Foreign Correspondent: Novel and Film

I admit that I enjoyed the film version of Foreign Correspondent much more than the novel. I was prepared to take lengthy notes on the parallels of the events in the film and the novel, however I was a little frustrated to find that the only obvious relation was the windmill scene. Additionally, where finding meaning and relevance to our world in the novel was chore-like, I enjoyed finding meaning in certain scenes of the film.

One of my favorite scenes is when Johnny/Huntley is riding in the car with Van Meer – the perfect interviewing situation. As he tries asking questions about the potential war, Van Meer is describing things outside the car that he finds intriguing. Van Meer tells Johnny/Huntley that he enjoys London in the summer, and he wishes that parks will always be in existence. A story about an exclusive, accidental interview with a powerful person regarding subjects like summertime and parks is so much more humanistic than gaining information just to beat out competitive correspondents. In thinking back to the class where communication was mentioned, I couldn’t help but think that the kind of correspondence that Johnny/Huntley was assigned was purely fact-relaying communication rather than involved communication. In relation to “hearing is not the same as listening,” understanding and involving yourself in a topic is more important than getting quick facts and answers – which is why I believe the plot was so dramatized and exciting; Johnny/Huntley was able to get a better story than he would have by just asking a couple of hollow questions.

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