Saboteur (1942) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A young man accused of sabotage goes on the lam to prove his innocence.

  • 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 Fry, the man who actually committed the act of sabotage at the aircraft factory.

  • This riveting wartime thriller stars Robert Cummings as Barry Kane, a Los Angeles aircraft factory worker who witnesses a Nazi agent firebombing his plant. However, it is Barry who is accused of the fiery sabotage, and to clear his name he sets off on a desperate, action-packed cross-country chase that takes him from Boulder Dam to New York's Radio City Music Hall to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Hitchcock's first film with an all-American cast moves with breakneck speed toward its final heart-pounding confrontation and it remains a suspense classic.

  • When sabotage destroys part of an aircraft plant, plant worker Barry Kane is blamed for the crime falsely. Determined to clear his name, he sets out to track down the man he believes to be the actual saboteur, the mysterious Frank Fry. He chases Fry across the western deserts to New York City, where he discovers a plot by a group of anti-American fascists, and the two men confront each other atop the Statue of Liberty.

  • A suspicious fire destroys a Los Angeles based military aircraft factory. An employee at the factory, Barry Kane, whose best friend perished in the fire, is implicated as the saboteur. Kane believes that a man that he met at the factory site that day by the name of Frank Fry is the true saboteur. Fry was acting as if he was an employee at the factory, but records show no employee by that name. With only memory of an envelope with Fry's name and address as a lead, Kane goes on the run from the police to track down Fry. Kane's search for Fry takes a turn when he meets Patricia Martin. Initially suspect of Kane, Pat ends up believing Kane's story and trusting him as a person. In their search for the truth in an effort to clear Kane's name, they discover a plot much larger and more dangerous than Kane could have ever imagined when he started his quest.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Munitions worker Barry Kane is falsely accused of setting fire to the Stuarts Aircraft Factory in Los Angeles, a fire that caused the death of his best friend, Ken Mason. Barry realizes that the real saboteur is Frank Fry, the man who handed him a fire extinguisher, which turned out to be full of gasoline. Remembering that Fry had an envelope addressed to him from the Deep Springs Ranch in Springfield, California, Barry goes there to find the killer, but the ranch's owner, Charles Tobin, tells him that he does not know Fry. Tobin's granddaughter, however, hands Barry a telegram addressed to Tobin from Fry stating that Fry is going to Soda City. Although Tobin has Barry arrested, Barry manages to escape from the police by jumping off a bridge. He then seeks refugee from a rainstorm in the home of blind composer Philip Martin. His sanctuary is invaded by the arrival of Martin's niece, New York model Patricia Martin, and though Philip senses Barry's innocence, Pat attempts to turn him over to the police. The fugitive is then forced to abduct her, and when their car breaks down in the California desert, Barry and Pat hitch a ride with a circus troupe. Later, they arrive in the ghost town of Soda City, which, they discover, is the hideout of saboteurs Freeman and Neilson. Barry is able to convince the killers that he is one of them, so Freeman offers him safe passage to New York City. Pat is convinced of Barry's duplicity as well, so she goes to the police. Once in New York, Freeman takes Barry to the mansion of society woman Mrs. Henrietta Sutton, where Pat is now being held by the saboteurs. Tobin then arrives and declares that his operation has been exposed by Pat's uncle and that Barry is not a part of their operation. As the fifth columnists discuss their plans to kill Barry and Pat, the two sneak into Mrs. Sutton's society ball. After Pat is snatched away from him, however, Barry is forced to turn himself over to Tobin. The next day, the saboteurs, posing as newsreel photographers, plot to blow up the battleship U.S.S. Alaska during its christening at the Brooklyn naval yards. Barry manages to escape from the Sutton mansion by setting off the fire alarm, and he stops Fry and the other saboteurs from blowing up the battleship, though the dock itself is destroyed. The saboteurs then take Barry back to their skyscraper hideout, where the police await them, as Pat had managed to escape herself and get help. Fry escapes to a nearby movie theater, but Barry is unable to convince the police to go after him, so Pat follows the saboteur to the Statue of Liberty. There, she calls the FBI and they rush to the monument with Barry. Barry chases Fry to the statue's torch, where the saboteur slips into the statue's hand and clings desperately to the giant palm. Barry tries to save him, but when the hem of Fry's jacket sleeve tears, the murderer is sent plunging to his death.

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