Sabotage (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Thriller  |  11 January 1937 (USA)
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Reviews: 72 user | 46 critic

A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.



(from the novel: "The Secret Agent" by), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Mrs. Verloc (as Sylvia Sydney)
Oskar Homolka ...
Her Husband (as Oscar Homolka)
Desmond Tester ...
Her Young Brother
Joyce Barbour ...
Matthew Boulton ...
Superintendent Talbot
S.J. Warmington ...
William Dewhurst ...


Mr. Verloc is part of a gang of foreign saboteurs operating out of London. He manages a small cinema with his wife and her teenage brother as a cover, but they know nothing of his secret. Scotland Yard assign an undercover detective to work at the shop next to the cinema in order to observe the gang. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...A Bomb Plot ...A Killing ...Justice




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Married a Murderer  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first name of Verloc (played by Oskar Homolka) was changed from Adolf to Karl to avoid any Nazi connections. See more »


When Mr. and Mrs. Verloc are talking about Stevie, the position of the toy sailboat behind Mr. Verloc changes between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Man in power plant: Sand.
2nd Man in power plant: Sabotage.
3rd Man in power plant: Wrecking.
4th Man in power plant: Deliberate.
2nd Man in power plant: What's at the back of it?
3rd Man in power plant: Who did it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown with a background of a dictionary page open to the definition of "Sabotage". See more »


Referenced in Dexter: The British Invasion (2007) See more »


Love's Old Sweet Song (Just a Song At Twilight)
(1884) (uncredited)
Music by J.L. Molloy
Lyrics by G. Clifton Bingham
Sung a cappella by a man lighting candles
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User Reviews

Easily one of Hitchcock's greatest films
16 March 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Ah, yet another Hitchcock movie that is less than famous but then turns out to be one of the best films ever made. Every Hitchcock film that I see just makes me want to the rest of his films.

Sabotage has a lot going for it. It is based on a novella by Joseph Conrad, the master writer who wrote Heart of Darkness (truth be told, that's the only novel of his that I've read the whole of, but I've been told that he has plenty of great novels besides that; I guess after Sabotage, I'm now obliged to read up). The story is excellent. Mix that with great characters played by great actors, and you've got yourself yet another Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece.

Maybe this film is not popular because it is atypical for Hitchcock. It contains tons of suspense, maybe more than any of his films besides Rear Window, especially in a sequence where he demonstrates his famous theory that a bomb that does not go off creates the suspense. No, this film is atypical because it lacks Hitchcock's masterful humor. This is usually taken as one of his trademarks, but I've seen several of his films that lack humor (or at least reduce it), and I find them just as good (I Confess, Rope, and The Birds). Instead, Sabotage may be the most emotionally affecting Hitchcock film, competing with the likes of Vertigo and Rebecca. It gives you characters to care about, especially Mrs. Verloc, played masterfully by Sylvia Sydney as a happy wife who discovers the hard way that her husband is a terrorist (don't worry, no spoilers here; we find this out in the first scene). John Loder plays Ted, a detective who falls in love with Mrs. Verloc, although she is clearly not willing, while undercover at a grocer next door. The best performance is Oskar Homolka's, who plays Mr. Verloc. Only Norman Bates is a more sympathetic villain than Mr. Verloc. We never do see why exactly he wants to sabotage things (and in this way, this movie is quite xenophobic), but we see that he does not wish to harm anyone, and that when he does he only does it through compulsion. He also cares greatly for his wife and her brother. Even at the end of the film, we understand why Mrs. Verloc wants nothing to do with Ted's advances. The film ends with an easy escape, but guilt remains heavy. 10/10

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