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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hitchcock Month - Saboteur

Saboteur (1942)
Starring Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

I started this fest with a flick called Sabotage and I'm ending it (with the exception of tomorrow's Psycho post) with one named Saboteur.  In this day and age where we're living in constant terror alerts, a movie like Saboteur made in 1942 is oddly prescient.  A few years ago, the notion of people in the US doing harm to our country may have seemed ridiculous, but it's surprisingly meaningful in today's day and age.  Hitchcock crafts quite an exciting and fast-paced movie in Saboteur which definitely feels like a precursor to flicks like The Wrong Man and especially North by Northwest.

When a wartime aircraft factory goes up in flames in a terrorist-type attack, worker Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) is wrongly accused of the crime.  He soon finds himself on the run from the police and meets a dame (Priscilla Lane) who helps him uncover the truth behind the saboteurs who are seeking to bring down America.

It's a simple premise, but Hitchcock knows how to sell it.  There are several key set pieces (including a rather exciting finale at the Statue of Liberty) that really exhibit Hitch's techniques even at this early point in his American career.  His craft hadn't quite been as well honed as we'll see in Psycho or Rear Window, but it's easy to see why he was becoming an incredibly well-respected director.

The acting across the board is quite good.  Robert Cummings (who popped up later in Dial M for Murder) is excellent as the wronged man and Priscilla Lane is actually one of Hitch's more strong female leads.  Her part is rather small, but she's more than just the standard love interest which is rather refreshing.  Also adding immensely to the film are the secondary characters like the ribald circus performers Barry meets along his way and the group of evil (yet innocently neighborly) traitors within America.  All of the character actors were top notch.

I think I'm getting to a point in this fest where I'm kind of tiring of writing about these flicks (you can only say "thrilling" so many times).  That being said, I don't want you to think that I'm not as fond of this flick as others.  In fact, Saboteur is a Hitchcock flick that I'd highly recommend.  It's really one of Hitch's best and well worth a watch.

The RyMickey Rating:  B+

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