Jan. 26, 2011
23. Saboteur (1942)
Starring Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, Otto Kruger, Alan Baxter
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Plot: “Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run across the United States when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend.” (from IMDb)
***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*** This is a fairly uneven but always entertaining Hitchcock effort. It is not among his best, yet there are some memorable scenes and certainly a few of the director’s signature trademarks—the wrongly accused man, blonde heroine, road trip, culmination at a national landmark, etc. I thought Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings were a likable pairing, and the performances by the antagonists were fitting. Yet some parts of the film just felt out of place and kind of odd (like the scene with the circus people). I thought things started to get interesting when the blind man was introduced, but then they left and the film went in a different direction. I can only attribute this to the many screen writers that worked on the story; perhaps that is why certain elements seem incongruous. I read somewhere that Hitchcock himself regarded the script as being the weakness of the film. Some of the war-time propaganda also feels very muddled—like they weren’t quite sure what they wanted to say, and thus end up contradicting themselves somewhat. Despite its faults, this film is entertaining and worth the watch if only for the final scene which featured some cutting edge (for the time) special effects.