Foreign Correspondent – Day Thirty – #40movies40days

UnknownI can’t believe it’s been a month since I started this project.  I am three quarters of the way through now!

Foreign Correspondent, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a great complement to The Quiet American. Again, two men fighting for different sides are caught in a triangle over a girl.  Love, war, politics and the urging of America’s greater involvement in a war swirl through the movie. This time it is the eve of World War II.

Here’s a quick summary from Hal Erickson, writing for the New York Times:

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.

Again love and politics get intertwined.  Nothing is quite what it seems.  Love both clouds the characters’ judgement and makes it clearer in true Power of Truth fashion.

Love and politics require some great sacrifice in both The Quiet American and the Foreign Correspondent.  The element of sacrifice is sorely lacking in many of today’s films and their storytelling is much poorer for it.

Here is A. O. Scott’s take on the movie:

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