Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Joel McCrea and Laraine Day in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent”

Foreign Correspondent (1940) is an American spy thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, and George Sanders. The screenplay was written by Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison. The music was by Alfred Newman and the cinematography was by Rudolph Mate.

Before the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Powers (Harry Davenport), editor of the New York Morning Globe, sends crime reporter John Jones (McCrea) to report on the situation there.

While in the Netherlands, Jones attends an event sponsored by the Universal Peace Party led by Stephen Fisher (Marshall). When the keynote speaker Van Meer (Albert Basserman) becomes ill, he is replaced by Carol Fisher (Day), Stephen Fisher’s daughter. Earlier, Jones had insulted Carol but now finds her irresistible.

As Jones continues to delve into European politics, he becomes suspicious of the Universal Peace Party and Carol’s father.

Does the Universal Peace Party really stand for peace or do they have another agenda?

Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980) was an English film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century. Hitchcock directed over 50 feature films, many are classics that have been honored and studied for years. Some of Hitchcock’s classic films include The 39 Steps (1939), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Notorious (1946), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960).

Joel McCrea (1905 – 1990) was an American movie star who appeared in over 100 films. During his almost-five-decades career, McCrea worked with some of the top directors in Hollywood including Alfred Hitchcock (Foreign Correspondent 1940), Preston Sturges (Sullivan’s Travels 1941, The Palm Beach Story 1942), and George Stevens (The More the Merrier 1943). McCrea worked opposite some of the top leading actresses of the day including Miriam Hopkins, Irene Dunne, Veronica Lake, Claudette Colbert, and Barbara Stanwyck with whom he made six films. He was the first actor to play Dr. Kildare in the film Internes Can’t Take Money (1937) costarring Stanwyck. McCrea married actress Frances Dee in 1933. The two were married until Joel died in 1990.

Laraine Day (1920 – 2007) was an American actress. Day appeared in films, stage, radio, and television. In 1939, she signed with M-G-M and starred as Nurse Mary Lamont in the popular film series Dr. Kildare. She made seven Dr. Kildare movies with Lew Ayres in the title role. In 1946, she signed a contract with RKO. Her contract stipulated that she would make one movie per year at $100,000. During the late 1940s, Day co-starred with John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and Robert Mitchum. Some of Day’s films include Those Endearing Young Charms (1945), The Locket (1946), and Tycoon (1947) with John Wayne.


Foreign Correspondent trivia

  • Gary Cooper was offered the John Jones role but turned it down. He regretted it once he saw the film.
  • Alfred Hitchcock had two films up for Best Picture of 1940. This film and Rebecca.
  • Hitchcock had wanted Barbara Stanwyck or Joan Fontaine for the female lead.
  • The film was made before the U.S. had entered the war. The closing scenes of the movie were added when it became clear that the bombing of London was imminent.
  • An entire square was built on a ten-acre site for $200,000 (over $4M today).
  • A flight on the Clipper 314 cost $675.00 round trip which is roughly $12,000 in today’s dollars.
  • Laraine Day was 19 years old during production.
  • The film was a box-office hit but the film’s budget was so high that it didn’t make a profit for the filmmakers.


Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, and George Sanders

Click HERE to join the discussion on April 15, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation and a link to join the discussion on Zoom.

Click HERE to watch the movie on YouTube.

Discussion questions

  1. Where do you think this film ranks with other Hitchcock movies?
  2. The film is famous for its elaborate set pieces. Were you impressed with the film’s recreation of Amsterdam?
  3. Joel McCrea was Hitchcock’s second choice for the lead. What did you think of his performance?
  4. Laraine Day was only 19 years old when she took on the role of Carol Fisher. What did you think of her performance?
  5. Were there any other performances that you enjoyed?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...