It may be one of the lesser Alfred Hitchcocks but it’s still pretty entertaining and it manages to turn 75 years old this year, today’s Sunday Matinee is 1942’s Saboteur.
Hitchcock was under contract to David O. Selznick but Selznick wasn’t interested in the story so Universal picked up the movie and produced it. Hitchcock didn’t get the cast that he wanted but Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings and Norman Lloyd do a pretty decent job.
It’s WWII and Robert Cummings is a worker at an aircraft factory. Someone sets a fire and destroys the building along with killing Cummings best friend. Cummings is accused of setting the fire and he goes on the run from the police to clear his name. He believes the real culprit is Norman Lloyd.
Cummings tries to track down Lloyd to a ranch owned by Otto Kruger who is a rich business man and also a fifth columnist. Along the way Cummings runs into Priscilla Lane who at first doesn’t believe his story and tries to turn him into the police. Cummings eventual takes Lane hostage and tries to go after the fifth columnists with her in tow. Eventually they end up in New York where Cummings eventual confronts Lloyd on top of the Statue of Liberty.
The movie did well but it was mostly a propaganda war effort movie with Hitchcock warning audiences that anyone could be the bad guy. Even rich respected businessmen. The plot itself is one of Hitchcock’s standards. The wrong man on the run. I still think he did it best with The 39 Steps and North By Northwest (which will be screening in theatres in August!) but this still an entertaining movie. Lesser Hitchcock is still better than most.