Foreign Correspondent (1940)
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An early Hollywood Hitchcock, Foreign Correspondent still has the feel of his British work - suspense yes, but also a lot of humor, a hero that doesn't really take the story all that seriously, and indeed, ol' Hitch is using the suspense as a gag (like the bit on the tower) and its release as a punchline. Released in 1940, the film does include a call to war for America, and Joel McCrea is affable as the title reporter more interested in the girl than the news, accidentally stumbling onto a plot to undermine the Allies on the eve of England's declaration of war against Germany. Again, this feels very British. Where the Hollywood comes in is in the big set pieces that betray a big budget, like the big windmill set, or the tempest-tossed castaway bit that really does look convincing, wow. Because of its casual humor and flightiness, and despite its attempt at a paranoid atmosphere, Foreign Correspondent doesn't have the kind of motive power we associate with some Hitchcock's later spy thrillers, but it does the job thanks to a number of memorable sequences.
reallygood early hitchcock. it picks up pace in the second half with some great situations and should be more widely known
This has, hands down, the best "water set" scenes I've ever seen. Incredible use of a projection screen and physical props with the water effects, immaculate filmmaking. Not quite as dark as some of Hitch's other films but it has plenty of action and suspense to go around. The windmill set strays into Noir territory and is a fine inclusion. Laraine Day dazzles and Joel McCrea plays an almost William Holden-type of character who has enough spunk to pursue a story that drives the plot forward.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #105 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #196 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #337 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #350 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #843 in The Criterion Collection