SABOTEUR

ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Classed by the BFI as one of ‘Hitchcock’s Odysseys’, this could equally have been placed in last month’s category, ‘Hitchcock Goes to War’: it dramatises the struggle against pro-Nazi forces within the U.S. after the country’s entry into war in December 1941. But in structural terms it looks back to The 39 Steps and ahead to North by Northwest, one of a trilogy of political thrillers whose hero’s quest to clear his name and target the villains takes him on a journey across a whole country, meeting an enigmatic woman on the way.

While not as memorable as either of those films, partly because less strongly cast, Saboteur makes a powerful propaganda statement for its time, and remains effective today as a thriller with some great set-pieces – from a literally explosive start to a vertiginous suspense climax on the Statue of Liberty.

This film is screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Three (February 2nd – 27th), which is part of a complete retrospective of the filmmaker’s work running until March 2013. 

108 minutes, U.S.A., 1942, Black and White, 35mm

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