Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: Joseph Conrad (novel), Charles Bennett (screenplay)
Starring: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester, John Loder
Review By: Griff
As some of you may know, every Sunday this month they have been showing Hitchcock movies all day on TCM. It’s been great checking out some classics I haven’t seen in a long time but it’s also been really interesting running across some of Hitchcock’s lesser known movies. Last Sunday I was lucky enough to catch Sabotage a movie that was made almost 80 years ago but is eerily in tune with current events.
The movie opens with a total blackout in London. The power goes down everywhere and it looks as though someone has placed sand in a generator purposely sabotaging the electricity. We zoom in on a small movie theater where we meet Mrs. Verloc who is dealing with angry patrons at her movie theater. They all want their money back since the movie was cut short by the power outage.
Mrs. Verloc goes searching for her husband to see if she should return the money. Mr. Verloc is seen sneaking in the back door and washing sand off his hands in the sink, revealing him as the saboteur.
A few days later Mr. Verloc meets up with a small group of terrorist. The leader tells him that Lodon treated the power outage as a joke and that Lodon needs to be taught a bigger lesson. They set Mr. Verloc up with bird shop owner who is also a bomb expert. They want him to place a bomb in Piccadilly Circus. An event that the people of London won’t laugh about.
Rounding out the cast of characters is Ted (John Loder). A greengrocer who owns a shop next door to the movie theater. Ted is actually working for Scotland Yard and is there undercover. Ted is suspicious of the Verloc’s and is racing against time to prove that Mr. Verloc caused the power failure and to find out what he has planned next.
Like I mentioned earlier Sabotage is surprisingly relevant to modern times and it plays out like a movie that could easily be made today. This is definitely early Hitchcock and it lacks some of the polish of his later works but its still an excellent film.
Most of the acting is pretty mediocre except for an early appearance by Sylvia Sidney who is definitely the stand out. Some of you may recognize her as the Social Services worker with her throat cut in Beetlejuice.
Also interesting, is that Hitchcock has mentioned that he regretted the way that he had the action play out in this film and said that he would never do it again. (Despite the fact that the actions follow what happens in the book.)
If you are a fan of Hitchcock or just in the mood to watch something different. I recommend giving Sabotage a try. It gets 2 and 1/2 guys from me.
So this movie fell into the public domain some time ago so instead of the trailer I have posted the full film that is available on YouTube. Enjoy!