Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Foreign Correspondant (1940)

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!

Now that's a killer serious in building his portfolio!

Genre: Adventure Drama Romance Thriller

Starring: Joel McCrae (Sullivan's Travels; The Palm Beach Story), Laraine Day

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Secret Agent; Blackmail)

Overview: An American reporter is sent to Europe to get the real story about the impending war. What he finds is a conspiracy that runs so deep that he may not live to see the end.

Acting: I don't know how to break it to you. I've seen better. I think the writing makes the acting conducive to the type of acting that is in the style of too much American bravado and British smugness at the same time. I actually wonder if Hitch was making a comment on those countries or on stereotypes in general. The acting's fine, but it could have been less melodramatic, even for the Forties.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: Well we've got some genuine gold here, and worthy of high praise. The scene above and below is one of the best of the whole film, gorgeous in its visual presentation and almost as exciting as the climactic ending. In this Hitchcock doesn't create as much mood with light as he does with montage and editing, proving that he's either getting more comfortable with other aspects of film, or he's getting access to highly creative professionals. Either way, great sets, great look, great job.
Rating: 8

Script: With a story like this, it's surprising that someone could go off and harm it with words. Well as soon as you add lovey-dovey talk and cock-swinging nationalism, is seems to get the point of noticeably harming the film. This, sadly was the case here, but only to the point of being nothing more than average.
Rating: 7

Plot: A fantastic tale with a completely unnecessary romantic sub-plot. A run of the mill reporter is sent to get an interview out of someone who doesn't do interviews, then one thing leads to another, and our hero is ever on the heels of a story that's on his heels out to kill him. That's awesome. The end it great, the middle is cool, but the dame shouldn't even have been there.
Rating: 8

Hitchcock manages to do just a hint of film noir while rooting himself in a dramatic mystery. What disappoints me most about this films is that he's still thick in the muck of 'necessary romance'. I know it's the way films were made back then, but it's still painful to watch people soil a perfectly great and intense story simply because they all need a love story. I wonder why personal survival isn't enough to keep people engrossed. Why the need for protecting a new love interest has to be constantly present is as many films as possible must be a generational thing, because it's beyond me.
Rating: 8

Super awesome umbrella scene!

Overall Rating: 76% (All Too Common)

Aftertaste: My biggest overall problem with Alfred Hitchcock has to be his insistence of the use of either the love triangle or the new love interest that needs protection. So many of his films include not women in danger but women who end up in danger because the man they met is involved in intrigue. It is without a doubt the biggest killer of enjoyment, simply because it seems so out of place in these sorts of films. Ugh. The Forties.