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USA 1940

In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock made his official transition from the British film industry to Hollywood. And it was quite a year: his first two American movies, Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent, were both nominated for the best picture Oscar. Though Rebecca prevailed, Foreign Correspondent is the more quintessential Hitch film. A full-throttle espionage thriller, starring Joel McCrea as a green Yank reporter sent to Europe to get the scoop on the imminent war, it’s wall-to-wall witty repartee, head-spinning plot twists, and brilliantly mounted suspense set pieces, including an ocean plane crash climax with astonishing special effects. Foreign Correspondent deserves to be mentioned alongside The 39 Steps and North by Northwest as one of the master’s greatest adventures.   

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 16th, 1940 - USA

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Comparison:

Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Also comes in The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection which includes - Strangers on a Train Two-Disc Edition / North by Northwest / Dial M for Murder / Foreign Correspondent / Suspicion / The Wrong Man / Stage Fright / I Confess / Mr. and Mrs. Smith

               

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1- NTSC Criterion Collection, spine #696 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:00:16 200:20.796
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Disc Size: 42,857,084,227 bytes

Feature Size: 24,947,970,048 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Personal History: Foreign Hitchcock
• Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

DVD Release Date: September 7th, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 36

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Disc Size: 42,857,084,227 bytes

Feature Size: 24,947,970,048 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
New piece on the visual effects in the film with effects expert Craig Barron (18:57)
• Hollywood Propaganda and World War II, a new interview with writer Mark Harris (25:19)
Interview with director Alfred Hitchcock from a 1972 episode of The Dick Cavett Show (1:02:06)
• Radio adaptation of the film from 1946, starring Joseph Cotten (25:07)
• Have You Heard? The Story of Wartime Rumors, a 1942 Life magazine “photo-drama” by Hitchcock (:37)
• Trailer (2:23)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar James Naremore

2 DVDs containing all the feature and all the extras of the Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Release Date: February 18th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - January 2014': Criterion's transfer is from a new 2K digital restoration and looks very good. The light scratches seen on the SD have been removed. Even the 1940 effects look superb! There is some texture and the 1080P shows more information in the frame - generally on all four edges. Contrast is more layered and detail heightens - often, in close-ups, to very impressive proportions. This is a giant leap beyond Warner's 2004 SD appearing significantly more film-like.

Criterion stay true to form with an authentic linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It sounds clean and consistent with hints of notable bass. Alfred Newman (The Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, Blood and Sand, A Letter to Three Wives, Panic in the Streets etc.) did the score and it plays well against the action and chase scenes. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion have added some wonderful extras - they have produced a new 20-minute piece on the visual effects in the film with effects expert Craig Barron who identifies some of Foreign Correspondent's thrilling set pieces. Foreign Correspondent was released a year before the U.S. entered World War II. The ending of the film was added at the last minute to bolster anti-isolationist sentiment among American viewers. In a new 25-minute video entitled Hollywood Propaganda and World War II writer Mark Harris is interviewed discussing this film's important role and other Hollywood propaganda films played during the war. Originally broadcast on June 8th, 1972 we get an interview with director Alfred Hitchcock from an episode of The Dick Cavett Show. It runs over an hour! Included is a 25-minute Radio adaptation of the film from 1946, starring Joseph Cotten. Cool is Have You Heard? The Story of Wartime Rumors, a 1942 Life magazine “photo-drama” by Hitchcock. There is also a trailer plus the package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film scholar James Naremore. The package is Dual-Format containing two DVDs - one with the film and a second with the many extras.

I got so much more out of this film that when I watched it on DVD. It is great to see The Master's film treated so well in the new format with great a/v and substantial supplements. This is strongly recommended!

***

This is an older film than most on the Boxset and so there is a lot of slight damage present in many scenes. Still, it is sharp with film grain and excellent contrast. Warner have it down to a science now. Another strong recommendation.  out of       

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Menus

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 
 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures

Box Covers

Also comes in The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection which includes - Strangers on a Train Two-Disc Edition / North by Northwest / Dial M for Murder / Foreign Correspondent / Suspicion / The Wrong Man / Stage Fright / I Confess / Mr. and Mrs. Smith

               

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1- NTSC Criterion Collection, spine #696 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




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Gary Tooze