I have known for a while now that Sabotage (1936) contained one of a the few mistakes that Alfred Hitchcock made on film. I wanted to see for myself how it all happened. Of course I knew it involved a boy on a bus with a bomb, that was all. Now with I am the other side I find this film to be a rare flawed film in the cannon of Hitchcock.
What is supposed to be a terrorist group in London, starting out by causing some minor disruption by effecting the power to the capital, where under the blanket of darkness anything could happen. We have an idea early on who has committed the act as Mr Verloc (Oskar Homolkaa sinister character who is not at all very open to his American wife, a role that is not really defined by Sylvia Sidney who is more interested in Ted (John Loder) the undercover police officer for Scotland Yard, whose guise as a grocer allows him observe the suspected Mr. Verloc at the cinema.
The film has all the regular hallmarks of Hitchcock all before the young boy Desmond Tester who is innocent to all around him. unlike Mrs Verloc who the more time she spends with Ted becomes suspicious of his identity, taking her attention away from the truth at home. All this is great stuff building up the unease and tension whilst a bomb-plot is being laid out.
It’s when the boy is sent on an errand to send a package to a station, where the bomb is supposed to detonate things start to go wrong. The build-up has me on the edge of my seat as time is ticking. Held back by events out of his control he goes along with it, unaware that he is carrying a bomb. A bomb that even Hitchcock knew should never have gone off. An act that hurts the audience and characters who act completely out of character. An act that an audience can still respond to terrorist attacks, sending us into states of shock. Not really knowing who we can trust, even those around us can be part of these terrible acts.
For me it all falls apart then, apart for a few brilliant moments when images play tricks on the mind. It’s as if Hitchcock knows he made the awful mistake and can’t go back. We see the effect that the events have on those left. A lesson that he tries to recover from, I just feel betrayed by what the explosion which send the plot spiralling to its confused climax.
- Sabotage (1936) (hitchcockwiki.com)
- Sabotage (1936) (filmschatten.blogspot.co.uk)
- Sabotage (1936) (theunabeefer.blogspot.co.uk)
- Hitchcock-a-thon: Sabotage (1936) (foldingseats.wordpress.com)
- Hitchcock Conversations: “Sabotage” (1936) (jasonbovberg.com)
- Sabotage (1936) Alfred Hitchcock (peoplearecrying.blogspot.co.uk)
- SABOTAGE (1936) “Who Killed Cock Robin?” (alfredhitchblog.wordpress.com)
- Sabotage (1936) (armchairaudience.blogspot.co.uk)
- Sabotage (1936) (klausming.wordpress.com)
- 100 Years of Movies in 100 Days – Day 27 – Sabotage (1936) (wearecinemaniax.wordpress.com)