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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sabotage (1936)

A quietly unobtrusive cinema owner (Oscar Homolka) lives quietly behind the theater with his younger wife (Sylvia Sidney) and her kid brother (Desmond Tester). What his young wife doesn't know however is that her husband is involved with terrorists. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock in his British period, this film doesn't seem to get the love that LADY VANISHES or THE 39 STEPS get but it's every bit as good. Loosely based on THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad, this is a superbly paced thriller. The two central performances by Homolka and Sidney are excellent and as in most of Hitchcock's classic films, there is a terrific set piece and this one has two. The suspenseful bus ride with a bomb ticking away and the dinner scene with Sidney and the knife. The film has always been somewhat controversial because of using the death of a child as a focal point and Hitchcock himself has said if he could do it over, he would change that sequence but it's in Conrad's book and it remains in the 1996 film version of Conrad's novel too. The film was not a success during its original run but the ensuing years have solidified its reputation. With John Loder, Martita Hunt, Peter Bull and Torin Thatcher. 

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