Foreign Correspondent (film)

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Joel McCrea as John Jones and Laraine Day as Carol Fisher
Laraine Day as Carol Fisher

Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 film about a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London on the eve of World War II.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison, with (uncredited) James Hilton, Robert Benchley and Ben Hecht.
The thrill spectacle of the year!  taglines

John Jones

  • Listen, I know I look a fool, but there's something fishy going on around here. There's a big story in this. I can smell it, I can feel it, and I'm gonna get to the bottom of it if it's the last thing I do. Nothing's gonna stop me. Do you understand? I'm gonna prove that that wasn't Van Meer that was assassinated, but his double.
  • Well, there but for the grace of God. I still don't know what instinct made me step aside when he came at me...I heard the lift coming up, and I turned. I saw that look in his eyes as he came toward me. In that split second, the whole thing flashed through my mind. All I could think of was Fisher. Fisher planned this. Then I guess I just stepped aside and over he went.
  • I'm in love with a girl, and I'm going to help hang her father.

Carol Fisher

  • It's lovely, isn't it? Sort of makes you forget all about the war and troubles. It would be nice if we could just keep flying for a long time, live in the clouds.
  • I think the world has been run long enough by well-meaning professionals. We might give the amateurs a chance now.


  • Stephen Fisher: I have fought for my country, in my heart, in a very difficult way; because, sometimes it is harder to fight dishonourably than nobly in the open.
  • Van Meer: I see now. There's no help. No help for the whole poor suffering world. You cry peace, Fisher. Peace. And there was no peace. Only war and death. You're a liar, Fisher. A cruel, cruel liar. You can do what you want with me. That's not important. But you'll never conquer them, Fisher. Little people everywhere who give crumbs to birds. Lie to them. Drive them, whip them, force them into war. When the beasts like you will devour each other, then the world will belong to the little people.


Mr. Powers: I don't want any more economists, sages, or oracles bombinating over our cables. I want a reporter! Somebody who doesn't know the difference between an -ism and a kangaroo. A good, honest crime reporter. That's what the Globe needs. That's what Europe needs. There's a crime hatching on that bedeviled continent.
Mr. Powers: How would you like to cover the biggest story in the world today?
John Jones: Give me an expense account and I'll cover anything.
Mr. Powers: I'll give you an expense account.
John Jones: Okay, What's the story?
Mr. Powers: Europe.
John Jones: Well, I'm afraid I'm not exactly equipped, sir, but I can do some reading up.
Mr. Powers: No no, no reading up. I like you just as you are, Mr. Jones. What Europe needs is a fresh, unused mind.
John Jones: Foreign correspondent, huh?
Powers: No, reporter. I don't want correspondence, I want news.

John Jones: [about whom to interview] Anyone else?
Mr. Powers: No.
John Jones: Well how about Hitler? Don't you think it would be a good idea to pump him? He must have something on his mind.

Scott ffolliott: Tell me. Who has he shot?
John Jones: Van Meer - Assassinated.
Scott ffolliott: Dead?
John Jones: Looked like it.
Scott ffolliott: Bad show.
John Jones: Couldn't be much worse from his point of view.

Carol Fisher: This is Scott ffolliott, newspaperman same as you. Foreign correspondent. Mr. Haverstock, Mr. ffolliott.
Scott ffolliott: With a double 'F'.
John Jones: How do you do?
Scott ffolliott: How do you do?
John Jones: I don't get the double 'F'.
Scott ffolliott: They're at the beginning. Both small 'F's
John Jones: They can't be at the beginning.
Scott ffolliott: One of my ancestors was beheaded by Henry VIII. His wife dropped the capital letter to commemorate it. There it is.
John Jones: How do you say it, like a stutter?
Scott ffolliott: No, just a straight 'fuh'.

Fake Dutch Detective: We simply want you to come with us if you will and tell your story to our chief of police here.
John Jones: Well, let me get this straight. Does this chief of police speak English? Because I'm a very busy man.
Fake Dutch Detective: It will take no more than half an hour, Sir. We all speak English.
John Jones:: All speak English? Well, that's marvelous. That's more than I can say for my country.

Carol Fisher: Well, you've made quite a day of it, haven't you?
John Jones: Now, listen...
Carol Fisher: Making fools of Scott Ffolliott and me in front of the local police, broken into my bedroom and disgraced me before a very important friend of my father's. What are your plans now, may I ask?
John Jones: I'll tell you if you wait just a...
Carol Fisher: You might at least have had your clothes on.
John Jones: Take it easy. This is serious. I've got to talk to you.
Carol Fisher: I've seen your serious business. What're you doing here?
John Jones: I'm escaping.
Carol Fisher: Escaping from what?
John Jones: From a couple of fellas in my room about to kill me.
Carol Fisher: May I ask who?
John Jones: Two gentlemen disguised as policemen, waiting to take me for a ride.
Carol Fisher: You're talking through your hat.
John Jones: But I'm not talking through my hat. I've thrown a monkey wrench into some international dirty business, whatever it is. I know Van Meer's alive. That's the reason they want to kill me.
Carol Fisher: I can think of others.
John Jones: Now look, you've got to help me. Not for my sake alone, but this is the biggest story in Europe.
Carol Fisher: Look! Your childish mind is as out of place in Europe as you are in my bedroom.
John Jones: Get over there. You see what you're doing?
Carol Fisher: All this is going straight back to London and will be common gossip by tomorrow. I don't care for myself, but my father's engaged in a great work. He's trying to help avert a war, a dreadful war, and this is just the sort of thing to discredit him. I know you care nothing about our work. All you're interested in is having fun with windmills and hotel bathrooms.
John Jones: You don't believe I'm in trouble?
Carol Fisher: You'll be in lot of trouble if you don't get out. Now for the last time, please go.
John Jones: Okay. But I want you to know exactly what's going to happen when I do go. I'll go back to my room and get dressed. I'll try and shake those two fellows off, but I won't succeed. They'll stick to me like a couple of tattoo marks until they get me. They'll stop at nothing. I seem to know too much. And you're right. I don't know the ins and outs of your crackpot peace movement. And I don't know what's wrong with Europe. But I do know a story when I see one. And I'll keep after it until either I get it or it gets me. Sorry you have those derogatory opinions of me...but I guess that can't be helped. So long. It's been nice knowing you.

