This 1940 release isn't one of Hitchcock's best, but it's worth seeing for the remarkable setpieces and appealing performances.Joel McCrea plays the foreign correspondent of the title, a likeable but none-too-swift American who gets caught up in espionage in Europe. The plot is forgettable (and absurd), but Hitchcock keeps the mayhem moving along at a brisk clip. His visual layout for the movie is remarkable, especially the set pieces. There's an assassination outside of Amsterdam city hall, during a rainstorm, where the assassin escapes under cover of a sea of umbrellas. There's also a memorable sequence that takes place in and around a cluster of windmills somewhere in the countryside. And finally there's a plane crash into the ocean which, despite its obvious artifice (it was filmed inside a studio tank), still holds one's attention thanks to the accumulation of vivid detail, rather than the frenetic editing that marks, and sometimes mars, contemporary "lost at sea" sequences.
Robert Benchley, Edmund Gwenn, George Sanders, Herbert Marshall, and the German actor Albert Basserman (who got an Oscar nom despite learning his English dialogue phonetically!) round out the fine cast.Lesser Hitchcock, but still enjoyable after six decades, thanks to the good cast and Hitchcock's visual flair.