Alfred Hitchcock's second American film, Foreign Correspondent is a typically skillful, well-balanced suspense thriller from the unrivalled master of the genre. Popular upon its release and still considered one of the director's most entertaining works, the picture is undercut somewhat by its lackluster leads, Joel McCrea and Laraine Day. Hitchcock originally wanted Gary Cooper for the lead, but often had trouble attracting Hollywood stars since many considered his films mere pulp entertainment. Regardless, Foreign Correspondent is most memorable for its grand set pieces. All are prime examples of Hitchcockian art: the assassin's escape into a crowd of umbrellas; the plane crash into the ocean (shot indoors on a huge set at MGM); and the famous windmill sequence. The film's blatant call for America to take arms against Nazi Germany was penned by screenwriter Ben Hecht (Scarface, Notorious). Hitchcock's other anti-Nazi movies from the World War II era included Saboteur, Lifeboat, and Notorious; he also made two French-language propaganda films.