Newest Review: ... the way. The film begins with a silhouette of a man as the opening credits roll, lending a traditional 'film noir' feel to the movie. Th... more
Member Name: AbsintheFairy
Advantages: Engaging plot, interesting characters, great set-pieces
Disadvantages: None particularly, just not Hitchcock's best
After a bit of a break, I've started to watch my Hitchcock collection again and the film I chose first from the remaining bunch was the 1942 black and white film Saboteur.
Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) is falsely accused of sabotaging the aeroplane plant at which he works, and killing his best friend in the process. On the run from police, he must track down the real culprit and prevent another disaster in the process. The film is an example of Hitchcock's oft used 'wrong man' theme. It also stars Priscilla Lane as the daughter of a blind man who helps Kane along the way.
The film begins with a silhouette of a man as the opening credits roll, lending a traditional 'film noir' feel to the movie. The film is in black and white, which adds to the atmosphere. The original screenplay was partly written by Dorothy Parker, which helps to explain the rich, literary quality of some speeches. Overall the film is engaging and flows at a steady pace, with lots of interesting and exciting events, such as the scenes in the lorry, the charity ball, and the encounter with a number of circus 'attractions'.
Being set in World War II, the plot must have felt relevant to viewers at the time, and the film did well at the box office. There are a number of comments during the film on one's duty as an American citizen, with Barry Kane clearly supposed to be a shining example. The film was Hitchcock's first with an all-American cast, and the movie ends with a traditional Hitchcock set-piece starring the Statue of Liberty - a clear message of American ideals.
The special effects are very good for the time this movie was set, especially the ending, which works especially well and is suitably tense.
Overall I enjoyed this film - I thought it was well acted, well written and plotted, and excellently directed as per all of Hitchcock's efforts. It certainly isn't my favourite of his films, and indeed I found it harder to think of things to say about this one, compared to, say, Vertigo. It certainly pales into comparative insignificance compared with Vertigo et al, but seen on its own it is definitely a good film - it would be a great achievement if it was by any other director.
My disc, which is part of the Hitchcock 14-disc box set, includes a documentary which is interesting and well worth watching, as well as the original trailer and some artwork.
Saboteur is rated PG, a rating which I can't disagree with as there are no scenes which I would personally consider to be unsuitable for all but the youngest children.
Summary: Good film from the great director