FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) B/W 119m dir: Alfred Hitchcock
w/Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Basserman, Robert Benchley, Edmund Gwenn, Eduardo Ciannelli, Martin Kosleck, Harry Davenport
McCrea is an American reporter in pre-WWII London who gets involved with a Nazi spy ring and the kidnapping of a European political figure (Basserman).
From The Movie Guide: "One of the great espionage films, tautly handled by the stellar Hitchcock, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT gleams with suspense, atmosphere and sharp dialogue. ...
"One of Hitchcock's greatest entertainments, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT is also a stirring propaganda piece which clearly indicts the Nazi regime. This fact was realized by no less than Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, who nonetheless hailed the film as a masterpiece, calling it 'a first-class production, a criminological bang-up hit, which no doubt will make a certain impression upon the broad masses of the people in enemy countries.' FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT also boasts some of the finest production design of its time --- a huge windmill set was built to simulate a Dutch location, and a square in Amsterdam was reconstructed on a 10-acre set --- a testament to the talents of [art directors Alexander] Golitzen and [William Cameron] Menzies. The acting is uniformly excellent, with McCrea an ideal Hitchcock hero and Marshall, Sanders, Gwenn, and especially Basserman stealing the supporting honors.
"FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT is perhaps best remembered for its splendid set pieces, which include an assassination in the rain with umbrellas bobbing everywhere, and terrific moments atop Westminster Cathedral, inside the windmill, and especially aboard a plane crashing into the ocean. Viewers are not likely to forget the struggle of the passengers as their air supply is slowly cut off. Not one of the director's profound meditations on voyeurism and sexuality, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT aims at something simpler than REAR WINDOW or VERTIGO; it shows him going through his playful paces at his professional best."
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT was nominated for six Oscars: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Basserman), Original Screenplay (Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison, James Hilton, Robert Benchley), Cinematography (Rudolph Mate), Art Direction, and Special Effects.