When Hitchcock's REBECCA won Best Picture in ’41, he also had another film in contention: FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT. Expertly paced, it finds Hitchcock honing the formula of a breathless chase across multiple locations, even sketching out ideas later to appear in NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
The impulsive slugging of a cop by reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea) gets the attention of his editor, who seeks a scribe to cover Europe’s unstable situation without the biased tone of a foreign correspondent. Things get sinister when Jones’ first interview subject, a Dutch diplomat, is assassinated in a spectacularly Hitchcockian sequence involving a gazillion umbrellas. From there, Jones is embroiled in a deadly plot to undermine the stability of the Western world.
A flawless example of a classic Hollywood thriller with perfect balance between comedy, tension and visual ingenuity. The film is also a harbinger of things to come from the director, who also dabbled in war-themed shorts and chronicled WWII’s evolution in SABOTEUR and LIFEBOAT, followed by a perverse look at its aftermath in NOTORIOUS.