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Sabotage (1936)

Not Rated | | Thriller | 11 January 1937 (USA)
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.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Joseph Conrad (novel), Charles Bennett (screen play) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sylvia Sidney ... Mrs. Verloc (as Sylvia Sydney)
Oskar Homolka ... Karl Anton Verloc (as Oscar Homolka)
Desmond Tester ... Stevie
John Loder ... Ted Spencer
Joyce Barbour Joyce Barbour ... Renee
Matthew Boulton ... Superintendent Talbot
S.J. Warmington ... Hollingshead
William Dewhurst ... The Professor
Edit

Storyline

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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Married a Murderer See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some erroneous modern sources identify Sara Allgood as the uncredited actress playing the bird shop customer, but she does not appear in this movie. The identity of the actress in question is presently unknown. See more »

Goofs

The nitrate film that figures as an important plot point is shown as a single 1000 foot can of film. However, the boy is transporting a feature length movie and as such would consist of six or more such cans of film since film runs at 11 minutes per thousand foot reel. The films would also be carried in a metal case and the total weight would be quite a burden for a little boy to carry. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Version of Le roman du samedi: L'agent secret (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Great Sylvia Sidney Vehicle (before "Beetlejuice")
11 February 2005 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Like most Hitchcock films, "Sabotage" is a great thriller directed with a fluid, self-assured style. But given its thriller genre what makes "Sabotage" unique is that moments into the movie we know the identity of the saboteur, we know who is the undercover detective, and we know that the police have all but solved the case. So Hitchcock's suspense must come from somewhere else and in the meantime he must entertain us with character development. And that task falls to his heroine. Hitchcock had an uncanny ability to cast actresses who were a perfect fit (at that exact point of their career) to play a particular heroine. Fortunately he again makes the right choice and we are treated to a fine performance from Sylvia Sidney (imagine an expressive Sasha Cohen without ice skates).

The film is essentially a Sylvia Sidney vehicle as she plays a woman who slowly realizes that her husband is a monster. She is a young American woman who married an older European (nationality unknown) man who apparently showed kindness to her and her young brother Stevie (played by Desmond Tester) when they were down on their luck. They moved to London to run the Bijou, a struggling movie house.

Among the notable scenes is the meeting between Sidney's husband (played by Oskar Homolka) and a spy contact at the London aquarium; to the backdrop of a huge turtle swimming in an illuminated tank. The tank cross-dissolves into Piccadilly Circus as it is demolished in his imagination.

Another is late in the film when Sidney sits in the theater in numb shock, watching a Disney cartoon ( ( "Who Killed Cock Robin ?" )). There is not a word of dialogue but her eyes and expressions subtly convey an emotional cavalcade of stunned realization, immense sadness, and barely suppressed hysteria that will stay in your memory forever. It is a rare example of the visual power of film and an illustration of what acting for the camera is all about.

And perhaps most amazing is the long and unbearably suspenseful journey of young brother Stevie across London, unaware that he's carrying a ticking time bomb.


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