Carol Fisher: Were you really going to tip that man 5?
John Jones: Of course. I charge all my traveling expenses to the office. Corrupting an official, 5.
Carol Fisher: You're just a wee bit unscrupulous, aren't you?
John Jones: Not unscrupulous. Just in love.
Carol Fisher: It's the same thing, I suppose...I beg your pardon?
John Jones: I beg yours. You see, I love you, and I want to marry you.
Carol Fisher: I love you, and I want to marry you.
John Jones: That cuts our love scene down quite a bit, doesn't it?
Carol Fisher: Do you mind?
John Jones: Not at all. It's made a new man of me.
Carol Fisher: I hope not entirely new. It took me some time to get used to the first man you were.
John Jones: To be perfectly frank with you, I expected a little more argument. I'm really left with quite a few things I very much wanted to say.
Carol Fisher: Save them until after we're married. I imagine they'll sound better then.
John Jones: I've saved things to say then, too.
Carol Fisher: You were really quite sure of yourself, weren't you?
John Jones: I didn't think I had a chance. A guy's got a right to dream, hasn't he?
Carol Fisher: Evidently.

John Jones: What do we do now, call Scotland Yard?
Stephen Fisher: I thought it best to send Monsieur Krug away.
John Jones: You let him get away? Listen...
Stephan Fisher: If what you say is true, then it's important not to rouse Krug's suspicions.
John Jones: Van Meer will be killed. Dead or alive, it's a story.
Carol Fisher: Johnny, father's right.
John Jones: Okay. I'll cable them what I've got.
Stephan Jones: I wouldn't, if I were you. Van Meer's life may depend on our keeping this quiet a few hours.
John Jones: Keep it quiet? A famous diplomat's kidnapped right under my eyes and I muzzle myself? I'm sorry, but this is a story with facts in it. This is the kind of story I'm here to get, the kind America's waiting for.
Stephen Fisher: It'll be a bigger story if you can wait a few hours until we find Van Meer and discover what's behind this curious business.
John Jones: I know what's behind it.
Stephan Fisher: I don't mean who is behind it. I mean the why of it.

Stephan Fisher: I don't like you dashing about without some protection.
John Jones: Forget it.
Stephan Fisher: If you're right, you need protection.
John Jones: I've covered beer mob killings and race riots without even carrying a rabbit's foot.
Stephan Fisher: These people are criminals more dangerous than your rumrunners and house-breakers. They're fanatics. They combine a mad love of country with an equally mad indifference to life, their own, as well as others'. They're cunning, unscrupulous and inspired. I couldn't face Mr. Powers again if you didn't live long enough to turn in the best story of the year.
John Jones: I'm gonna be a fine foreign correspondent hiding in an attic.
Stephan Fisher: I'm not suggesting you hide anywhere. Just get somebody to protect you.
John Jones: A nurse? Johnny Jones goes to Europe and hires a nurse. That's going to look great on the expense account.
Stephan Fisher: I know a very efficient detective agency where we can get just the man.
John Jones: Okay. Whatever you say.

Captain John Mark: Mr. Haverstock, I want a talk with you.
John Jones: Yes sir?
Captain John Mark: I just found out you're a newspaperman.
John Jones: I guess that's right.
Captain John Mark: Oh, it is, eh? Why didn't you tell me that when I questioned you? You lied to me, sir!
John Jones: My dear captain, when you've been shot down in a British plane by a German destroyer, 300 miles off the coast of England, latitude 45, and have been hanging on to a half-submerged wing for hours, waiting to drown, with half a dozen other stricken human beings, you're liable to forget you're a newspaperman for a moment or two!

English Announcer: [on the radio] This is London. We have as a guest tonight one of the soldiers of the press. One of the little army of historians who are writing history from beside the cannons mouth. Foreign correspondent of the New York Globe - Huntley Haverstock.
John Jones: Hello, America. I've been watching a part of the world being blown to pieces. A part of the world as nice as Vermont, and Ohio, [siren sounds] and Virginia, and California, and Illinois lies ripped up and bleeding like a steer in a slaughterhouse, and I've seen things that make the history of the savages read like Pollyanna legends. I've seen women... [bombs begin exploding]
English Announcer: It's a raid; we shall have to postpone the broadcast.
Jones: Oh, postpone, nothing! Let's go on as long as we can.
English Announcer: Madam, we have a shelter downstairs.
Jones: How about it, Carol?
Carol Fisher: They're listening in America, Johnny.
John Jones: Okay, we'll tell 'em, then. I can't read the rest of the speech I had, because the lights have gone out, so I'll just have to talk off the cuff. All that noise you hear isn't static - it's death, coming to London. Yes, they're coming here now. You can hear the bombs falling on the streets and the homes. Don't tune me out, hang on a while - this is a big story, and you're part of it. It's too late to do anything here now except stand in the dark and let them come... as if the lights were all out everywhere, except in America. Keep those lights burning, cover them with steel, ring them with guns, build a canopy of battleships and bombing planes around them. Hello, America, hang on to your lights: they're the only lights left in the world!


  • The thrill spectacle of the year!
  • MYSTERY IN WHISPERS that cracks like THUNDER!