Week 27 brings me to Saboteur, this was interestingly the first Hitchcock film I saw, several years ago when it was shown on TV. At the time I had little knowledge of film but obviously knew the name Hitchcock. The film I remembered as being rather good, tense with a cool ending and this is generally how the film came across on my second viewing.
Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) is a worker at a Aircraft factory which is sabotaged, killing his best friend. Barry finds himself framed for the murder and sets on a cross-country journey – with the help of a pretty lady (Priscilla Lane) – in order to clear his name and find the real saboteur.
The film follows a typical Hitchcock storyline of a man on the run attempting to prove his innocence, however this is the first time in which Hitchcock was given a large budget to do this narrative meaning certain aspects could be made fantastically.
Firstly all of the explosions and fire look incredibly realistic which is brilliant and there is a sequence near the start where smoke moves across the screen which looks simply fantastic.
The film is full of tension throughout as the plot twists and turns and we wander who the saboteur is and if Barry will find him. There are several scenes extremely similar to ones in The 39 Steps, however considering the narrative is in essence the same this is no real surprise.
In terms of true Hitchcockian moments it will be hard to find a film in this challenge that shows his style more so than this one. Every feature which people think of or look for in a Hitchcock film appears. As discussed the plot-line is the one for which he is most famous. There are lots of POV shots (Barry looking through a telescope), murders, tension and the climax takes place on top of the Statue of Liberty, a famous landmark and high place, and that’s without mentioning the spiral staircase characters use to climb the statue.
There is very little wrong with this film in terms of a Hitchcock film, however in terms of actual filmmaking the plot seems a little weak. The idea that the entire plot is kickstarted because a guy drops some letters seems a little far-fetched and set-up to a modern film watcher like me, however the justification works.
There are also a few scenes in which nothing really happens and characters we don’t know or care for talk for a while. These scenes took some real concentration to get through, however they were generally followed by a great action sequence of tense moments making it no long before they where forgotten
Hitchcock makes a cameo standing in front a Drugs Store about an hour into the film.
Sabotage, as discussed is a interesting Hitchcock film and a true example of his genius at work. It is therefore difficult not to award the film 5 Hitch’s.