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Criterion Collection: Foreign Correspondent [Blu-ray] [1940] [US Import]

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00LUSUVQE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,530 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

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

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An early Hitchcock thriller made in 1940. It is set in 1939 in Europe. A US reporter is sent to Europe to by his newspaper to get a new angle on what is happening "over there". He is very naïve about what is going on in Europe and soon becomes romantically involved with Carol whose father heads an important Peace Organisation. In Holland he witnesses the assassination of a Dutch Diplomat and whilst on the trail of the killer becomes embroiled in the workings of an International Spy Ring. For such an early film it shows clearly the elements of uncertainty that pervaded the International Scene in the lead up to WW2 and how unprepared Britain was for forthcoming events. Hitchcock shows signs of his future greatness in a tight script, some superb cinematography and though the storyline is quite weak he produces a very pacey thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is one of my Hitchcock favourites. Like they say, they don't make 'm like that anymore.
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Great Film
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By P. Boop on 19 Jun. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Look forward to watching this film again. Very good service. Love Alfred Hitchcock. I shall be purchasing more in the future.
Thank you.
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I bought this film not only because I lenjoy this film era but to study the fashions etc for an exam I was taking. I enjoyed the film very much and it was very good for my study too
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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ignorant American reporter Joel McCrea (John Jones) is given the pseudonym Huntley Haverstock and sent on a mission to Amsterdam to get a story about politician Albert Bassermann (Van Meer) and obtain some news about the impending war in Europe. Well, he certainly gets involved. Can he live to tell what he knows?

The film is a little too long, and the first half an hour is pretty boring. We then get some tense scenes, starting with a shooting. At last, some suspense. Unfortunately, the realism of the film is sloppy at this point. For example the victim's killer would have been caught about 20 times over. Also, the killer's getaway car would not just have disappeared like that on a large empty road, given that the pursuers had the car in sight. Another instance of stupidity occurs at this point in that the bad guys don't seem to be looking out for the car that has been chasing them. These villains are cretinously stupid not to have someone pick up that McCrea is snooping around the windmill. He stands out like a sore thumb.

Another memorable section sees hitman Edmund Gwenn (Rowley) bide his time and attempt his murderous instructions on McCrea. He has a couple of goes. And while these are suspenseful, Gwenn plays for comedy so it's never quite effective. And that's a problem with this film, there is far too much light-heartedness (eg, the Latvian bloke) which takes away any real danger.

George Sanders (ffolliott) turns up after the first boring half an hour that wasn't necessary and immediately becomes the best of the cast. In fact, the lead man McCrea completely disappears from the proceedings after about two thirds of the film and we follow Sanders as he unravels and solves the whole mystery. By himself.
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Format: DVD
Reading some of the reviews regarding the region 2 release of "Foreign Correspondent" I just want to add a comment or two of my own.

Although the obvious weakness compared to region 1 is that there are no bonus features, which is a shame, I would like to put on record that there is nothing wrong with the sound or picture quality. Nearly ALL dvd releases could be improved upon quality wise - witness (or maybe you shouldn't) the poor presentation of the Network releases of James Whales' 1932 film "The Old Dark House" and Bryan Forbes' 1964 "Seance On A Wet Afternoon." Both of these films suffered, especially lack of decent sound.

I'm not claiming that "Correspondent" to be perfect, but unlike the two films aforestated, I don't have to crank the volume up to obtain reasonable sound. The picture is better and clearer as well.

Great film (again) from Hitchcock, glad to have it in my collection.
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