Los Angeles Times - 08/29/2004
"[With] snappy, sophisticated and funny dialogue..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
The wind blows one way but the windmill turns another. To a group of Fifth Columnists, it's a signal. It also signals to an intrepid American reporter that he's stumbled across the biggest story in prewar Europe.
Foreign Correspondent is prime Alfred Hitchcock, a showcase of the director's best cinematic tricks and executed on a grand scale. An 80-foot windmill, a 10-acre facsimile of Amsterdam Square used to stage a stunning rain-soaked assassination scene and an airship with a 120-foot wingspan for a still-amazing sea-crash sequence are some of the massive sets in this gripping spy yarn. Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders and Robert Benchley headline this nominee for six 1940 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Classic Hitchcock. It is 1939 and Johnny Jones, a naive police reporter, is sent by his even more naive boss to cover a "crime" story that's unfolding in Europe: the potential outbreak of a second world war. Unprepared for the dangerous political landscape he's entering, Johnny manages to land smack in the middle of a spy ring that is masquerading as a peace organization.
Set after the start of World War II, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT avoids almost all the trappings of a war movie and focuses on the type of murky intrigue that is Hitchcock's signature. Joel McCrea plays Johnny Jones, a reporter sent overseas when his newspaper demands some firsthand news. Jones is a New Yorker out of his element in Europe, but when he stumbles upon a massive conspiracy headed by peace advocate Stephen Fisher (Herbert Marshall), his instincts drive him to pursue the story and confront the web of intrigue, but he'll need help and finds it in the lovely Carol (Laraine Day). The rain-soaked assassination sequence that kicks off the intrigue has a raw, haunting quality that plays on the spareness of newsreel footage.