigue and reversible windmills centers around John Jones (Joel McCrea), a maverick crime reporter whose editor feels he would be perfect to cover the burgeoning rumours of war echoing around Europe (for, he reasons, what is happening in Europe if not a crime?). Jones fits the image of the loud-mouthed American to a tee, sticking his foot into it at every wrong opportunity, but, having been a crime reporter, he knows a frame up when he sees one. Arriving in Europe, he first attends a luncheon for the Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Albert Bassermann), who is to give a speech for the Universal Peace Party (which is headed by a man named Fisher and his daughter, Carol). Later, when Van Meer is very publicly shot, Jones and the daughter team up with fellow reporter ffoliott (George Sanders) to chase down the assassin.

There are some very suspenseful set pieces in the film, one of which takes place in a windmill, and another onboard a transcontinental flight. Both could be considered Hitchcock's 'signature' on the film, they are unmistakeably 'Hitchcockian'. However, it's the performances in the film, with McCrea's brashness and Sanders' suaveness, and even the scene-stealing performance of Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle from "Miracle on 34th Street") as a dangerous hitman, that make this film really great. All the espionage is wrapped up with a rousing call to defend the last bastion of liberty as the world pulls inexorably towards self-destruction. Every element of this film is masterfully done, and it is so much more than just a suspense film, the only way it could've lost the academy award in 1941 was to another Hitchcock film released the same year (that being "Rebecca"). If I had one complaint, it's that Alfred Newman's film score doesn't always jibe with what's taking place onscreen. It's a small complaint for a great film.
May 16, 2012
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Johnny Jones: I came 4,000 miles to get a story. I get shot at like a duck in a shooting gallery, I get pushed off buildings, I get the story, and then I've got to shut up! 

"MYSTERY IN WHISPERS that cracks like THUNDER!"

Although Foreign Correspondent is definitely lesser Hitchcock, it is still a Hitchcock film, so you know it is going to be an above average thriller. I had a lot of fun watching this for the most part, although the movie would drag at times. It isn't as well made as other Hitchcock movies, it isn't as interesting as other Hitchcock movies, it isn't Vertigo or Rear Window, but it is a solid political thriller from the Master. 

A reporter is sent to Europe to cover the prewar goings on. He sees an assassination an follows the man who did it to a old mill. There he sees that the man who was thought to be killed is really still alive and that there is a lot more going on then he initially suspected. From there, the plot takes twists and turns and it is hard to know who is good and who is bad. The constant reexaminations of the characters keep things interesting for the two hour runtime.

As much as I loved the movie, when watching a Hitchcock movie it is hard to not compare it to his many masterpieces. If you go in expecting a movie that is going to be as good as Psycho or North by Northwest, you will be disappointed. If you are just a big Hitchcock fan like me, then it will be well worth the effort to track down and watch.
November 19, 2011
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Der Auslandskorrespondent (DE)
  • Foreign Correspondent (UK)
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