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ALFRED HITCHFORK'S 'FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT' WITH JOEL MCCREA

Formerly doubled w/ Berlin Correspondent Foreign YEAR: 1940
Instead of gentle giant Gary Cooper, who was director Alfred Hitchock's original choice, and an actor most directors were in love with, it's lanky Joel McCrea who intrepidly traipses around Europe, specifically Holland and London, in search of an important man who's memorized what would possibly end the looming Second World War...

Had Cooper played New York reporter John Jones (using a heroic pseudonym), he'd probably be a lot more serious and deadpan within this extremely important, perilous assignment/situation compared to McCrea, who, dapper and always joking around no matter how dangerous the risks, cruises passively shotgun in a vehicle driven completely by the adventure at hand, which means lots more than the character: he's as a proverbial kite is to the breeze, and extremely breezy at that.

Martin Kosleck as Tramp
Like every Hitchcock movie there are a few memorable moments that embody and represent the entirety: including the famous shot of those moving umbrella-tops after a, for that time, bloody and exploitative assassination, and what's one of the all-time greatest Hitchcock sequences involves a very intriguing windmill, from the outside and especially the dusty, strategic interior...

Those iconic moments aside, the slipstream direction perfectly guides the viewer as easily as a children's book with pictures even a grownup can't put-down while the plot, full of exposition needing close attention paid to, remains imperative from one location to the next as McCrea always has a brand new pitfall awaiting... And though he often prances through obstacles like Fred Astaire waltzing the walls, it's all extremely fun and energetic, and practically non-stop...

McCrea & Kosleck
Although the "Old Boy" (a British term for any man) is not alone... Other than the gorgeous girl-next-door in porcelain doll beauty Laraine Day... whose initially helpful, charming father is important on many levels... there's the perfectly suited cocky counterpart in English character-actor George Sanders, a completely different kind of adventurous sidekick involving stand-alone scenes and wily, resilient determination along with fast-paced survival skills and quick-thinking wordplay that even trumps our perhaps too affable yet always likable hero.

Looking like a band photo FOREIGN Score: ****1/2
Other supporting characters include BERLIN CORRESPONDENT actor Martin Kosleck as a windmill dwelling "Tramp" who's not what he seems, later on making for a tough mug within the small band of formidable heavies; JAWS author Peter Benchley's granddad Robert as a stocky, talkative fellow and on the nefarious flip-side is stout yet tough Edmund Gwenn, far from Santa Claus here, as one of the most sinister yet unlucky thugs ever; as well as a main villain with intriguing layers beyond the usual monologue-spouting, cliched agenda: From a building top to a crashing plane to the middle of a stormy, war-torn Atlantic, the action never lets up, guided sublimely by the kind of wish-fulfilled suspense only Hitch could provide – this was his espionage rollercoaster following THE 39 STEPS and paving the way to his most famous high octane adventure, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

George Raft faces Robert Sacchi YEAR: 1980
BONUS REVIEW OF THE MAN WITH BOGART'S FACE: We're not finished yet, and it's shocking that THE MAN WITH BOGART'S face wasn't a made-for-TV movie (Movie of the Week) because for better or worse, it not only resembles one but plays out like one, being idyllic and laidback from beginning to end...

Neat poster artwork
Imitating not only the puss of legendary Early-Noir icon, Humphrey Bogart, whose two gumshoe private eye flicks, THE BIG SLEEP and THE MALTESE FALCON, are spoofed, but featuring a much older and heavier Martin Kosleck in an important cameo, and the first clue in one of several maze-like missions involving a normal guy who goes under the knife to surgically resemble his matinee idol, and Robert Sacchi is a dead ringer... His voice, though, leaves plenty to be desired, a sort of imitation of an imitation: yet it's all a classic film labor-of-love featuring Bogie's THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT older brother George Raft in his final role, and a painting of LAURA starlet Gene Tierney, who was in a film with Bogart but not that one... In fact, this review involves Dana Andrews, in a roundabout fashion... In Spade's office is the iconic LAURA painting, and he's fallen in love with it, and makes reference to "the cop who fell for this painting," which is, or was, Dana himself... Too bad he didn't make a cameo, walking in an taking the painting at the last minute (few, though, would get the reference). It's interesting that Tierney is brought up so much, as if she were Lauren Bacall, Bogie's wife and main co-star... Perhaps there was a stipulation not to mention her, and so, Gene became the epitomizing example of a beautiful dame.

Martin Kosleck... SCORE: ***
Overall, the movie provides a decent satire on the complicated task of an antique private dick struggling to figure who's out to kill him or help him, kiss him or screw him around, or all at once...

Director Cameo in FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT
Pretty vixens include Warren Oate's DILLINGER moll Michelle Phillips, compared to Tierney in sharing her "teeth too big for her face" (in a complimentary fashion) and the prettiest, most docile.... and the daughter of Kosleck's dead German...  The 1960's ROMEO AND JULIET starlet Olivia Hussey in this fun but flawed, somewhat forgotten little movie that often delves into cinematic inside jokes too inside while sporadically delving outside the box with ludicrous scenes that are just too offbeat to be humorous or effective. Yet it's the pulpy, muscular dialogue that really works along with 70's style flash-cut editing... the scene-change occurring a nanosecond following certain punchlines... And there's a LADY FROM SHANGHAI mirror sequence inside a wax museum where of course, the Wax Bogart stands, and a load of decent fight sequences that, at times, could make you forget this isn't the real deal – not an actual Bogart flick, of course, but a story made to be taken seriously, because Sacchi, for the most part, does love his job, and especially his face – all one in the same.
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