Film: Foreign Correspondent
One of Alfred Hitchcock's
higher budget productions, Foreign Correspondent
(1940) is the story of American reporter Johnny Jones, who is sent to investigate the rumblings of war in Europe. Along the way, he uncovers a conspiracy, falls in love and possibly discovers the story of the century. The final scene resembles — but actually predates — Edward Murrow's broadcasts during the Blitz
Starred Joel McCrea and Laraine Day. Lost the Academy Award
for Best Picture to another Hitchcock film from the same year, Rebecca
This work contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Fisher, the urbane, well-mannered Nazi spy and Rowley, the hired, Cockney assassin.
- Alliterative Name / Awesome McCoolname: Johnny Jones has a "fresh, unused mind", but his publisher wants him to be taken seriously so Jones is given the posher-sounding name, "Huntley Haverstock".
- Anti-Villain: Fisher again.
- Battle in the Rain: The assassination of the Van Meer impostor, and Johnny's chase, take place in a driving rainstorm.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Many examples between Johnny and Scott, such as when they are discussing the ridiculous spelling of Scott's ridiculous last name while in a high-speed chase with an assassin.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Done to Van Meer, with a Nothing Is Scarier approach. Whatever it is, ffoliot is sickened and a female conspirator can't bear to watch, and he starts talking within seconds.
- Cool Old Guy: Ambassador Van Meer, who stands up to his captors with an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Creator Cameo: It's an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Here he is passing by on the street as Johnny leaves for the peace conference.
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: Johnny keeps acquiring (and losing) these as a Running Gag.
- Deadpan Snarker: Johnny Jones and Scott ffoliot.
- Disney Villain Death: Rowley, who takes a plunge off a cathedral tower.
- Driving a Desk: Multiple examples.
- Evil Brit: Rowley and his employer Fisher. Averted with Scott.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Fisher is very fond of his daughter.
- Follow That Car: Johnny dives into a cab to pursue the assassin.
- Foreign Correspondent: Duh. Though the editor specifically doesn't want one of these.
- Funny Foreigner: The Latvian delegate, who doesn't speak a word of English and has a permanent goofy smile, but gets a knowing look when he catches Johnny in Carol's room.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The line about the Nazis having no respect for life. At the time it was only a reference to their harsh rule over the countries they'd invaded, with the Holocaust not being widely known until near the war's end.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Fisher allows himself to drown in order to save his daughter, Johnny, and Scott. But mostly his daughter.
- Intrepid Reporter: Johnny Jones.
- It Will Never Catch On: The film opens with Johnny's editor receiving a telegram from one of his correspondents, dated Aug. 19, 1939, reporting "absolutely no chance of war on account of late crops."
- Kidnapped by an Ally: ffolliot claims to have done this to extract information from Fisher.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Johnny's plane has come under fire from a German warship. A lady passenger expresses incredulous outrage, saying "I shall see the British consul as soon as I—", before she is killed by an anti-aircraft round.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Johnny and Carol rather matter-of-factly declare their love for one another, Johnny says "That cuts our love scene down quite a bit, doesn't it?".
- MacGuffin: The secret clause in the treaty.
- Mood Whiplash: For its first half hour, the film seems to be a light romantic comedy. Then the assassination sends it straight into Hitchcock's usual territory.
- The Precarious Ledge: Johnny navigates one of these to escape the bad guys in his hotel room.
- Retired Badass: Rowley, the Cockney assassin.
- Rousing Speech: At the end of the film, in reality Hitchcock's plea for the Americans to help fight Nazi Germany.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Scott "ffoliot".
- Stiff Upper Lip: Scott ffoliot, as with most characters played by George Sanders, is a perfect example.
- Title Drop: It's Johnny's job, after all.
- Unintentional Period Piece: It's quite unlikely that a Nazi conspirator would get anywhere near this sympathetic an ending now.