“I don’t want correspondence; I want news!”
A crime reporter (Joel McCrea) sent to London to investigate the imminence of WWII falls for the daughter (Laraine Day) of a peacekeeper (Herbert Marshall) with a secret agenda.
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, while this “often neglected spy thriller by Alfred Hitchcock” is “a little too long and a bit muddled”, it possesses “several memorable sequences”, an “affable hero” (McCrea), and an “appealing” female lead (Day). All-American McCrea is an inspired choice to play one of Hitchcock’s “innocent” male protagonists, while Edmund Gwenn is wonderfully cast against type as an assassin, and it’s great fun to see George Sanders in a supporting role as perhaps the most uniquely named reporter ever: ffolliott. The three scenes depicted by stills below — the superbly edited assassination attempt, the windmill encounter, and the airbound finale — all rank among Hitchcock’s most indelible action sequences. While some complain that the patriotic ending — in which McCrea urges the Allied forces to rally in their efforts against the Nazis — smacks of propaganda, it’s easy enough to forgive Hitchcock and his screenwriters, given the tenuous nature of world events when this film was released.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- The visually memorable assassination attempt
- The windmill sequence
- The exciting, special-effects-laden airplane finale
- Fine performances (by both lead and supporting actors) throughout
- Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison’s often crackling, witty screenplay
Yes, as one of Hitchcock’s greatest “early” films.