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Foreign Correspondent [DVD] [1940]

25 customer reviews

Price: £4.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£4.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Foreign Correspondent [DVD] [1940] + Mr. & Mrs. Smith [DVD] [1941] [2005] + Suspicion [DVD] [1941]
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Product details

  • Actors: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Bassermann
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Robert Benchley, Ben Hecht, Charles Bennett, James Hilton, Joan Harrison
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Dutch, English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 21 April 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008Z78D
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,784 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Hitchcock espionage thriller. American crime reporter Johnny Jones (Joel McCrea) is sent to Europe in 1938 to cover the build-up to World War Two. Johnny becomes romantically involved with Carol Fisher (Laraine Day), whose father runs an international peace organisation. When Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Albert Basserman) is kidnapped, Johnny and Carol become mixed up in the espionage and intrigue.

From Amazon.co.uk

The first of Alfred Hitchcock's World War II features, Foreign Correspondent was completed in 1940, as the European war was only beginning to erupt across national borders. Its titular hero, Johnny Jones (Joel McCrea), is an American crime reporter dispatched by his New York publisher to put a fresh spin on the drowsy dispatches emanating from overseas, his nose for a good story (and, of course, some fortuitous timing) promptly leading him to the "crime" of fascism and Nazi Germany's designs on European conquest.

In attempting to learn more about a seemingly noble peace effort, Jones (who's been saddled with the dubious nom de plume Hadley Haverstock) walks into the middle of an assassination, uncovers a spy ring, and, not entirely coincidentally, falls in love--a pattern familiar to admirers of Hitchcock's espionage thrillers, of which this is a thoroughly entertaining example. McCrea's hardy Yankee charms are neatly contrasted with the droll English charm of colleague George Sanders; Herbert Marshall provides a plummy variation on the requisite, ambiguous "good-or-is-he-really-bad" guy; Laraine Day affords a lovely heroine; and Robert Benchley (who contributed to the script) pops up, albeit too briefly, for comic relief.

As good as the cast is, however, it's Hitchcock's staging of key action sequences that makes Foreign Correspondent a textbook example of the director's visual energy: an assassin's escape through a rain-soaked crowd is registered by rippling umbrellas, a nest of spies is detected by the improbable direction of a windmill's spinning sails and Jones's nocturnal flight across a pitched city rooftop produces its own contextual comment when broken neon tubes convert the Hotel Europe into "Hot Europe". --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Skade VINE VOICE on 16 Dec. 2003
Format: DVD
This is the master at his most characteristic, if not quite on his best form. A hugely enjoyable propaganda romp with first rate performances all round (take note of Robert Benchley and Edmund Gwenn in minor roles). The film is a model of economy and for those looking for Hitchcock's visual 'touches' we have the assasin fleeing through a crowd of umbrellas, to quote only the most memorable (and in the opening credits, the world becomes an American newspaper building). The plot is poppycock of course, but so what.
The feel, I think is closer to the earlier British films than some of his other Hollywood movies, perhaps because it was propaganda. The rousing speech at the end has obviously lost something over the years but it was there to do a job. Lovely.
The film looks good on DVD, but why no extras?
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bo on 28 April 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The titles of the new Universal Hitchcock edition are very cheap, and evidently the films are not remastered in any way. Some titles, such as 'Suspicion', suffer terribly, others, like this 'Foreign Correspondent', were transferred from serviceable prints, and are therefore wonderful to watch.
'Correspondent' belongs up there among the Hitchcock greats, one of the most virtuosic of cinematographic orchestrations, just watch the long, infernally exciting sequence when the plane is shot down and dives into the sea - riveting! The scenes in the Dutch windmill are vintage Hitchcock, and Joel McCrea proves to be one of the master's most personable of heroes.
The script is wonderful, and one readily 'forgives' the patriotic schmaltz of the finishing line, when McCrea broadcasts his impressions of wartime Europe, as the blitz of London sets in and all lights go out. "Hang on to your lights", he implores his countrymen. "They are the only lights left in the world". Maybe George W. Bush should be persuaded not to watch so many films!
Anyway, this one is a safe buy.
So do it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nobody VINE VOICE on 3 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Foreign Correspondent" (1940) was Alfred Hitchcock's second American film after the fabulous "Rebecca" (1940) and what film it is. It got everything you need for a thriller: Newspaper reporters; espionage; traitors; car chases; plane crashes; sea rescues, romance; war; assassinations; political conspiracies and bell towers, oh and let's not forget windmills. Not only that but cinematography by none other than Rudolph Mate whom serious cinema buffs know as the cinematographer of films like the sublime "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (Dreyer,1928), "Vampyr" (Dreyer,1930); Dodworth (Wyler,1936); Stella Dallas (Vidor,1937) and "To Be Or Not To Be" (Lubitsch,1942) all of which are regarded as classics. "Foreign Correspondent" also has some fine energetic performances from Joel McCrea (Sullivan's Travels, 1941; The Palm Beach Story,1942) and Laraine Day as well as supporting cast of Herbert Marshall, George Sanders and Albert Basserman. The special effects are just remarkable especially the scene at sea which is just impossible to believe was shot in a MGM studio. "Foreign Correspondent" is a fan favourite and without a doubt a thriller masterpiece even German Propaganda minister Goebbels refered to it as "A masterpiece of propaganda, a first-class production". "Foreign Correspondent" opened at cinemas August 16, 1940 just three weeks before the start of the Blitz which is depicted at the end of the film.

The DVD transfer is of a good standard although the soundtrack could be better. There are no extras.
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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Oct. 2012
Format: DVD
This 1940 film from Alfred Hitchcock is another in his (relatively) long line of chase/spying storylines, and, being made at the onset of WWII, also contains the perhaps obligatory messages of wartime defiance. At around two hours duration, Foreign Correspondent packs in many narrative twists and brilliant set-piece scenes, but, for me, probably has around 20 minutes of 'flab' in it (occurring predominantly during the third quarter of the film). This leads me to rank the film somewhere below Hitch's classics of this genre, The 39 Steps and North By North West, and more on a par with a film like Saboteur (and this is nothing to be ashamed of, I might add).

In fact, rather like Hitch's other chase films, Foreign Correspondent features much comic content, which is clearly signposted to the audience via Alfred Newman's jaunty musical theme accompanying the opening credits. The film's central premise is that of the US' need to gain a better appreciation of the imminence (or otherwise) of war, and to this end New York newspaper The Morning Globe sends reporter Johnny Jones, who assumes the name Huntley Haverstock (Joel McCrae) to London to do some digging. On meeting up with the leading lights in a peace-seeking organisation (The Universal Peace Party), namely Dutchman Van Meer (Albert Bassermann) and Englishman Stephen Fisher (played with brilliant suaveness by Herbert Marshall), there follows (as we might expect) a tale of underhand dealings, double-crossing and romance (the latter generated as Haverstock meets up with Carol (Laraine Day), the daughter of Fisher).
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