Foreign Correspondent, Alfred Hitchcock, 1939
This is an early black and white political suspense classic by the master of the genre, Alfred Hitchcock. What makes this film somewhat different from his other later classics like The Birds or Rear Window is its evocation of up front patriotism at a time when Europe was getting set for war in the late 1930's. The Foreign Correspondent Johnny Jones(for an American newspaper, of course) in this case (played by boy next door Joel McCrea) is sent to Europe to get the facts, and nothing but the facts, about what was happening there-namely was war really in the offing or was it merely a European-based imperial ploy.
Along the way he runs into people and organizations (the leader of one played by arch-British gentleman Herbert Marshall) whose sole purpose is to agitate for war -for the benefit of the other (unnamed but we know, right?) side. As McCrea and later a British correspondent (played by George Sanders) dig deeper they figure out the real deal and try to each single-handedly try to crush it.
Of course, along the way there is a little off-hand romance involving McCrea (with Marshall's daughter- the girl next door- Larraine Day) but not to worry `justice' will out in the end. A rather interesting point is that the traitor Marshall in the end finishes up heroically. Well, I guess we have to remember this was still a time when the British Empire, at least formally, held sway in the world so that even scoundrels, as long as they were British scoundrels, had to keep a stiff upper lip and do the right thing for old John Bull. As a thriller this film is interesting. As a political statement it is much too ham-handed.