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The working titles of this film were Personal History and Imposter. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, the title was changed when producer Walter Wanger decided not to use the book Personal History by Vincent Sheean as the basis for the film. Wanger had bought the rights to the book in 1934, but decided to discard it after he declared several screenplays based on the book unsatisfactory. The problems of dealing with sensitive war-related issues also influenced Wanger's decision. In a New York Times interview, director Alfred Hitchcock said that the plot of the film was sufficiently removed from actual hostilities to fall under the category of adventure yarn.
Studio press releases contained in the production files of the AMPAS library list Hitchcock as one of the film's authors. Life credits Ben Hecht with screenplay, but he is not credited on screen, in Screen Achievements Bulletin, or reviews. Hitchcock makes his customary cameo in Foreign Correspondent by appearing as a man with a newspaper.
The film received the following Academy Award nominations: Best Art Direction (Alexander Golitzen); Best Supporting Actor (Albert Basserman); Best Cinematography (Rudolph Mat); Best Special Photographic Effects (Paul Eagler); Best Sound (Thomas Moulton, chief sound engineer of U.A.); Best Original Screenplay (Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison). It also appeared on both Film Daily's and the National Board of Reviews "ten best" list for 1940.