Hitchcock During Wartime

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Feb 19, 2014

Alfred Hitchcock’s second Hollywood film, Foreign Correspondent, is a killer caper—but due to what was going on in the world during its production, it’s much more than that. Following an American journalist investigating an escalating war in Europe, the film was made in 1940, a year before the United States entered World War II. Though Hitchcock didn’t originally intend for the project to be political, the news from Europe filtered in as it was being shot, and after it was in the can, Hitchcock and producer Walter Wanger even went back and added an unmistakably anti-isolationist coda, written by Ben Hecht.

This final sequence of the film is an example of Hollywood war propaganda, of which there would be much more in the coming years. In a new interview on our special edition of Foreign Correspondent, writer Mark Harris (Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War) talks about this period in Hollywood history, and in this clip, he delineates the awkward if not painful situation Hitchcock found himself in as a British émigré making movies in America while his nation, already one of the Allies, was in the thick of war.