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Customer Review

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Wrong man" thriller looks great on DVD, September 19, 2004
This review is from: Saboteur (DVD)
The factory where Barry Kane(Bob Cummings)and his friends work building war time airplanes explodes into flame during a lunchtime break.When Kane and his best friend move in to put out the fire with fire extinguishers (the sprinkler system was mysteriously out of order), Kane's friend is killed. When it's uncovered that the fire extinguisher handed to them by Fry was filled with gas, the authorities suspect sabotage and Kane becomes the prime culprit. Now Kane must track down the mysterious an unfriendly stranger named Fry (Norman Lloyd in a sharp, scary performance) in order to prove his innocence. Fry mysteriously vanishes leaving Kane (in a witty reference to Orson Welles "Citizen Kane")the only visible suspect of the sabotage. In the process he discovers a facist group called "the Fifth Column" which, somehow, is involved in this conspiracy.

A midperiod minor classic from Hitchcock, "Saboteur" features a number of marvelous sequences that make it instantly memorable. The sequence where Kane tries to save someone dangling from the Statue of Liberty foreshadows his later films like "North by Northwest" and even "Vertigo". The full screen presentation (for those who are interested no movies were shot in widescreen prior to the mid-50's. Widescreen was designed to couteract the effect of television)looks quite good. Universal clearly spent quite a bit of time spiffing up this black and white thriller. The transfer is quite good with solid blacks, whites and grays. The picture occasionally suffers from a bit of edge enhancement and there are occasional analog imperfections but, on the whole, "Saboteur" looks terrific. Universal has done a great job of paying tribute to Hitchcock by putting together this carefully researched and transferred disc.

My only complaint is that there isn't a commentary track featuring someone like Peter Bogdanovich and some of the production crew/cast interviewed for the DVD. Additionally, some comments from Bogdanovich's famous interviews with Hitchcock for his book would also have spiced this up a bit. There weren't many comments on "Saboteur" included in the book but those that reference the film and its era would have been welcome.

The DVD includes a documentary on the making of the film with interviews with Pat Hitchcock O'Connell (Hitch's daughter), actor Norman Lloyd (who plays Fry and became a frequent Hitchcock collaborator and ultimately ended up co-producing "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" with Joan Harrison), associate art director Robert Boyle and cast members. We also get to see Hitch's storyboards for certain sequences in the film as well as Hitch's sketches, production photographs, photo and poster gallery from the film. We also get production notes, cast and filmmaker info and the original theatrical trailer. A nicely done package by Universal, "Saboteur" was put out as part of Universal's series of Hitchcock films back in the year 2000. The witty script (credited by Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison and the witty Dorothy Parker), performances (Bob Cummings does a great job in light of the fact that he wasn't Hitch's first choice. Gary Cooper turned down the part and Joel McCrea wasn't available although he was eager to work with Hitch again after "Foreign Correspondent")and direction, "Saboteur" may be of its time but it transcends the era it was made in.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2009 9:49:23 AM PDT
Grant says:
Just wanted to say thanks for a very complete and thorough review.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2009 3:47:21 PM PDT
Wayne Klein says:
Thanks for the compliment!
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Review Details

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Wayne Klein
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: My Little Blue Window, USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 179