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Foreign Correspondent Details


Fourteen scriptwriters spent five years toiling over a movie adaptation of war correspondent Vincent Sheehan's before producer Walter Wanger brought the property to the screen as Foreign Correspondent. What emerged was approximately 2 parts Sheehan and 8 parts director Alfred Hitchcock--and what's wrong with that? Joel McCrea stars as an American journalist sent by his newspaper to cover the volatile war scene in Europe in the years 1938 to 1940. He has barely arrived in Holland before he witnesses the assassination of Dutch diplomat Albert Basserman: at least, that's what he thinks he sees. McCrea makes the acquaintance of peace-activist Herbert Marshall, his like-minded daughter Laraine Day, and cheeky British secret agent George Sanders. A wild chase through the streets of Amsterdam, with McCrea dodging bullets, leads to the classic "alternating windmills" scene, which tips Our Hero to the existence of a formidable subversive organization. McCrea returns to England, where he nearly falls victim to the machinations of jovial hired-killer Edmund Gwenn. The leader of the spy ring is revealed during the climactic plane-crash sequence--which, like the aforementioned windmill scene, is a cinematic tour de force for director Hitchcock and cinematographer Rudolph Mate. Producer Wanger kept abreast of breaking news events all through the filming of Foreign Correspondent, enabling him to keep the picture as "hot" as possible: the final scene, with McCrea broadcasting to a "sleeping" America from London while Nazi bombs drop all around him, was filmed only a short time after the actual London blitz. The script was co-written by Robert Benchley, who has a wonderful supporting role as an eternally tippling newsman. Foreign Correspondent was Alfred Hitchcock's second American film, and remained one of his (and his fans') personal favorites. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:August 16, 1940


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Paul Eagler Best Special Effects 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Albert Basserman Best Supporting Actor 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alexander Golitzen Best Black and White Art Direction 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joan Harrison Best Original Screenplay 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles C. Bennett Best Original Screenplay 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Rudolph Maté Best Black and White Cinematography 1940 Nominee


Joel McCrea
as Johnny Jones
Laraine Day
as Carol Fisher
Herbert Marshall
as Stephen Fisher
George Sanders
as Scott Folliott
Albert Basserman
as Van Meer
Robert Benchley
as Stebbins
Edmund Gwenn
as Rowley
Harry Davenport
as Mr. Powers
Barbara Pepper
as Doreen
Eddie Conrad
as Latvian Diplomat
Martin Kosleck
as Tramp
Frances Carson
as Mrs. Sprague
Marten Lamont
as Plane Captain
Ken Christy
Donald Stuart
as Bit part
James Finlayson
as Dutch Peasant
Ted Mapes
as Double for Joel McCrea
Crauford Kent
as Toastmaster
Bunny Beatty
as Bit part
Gino Corrado
as Italian Waiter
Alexander Granach
as Valet
Ian Wolfe
as Stiles the Butler
Frank Benson
as Bit part
Jack Rice
as Donald
Louis Borell
as Capt. Lansom
Charles Wagenheim
as Assassin
Ferris Taylor
as Jones' Father
Dorothy Vaughan
as Jones's Mother
Emory Parnell
as John Martin, Captain of the Mohican
Horace B. Carpenter
as Bit part
Eduardo Ciannelli
as Mr. Krug
Terry Kilburn
as Boy
Holmes Herbert
as Commissioner Ffolliott
Wheaton Chambers
as Committeeman
Joan Leslie
as Jones' Sister
Charles Halton
as Bradley
William Stelling
Harry Depp
as Uncle Biren
Roy Gordon
as Mr. Brood
Louise Brien
as Secretary
Colin Kenny
as Bit part
Leonard Mudie
as Inspector McKenna
Otto Hoffman
as Telegrapher
Harry Semels
as Bit part
Herbert Evans
as English Doorman
Loulette Sablon
as Nesta
E.E. Clive
as Mr. Naismith
John Meredith
as Bit part
Barry Bernard
as Steward
Hilda Plowright
as Miss Pimm
Elspeth Dudgeon
as Bit part
Eily Malyon
as Hotel Cashier


Alfred Hitchcock
Walter Wanger
Joan Harrison
Robert Benchley
Richard Maibaum
Charles Bennett
Rudolph Maté
Alfred Newman
Composer (Music Score)
Dorothy Spencer
Otho Lovering
Alexander Golitzen
Art Director
Julia Heron
Set Designer
William Cameron Menzies
Set Designer
Paul Eagler
Special Effects
Lee Zavitz
Special Effects
Burnett Guffey
Camera Operator
Norman Pringle