Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sabotage (1936)

One thing about Hitchcock's movies is that even though they are about murders, criminals, wrongdoings, etcetera, his films are first and foremost about entertainment. They don't tend to be grim affairs, with a few exceptions of course, such as Vertigo. Another exception is Sabotage, a grim little thriller he made when he was with Gaumont Pictures in England. Sylvia Sidney plays a young woman married to an older man (Oscar Homolka), who is secretly part of a group of saboteurs (Nazis presumably, although unnamed) in London. She is devoted to her younger brother, and the central sequence of the film involves the saboteur using the young boy to deliver a bomb to Picadilly station. Things go disastrously wrong, naturally. There is also a romantic figure, a detective from Scotland Yard played by John Loder who has a crush on Sylvia Sidney, but the film maintains its aura of dread and gloom. It's a great movie, perfectly filmed, perfectly acted, and with a genuine sense of suspense and also of place. It really captures the bustling dirty streets of 1936 London.

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