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Saboteur (1942)

PG | | Thriller, War | 24 April 1942 (USA)
An aircraft factory worker goes on the run after being wrongly accused of starting a fire that killed his best friend.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Peter Viertel (original screen play), Joan Harrison (original screen play) | 1 more credit »

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Priscilla Lane ... Patricia (Pat) Martin
Robert Cummings ... Barry Kane
Otto Kruger ... Charles Tobin
Alan Baxter ... Freeman
Clem Bevans ... Neilson
Norman Lloyd ... Frank Fry
Alma Kruger ... Mrs. Henrietta Sutton
Vaughan Glaser Vaughan Glaser ... Philip Martin aka Mr. Miller (as Vaughan Glazer)
Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Mason
Ian Wolfe ... Robert
Frances Carson Frances Carson ... Society Woman
Murray Alper ... Truck Driver
Kathryn Adams ... Mrs. Brown -- Young Mother
Pedro de Cordoba ... Bones - Circus Troupe
Billy Curtis ... Midget - Circus Troupe
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Storyline

Los Angeles aircraft worker Barry Kane evades arrest after he is unjustly accused of sabotage. Following leads, he travels across the country to New York City trying to clear his name by exposing a gang of fascist-supporting saboteurs led by apparently respectable Charles Tobin. Along the way, he involves Pat Martin, eventually preventing another major act of sabotage. They finally catch up with Frank Frye, the man who actually committed the act of sabotage at the aircraft factory. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'd like to say - IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE!... but every jolting scene is TRUE!! See more »

Genres:

Thriller | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cinquième colonne See more »

Filming Locations:

Owens Lake, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

For the factory sabotage, Sir Alfred Hitchcock simply used a shot of the front of the building with black smoke slowly billowing into the frame. Robert Boyle said Hitchcock made a drawing "in which he drew just the big doors and then he did a big scribble. He said, 'There will be an explosion.' And I thought that scribble more illuminating than the finest drawing you could make." See more »

Goofs

The bearded lady is identified in the credits as "Lorelei" but referred to as "Esmeralda" in the movie. See more »

Quotes

[to Patricia as they dance at a party full of Nazi sympathizers]
Barry Kane: Right now, they're probably haggling over the price for us with Murder, Incorporated.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Rather than finishing with "The End", the word "Finis" appears. This is perhaps an allusion to the fall of France, which is referred to in Pat's conversation with Fry inside the Statue of Liberty. See more »

Connections

Featured in Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Suspense (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
(uncredited)
Written by Don Raye and Hugh Prince
[Instrumental version heard coming from Mrs. Mason's neighbors' house.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
On the Road
19 November 2001 | by telegonusSee all my reviews

Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur is not one of his best-regarded films; made between two vastly more popular and critically praised pictures, Suspicion and Shadow Of a Doubt, it's generally regarded as a lesser effort. I agree that the later film is groundbreaking, drawing Hitchcock wholly into the American mainstream for the first time, but Saboteur is in its way at least as lively as Suspicion; its chief flaw being its less than charismatic star players, Bob Cummings and Priscilla Lane.

In Saboteur we find Hitchcock feeling his way around America, literally, as its lead character travels from California to New York in search of an arsonist for whose crime he was accused. Cummings is very youthful here, and quite engaging. His boyishness (but not immaturity) perfectly suits the character he is portraying, and seems appropriate, as the director, though middle-aged, was in the process of reinventing himself, and an older, more established star might have thrown things off. Priscilla Lane's spunky heroine, which not a typical type for the director, was very much a common type in American films at the time; and she and Cummings provide an openness and a youth the director needed both in his life and work at this time. I cannot imagine older, more solid types,--Cooper and Stanwyck for instance--doing any better, as they would have, between them, carried, well, too much baggage.

As is the norm in Hitchcock's films, nothing is as it appears. Where Saboteur differs from his better known films is that the audience is let in on the game early. Though Cummings is an accused arsonist, we know that he is innocent. The villains become apparent fairly soon; and the movie hinges more on its plot than its ironies. What pleasures there are are incidental, and here the Master does not disappoint. There is an interesting, Tod Browningish interlude with some circus freaks, who help Cummings elude capture. In another scene, reminiscent of James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, Cummings spends some time in the cottage of a blind man, who, as it turns out, is Lane's uncle. Was the director perhaps studying key American films of the previous decade? Whatever the case, these and other offbeat and discursive aspects of the movie give it a playfulness and variety, which, when one adds the factor of quite youthful leads, makes the picture seem like the work of a younger man, still learning his craft.

The film's later scenes, in New York, are more suspenseful and typical of the director, as the picture gradually becomes more Hitchockian as it moves along. In the end I find it a satisfying work; and as neither Cummings nor Lane has a dark side as an actor, neither does the movie have one. It is deliberately lightweight, and I suspect semi-experimental; an attempt by Hitchcock to see if he could pull off, in an American setting, the sort of story he had done so well in England. He succeeded admirably. The next logical step: Shadow Of a Doubt, a film in which the main character travels east to west, and with a wholly different set of values and plans.


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