Movie Mirrors Index

Foreign Correspondent

(1940 b 120')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Suggested by Vincent Sheean's memoirs, a reporter discovers spies have abducted a pacifist, but he loves the spy's daughter.

Powers (Harry Davenport) sends reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea) to Europe, and Stebbins (Robert Benchley) greets Jones in London. Jones learns that pacifist Van Meer (Albert Bassermann) feels helpless. Stephen Fisher (Herbert Marshall) announces Van Meer could not attend, and his daughter Carol Fisher (Laraine Day) speaks. Jones goes to an Amsterdam peace conference and sees Van Meer shot on the steps. He and Carol in a car driven by Scot Ffolliott (George Sanders) chase the assassin to a windmill. Jones sends them for police and inside finds drugged Van Meer, who says they want people to think he is dead. By the time Jones gets Dutch police, the gang has left the mill.

Two policemen want Jones' story, but he slips out and into Carol's room in his robe. She is angry; but he says two men want to kill him, and she relents. He sends people to his room and gets clothes. Jones and Carol get on a ship but have no room. They both say they want to marry each other. At the Fisher home Jones sees Van Meer's captor Krug (Eduardo Ciannelli). Jones tells Fisher that Krug must be hiding Van Meer. Fisher and Krug plan to do away with Jones. Fisher asks Jones to hold his story and hire a detective for protection. Rowley (Edmund Gwenn) joins Jones and pushes him toward a truck. Rowley suggests a tower, but other people are there. Rowley tries to push Jones but falls to his death.

Ffolliott tells Jones he is on to Fisher and suggests kidnapping Carol, who comes in and persuade Jones to go to the country with her. Jones tells her he loves her, but she hears him getting her a room. Ffolliott calls on Fisher and says Carol was kidnapped, asking where Van Meer is hid. Fisher gets a call from Krug to come. When Carol arrives, Ffolliott leaves. Fisher goes to Krug and finds drugged Van Meer. Ffolliott comes in under a gun. Fisher asks Van Meer about the secret treaty, but Ffolliott says not to tell. Van Meer is tortured. After a struggle Ffolliott jumps out the window and runs back in with Jones, seeing them drive away.

Ffolliott can't get Fisher arrested. Ffolliott sends Stebbins for tickets to America and to Van Meer. War is declared. On a plane Fisher takes Ffolliott's mail and learns Van Meer talked, and he will be arrested. Jones apologizes to Carol. The plane is attacked and crashes in the sea. Jones, Carol, Ffolliott, and four others survive on a wing; but Fisher drowns. An American ship picks them up; but Jones can't wire the story. He calls Powers and tells the captain the story. In the final scene Jones speaks on radio during an air raid to keep the lights on in America.

The final air raid scene was shot five days before the first air raid of England in this timely warning to Americans about European war served up as an entertaining spy thriller with little actual knowledge about the war.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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