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Sabotage
Sabotage
Actors: Sara Allgood, Frank Atkinson, Joyce Barbour, Arnold Bell, Matthew Boulton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2002     1hr 21min

Alfred Hitchcock's 1936 drama, among his darkest, is the one to which he regretfully pointed later as the exception that proved his usual rule about good suspense: you have to let an audience know the precise danger that a...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Sara Allgood, Frank Atkinson, Joyce Barbour, Arnold Bell, Matthew Boulton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Leisure Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 01/08/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/1936
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1936
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 21min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

ONE OF HITCHCOCKS BEST FILMS
07/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Released in 1936, SABOTAGE is a first class example of what makes Alfred hitchcock the master of suspense. As a die hard fan of Hitchcock, I will admit that I originally bought this film on the bargain shelf to complete my collection. After one viewing I had an new favorite Hitchcock film. The plot is simple...London is being hit with acts of sabotage and the police suspect the owner of a small movie theater is responsible.An undercover agent tries to get information from the mans unsuspecting wife. The plot may be simple but the complex emotions that are revealed as the story progresses are not. Sylvia Sydney is outstanding as the wife and does an outstanding job in her portrayal of a woman whos entire world is crumbling around her, and she often does it without uttering a single word. Hitchcock is known for the style of his movies and trust me, this movie is one of his most stylish. Student filmmakers should be required to watch this movie to learn how to create suspense and intrigue. If you have ever seen and loved a Hitchcock movie, watching this movie will show that his unique sense of emotion and humor was fully intact even in his earlier films. I will end this by just saying...WATCH this movie."
GOOD FILM, BAD DVD TRANSFER
02/23/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is a wonderful old film, one of Hitchcock's most terse. Terrific acting, simple clean plot but POOR DVD transfer; grainy image and very thin audio. Avoid this until someone releases a better print. So far so bad with the HITCHCOCK COLLECTION."
Early, But Classic Hitchcock
Christopher Gooch | 12/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Based on the novel The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, this early Hitchcock film is about Mr. and Mrs. Verloc who own a movie theater. They live in a house attached to the theatre with Mrs. Verloc's little brother, Stevie.

The movie opens with the power in London going out. People are screaming. In a quick cut to the power supply place, we learn that it must be sabotage done with sand. Then it's cut to the movie theatre where Mrs. Verloc is trying to keep the patrons down in the candlelight, telling them they can't afford to give their money back. Mr. Verloc sneaks past, without her seeing him.

Upstairs in their house, Mr. Verloc washes his hands off and we see the sand in the bottom of the sink. The movie progresses from there as we learn of Mr. Verloc's sabotage and his orders to put a bomb on Picadilly Street. Because he's being closely watched by a Scotland Yard detective posing as the next-door vegetable store owner, Mr. Verloc sends Stevie to drop the "package" (bomb) off in a cloak room at Picadilly Street.

We watch Stevie in horror...

One of the best scenes of the movie is when Mrs. Verloc picks up the carving knife at the dinner table and we see her anger rising against her husband. The whole scene lasts perhaps a minute or so, but is completely silence. There is no conversation, just superb acting.

Oscar Homolka, who plays Mr. Verloc, is an excellent actor, just sometimes hard to understand because of his accent. Sylvia Sidney, in the role of Mrs. Verloc, demonstrated her superb acting ability in this tough role.

Hitchcock has always regretted the scene where we watch Stevie carrying the package (or bomb) throughout the city as it built up the suspense to a tremendous level before a huge let-down. I think I agree with him, though some critics think it is perfect the way it stands.

The filming is classic Hitchcock and he makes it seem, after a point, something like a dream. The characters seem to be well-developed and the ending abrupt but ironic. A movie worth watching-even if it was made in 1936!
"
"But she said it before. Or was it after? I can't recall."
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 01/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This moody thriller from Hitchcock's British period blends a somber and tense storyline with a budding romance borne from circumstance; something that would become a staple of his American films. While it may be just a tick below "39 Steps," "The Lady Vanishes," and "Young and Innocent" from the same period, it isn't far behind.

One of the reasons it reaches the level it does is the lovely Sylvia Sidney. She is simply fantastic as a girl in a dangerous and somber situation whose smile ignites the screen every single time it happens. She is married to Oscar Homolka who seems harmless enough but in fact is a saboteur.

British police are hot on his trail and as Ted (John Loder) tries to discern whether Sidney is involved or just an innocent bystander, he falls in love with the sweet girl who takes movie tickets and cares for her little brother Stevie.

The audience falls for Sidney too in this film based on Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent. The photography of Bernard Knowles adds atmosphere and tension to some truly exciting moments in Charles Bennet's screenplay. The film starts slowly but gradually draws the viewer in because they care about Sidney.

When the sabotage escalates to a bomb intended for Picadilly, Sylvia's husband uses young Stevie to deliver it. But he is delayed and the viewer is on the edge of their seat watching the clock tick down while Stevie rides the double-decker, the outcome very much in doubt. Sylvia's fate will be in doubt also as an impulsive act will have Ted trying to shield her from the consequences because he loves her.

This film has been in need of a quality release for a number of years, and is finally getting one. A commentary with Hitchcock author Leonard Leff, a Peter Bogdanovich interview with Hitch, a restoration comparison and still gallery are included on this long awaited release. According to the studio, it will also be close captioned, and have French and Spanish subtitles for those who need such. A great ending makes up for the slow start in a film carried by Sidney's bee-stung lips and smile like sunshine. Hitchcock fans don't want to dismiss this one from his British period. You'll become a fan of Sidney's after watching this one."