Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1940. Walter Wanger Productions. Screenplay by Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison, dialogue by James Hilton, Robert Benchley. Cinematography by Rudolph Mate. Produced by Walter Wanger. Music by Alfred Newman. Production Design by Alexander Golitzen. Film Editing by Dorothy Spencer. Podcasts: My Criterions.
Alfred Hitchcock does it again with this fascinating spy thriller. An American reporter (Joel McCrea) covering news in Europe is supposed to be looking for signs of war when he stumbles across an enemy plot to fake the death of a peace-promoting diplomat (Albert Bassermann) and kidnap him. McCrea’s mundane daily reports are turning into a life-or-death investigation that spirals out of control as he tries to keep his newfound lady love (Laraine Day) safe and also get the information out to the right authorities. The screenplay is a fascinating web of complicated plot twists and turns, and Hitchcock pushes it all along with his fascinating visuals and clever photographic effects. It’s a great deal of fun getting lost in the folds of this terrific adventure.
The Criterion Collection: #696
Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor (Albert Basserman); Best Original Screenplay; Best Cinematography-BW; Best Special Effects; Best Art Direction-BW