Sabotage Film Details
Overview: A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective’s cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.
Tagline: … A bomb plot … A killing … Justice
Review: I cannot imagine how people rate this film highly. Have you ever seen the brief bit on Hitchcock between movies on TCM? Andre de Toth lambastes Hitch as a lazy and sloppy film-maker. After seeing Sabotage for the first time, I now understand why. I don’t think Oscar Homolka is intended to be funny in this drama, he’s dumb as a box of rocks! (In fact, every character in this movie is conveniently stupid!) In the aquarium scene, Homolka’s contact informs him that he won’t get paid until he accomplishes his job; Homolka’s minor interruption of electric service did not do the trick! But Homolka just says, “Huh? I don’t understand?” He is equally slow to catch on to the idea of bombing Picadilly Circus. HELLO! Then he stumbles into the wrong side of the exit turnstile, can’t figure it out and struggles there until the next person to exit pulls him into the right side. (Otherwise, I guess he’d still be struggling like a wind-up toy spinning its wheels in futility against a wall!) Then he has to be fed constant reminders about “Saturday at 1:45.” He is so incompetent and stupid that it is difficult to see his being used in a spy ring – even as a dupe. The scene where Homolka goes to the bomb-maker’s bird shop is totally inexplicable. In the spy game, contacts among agents are strictly minimized. Yet Homolka’s visit serves no purpose. We meet the bomb-maker’s family. We see his daughter’s toys mixed up in his bomb-makings. We see that he keeps his ingredients in ketchup bottles and jam jars. But Homolka doesn’t need to be there when the film-maker shows us these things. He risks going there just to be told that he will receive the bomb in a birdcage??? Why didn’t the aquarium contact tell him that? The undercover Scotland Yard man is equally dumb. We never hear him explain to either Sydney or Homolka who he is or show them any identification. He just launches into his interrogation of Sylvia Sydney in the open theater right under Homolka’s nose. Now that’s smart and discreet! He ends up revealing more to her than she reveals to him, even though she should logically still be under suspicion. He promptly interrogates Homolka in the same way. He doesn’t ever identify himself, but just launches into an interrogation. But he ends up giving Homolka more information than he gets. It’s a cinch that Scotland Yard didn’t build its reputation on the likes of that agent! When Sydney learns of her brother’s death, things really start to fall apart. Thereafter nobody behaves in a logical way or in a way that I could identify with. Apparently convinced of Homolka’s responsibility, Sydney doesn’t go immediately to the undercover agent, like any rational person. Instead she exposes herself and invites her doom by directly confronting her husband – who she apparently believes is a ruthless murderer. For his part, Homolka just says,”Sure I was responsible, but, hey, it’s no use crying over spilt milk; why can’t the cook ever prepare green veggies.” THAT whole scene between Sydney and Homolka is surreal – not a syllable of dialog that seems to ring true under the circumstances! Sydney cries, but she never seems to portray either real shock and/or grief or SUPPRESSION of shock and/or grief in order to maintain Homolka’s trust. The little boy’s death is an emotional footnote in this story. Even when Sydney awakens from fainting and envisions her brother’s image among the faces peering at her, or when she stops the child wearing the identical tie during her flight after killing Homolka, there is negligible emotional impact. When the bomb-maker’s wife urges her husband to retrieve the birdcage from Homolka, we are left to ask,”Why???” What is so incriminating about a couple of birds in a cage that Homolka gave the boy? So, she shoves him out the door of their shop with his hat, coat and umbrella. No bomb. No time to make one. Does he just keep ’em lying around ready-made “just in case???” No bomb when he hails the cab. No bomb in the cab. No bomb when he goes up to Homolka’s apartment. But – PRESTO, bomb! when he locks himself in the apartment and threatens the detectives banging on the door! Then after the bomb goes off, the detective in charge just tells Sydney she is free to go. The good inspector knows enough to absolve the wife of a terrorist without any investigation! In fact it is NOT apparent to anybody in the film – ONLY to us the audience – that Sydney is innocent! Unless you assume some uncorroborated statements she has provided the investigator – which the audience didn’t hear! This is just a sampling of the holes in this movie that are so big and so numerous and so glaring that, like Andre de Toth, I am compelled to conclude that Hitchcock was a very sloppy and lazy filmmaker. Could Hitch have imparted missing information to both the audience and the characters in the film? You bet, easily! Could he have imparted it in scenes that were more credible in a supposed spy-story? Absolutely! Could he have created characters who didn’t have to be dumb or defy professional standards in Scotland Yard to advance this story. DUH! One commentator characterized this story as “tightly written.” He must have gotten this film confused with some other movie. This movie absolutely fails to hang together at all. ALL of Hitchcock’s British films are vastly superior to this piece of swiss cheese. I chuckled at this movie – just not at the parts that were intended to be funny. Mostly I just scratched my head. How could this mess have been directed by one of cinema’s greatest?
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 76 min
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Also known as: Sabotagem,O Marido Era o Culpado,Agent secret,Fåglarna sjunga kl 1,45,Szabotázs,Sabotage,The Woman Alone,Sabotaje,Sabotaggio,Саботаж,Sabotaasi,The Hidden Power,Tajny agent,サボタージュ（1936）,Σαμποτάζ,À 1 e 45,La mujer solitaria,I Married a Murderer,London i fare,Una donna sola,Sabotaža