Monday, June 23, 2014

Blind Spot: Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Day and McCrea fight communism in Hitchcock's propaganda thriller.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Walter Wanger
Written by Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison
Starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Bassermann and Edmund Gwenn

Plot Summary: A newly-appointed American foreign correspondent (McCrea) uncovers a treacherous plot in London during World War II.

Significance: Though one of Hitchcock's most forgotten films, it was featured in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (tied for #894 in the critics poll, as it only received one vote). It was overshadowed in 1940 by Hitchcock's other film Rebecca, which won the Best Picture Oscar, but it was actually nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, respectively.

Thoughts: I'm not sure what to write about this film. It's a decent thriller, purely of its time and appropriately steeped in propaganda. While it must've been more compelling upon its original release (before the U.S. entered World War II), it feels a little dated and too calculated now. Granted, the film has some interesting thrills, but it also plays as a potboiler, which doesn't work very well in this case. The film is a bit too long, though it remains engaging throughout the majority of its two-hour running time. Also, the performances are serviceable for the most part, with Joel McCrea and George Sanders being the standouts. While it remains a good thriller, Hitchcock's film doesn't rank with his best work, but hardcore fans shouldn't miss it.

Rating: ***

This is the sixth film in my 2014 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.


  1. Totally agree with you. I liked this one enough, but there really isn't anything to remember. In fact, the only thing I remember about this is that I thought Sanders was excellent (although I don't remember anything about his performance) and that the windmill scene was good, but slightly underdeveloped. I guess that's how I feel about the whole movie. Good, but underdeveloped.

    1. 'Underdeveloped' is a good way to describe it. Yeah, Sanders was great, but there's just not much to get excited about. That windmill scene could have been better, for sure.

  2. Great post man - looks like I'll have to bump this one up the's a blindspot for me too!

    1. Thanks man! It's definitely worth a look, even if it isn't Hitch's best work.