Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Unlike pictures like 'Vertigo,' or 'Psycho,' Alfred Hitchcock's 'Saboteur' does not feed off of deep psychological themes. And it doesn't need to. The idea of an innocent man be accused of a murder, which Hitchcock uses in several other movies, is perfectly fine. Hitchcock is merely trying to make an exciting chase movie filled with suspense. He does that, but he also makes present his masterful direction and puts to use two fine young actors, Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. After a dreadful fire that kills one of his good friends, Barry Kane is merely trying to be of help. But when it is discovered that the fire extinguisher that Barry handed his friend during the fire was filled with gas, the police suspect that Kane is guilty of the murder. Kane is the only one who knows that a man named Frank Frye (Norman Lloyd) was the first to handle the extinguisher, and therefore he wold have known it would be filled with gas. So Barry escapes and travels across the country in pursuit of Frye. Along the way he meets Patricia Martin (Lane) a young girl who at first resents Barry because she believes him to be guilty, but is eventually won over by him. The chase leads them to New York, where Barry gets mixed up in a group of saboteurs. The most notable sequence in the movie is the climax on the Statue of Libery between Kane and Frye. The scene is brilliantly crafted, and Hitchock's decision to keep the music out of that scene only adds to its horrific wonder. There are also some clever characters who Barry meets along the way, such as a friendly and helpful truck driver, a kind old blind man, and a circus troupe of freaks who are quite funny. Though the movie isn't quite as good as what we call 'Hitchock's best,' this is still a thrilling piece of work from one of the best directors we have ever known.