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Hitchcock and the Censors$
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John Billheimer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177427

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.001.0001

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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

(p.71) 7 Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Hitchcock and the Censors

John Billheimer

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter examines the changes in the source material, script, and film of Foreign Correspondent wrought by the Production Code censors. The original source material was a memoir, Personal History, by Vincent Sheean, which was purchased by producer Walter Wanger. The Production Code office advised Wanger that the property would be unsuitable for filming, since it depicted incidents that might offend Nazi Germany and thus would violate the Neutrality Act. Wanger took the idea of a foreign correspondent, and little else, from the Sheean book and created an espionage thriller in which the country served by the villainous spies is unnamed. Alfred Hitchcock was hired on loan-out from Selznick, and before the film was completed, war had broken out in Europe. Siding with Britain, screenwriter Ben Hecht wrote a final scene in which star Joel McCrea pleaded in a radio broadcast for American involvement in the war effort.

Keywords:   Alfred Hitchcock, Joel McCrea, Vincent Sheean, Walter Wanger, Ben Hecht, propaganda, Foreign Correspondent, espionage, Neutrality Act

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