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FAQ for
Sabotage (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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No. Saboteur (1942) has an original screenplay. Sabotage (1936) has a screenplay based on Joseph Conrad's novel, The Secret Agent. The stories of these two Hitchcock films are unrelated.

Incidentally, Secret Agent is a 1936 Hitchcock film with a screenplay based on W. Somerset Maugham's novel, Ashenden. It has nothing to do with Joseph Conrad's novel or Sabotage.

Countless distributors have released Sabotage (1936) onto VHS and DVD, often with a bad picture and unintelligible sound. This film would seem to be in the public domain, in which case any distributor could legally sell copies without paying royalties. Beware. Many small distributors market copies of public domain films with poor picture and sound. Others are more prestigious and deliver good transfers of the best available prints. Shop around.

You can begin your search here at

No. The US copyright to Sabotage was reasserted by Carlton Film Distributors, Ltd in 1997 and the rights subsequently transferred to Granada International. As per the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (1994) signed by President Clinton, Sabotage remains under copyright until at least 2050 (being 70 years after the death of the principle director, according to the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988).

Details of the copyright restoration notice for Sabotage (and other Hitchcock films) can be found on the U.S. Copyright Office website at:

Where the transfer is based on an unlicensed source -- which is typical of many of the US budget DVD releases of the film -- the quality is usually poor. In contrast, licensed DVD releases (e.g. those released in Europe) are usually excellent. Unfortunately, the continued sale of unlicensed DVDs helps to perpetuate the myth that the film is in the public domain.


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