Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 15, 2015

SABOTEUR (1942)

Everybody knows the climax to this Alfred Hitchcock film: Man hangs by a thread from the Statue of Liberty. The rest, not so much. More artistic bunt than solid hit, it remains fun, fascinating stuff, Hitch’s first All-American pic after the faux British duo of REBECCA/’40 and SUSPICION/’41, the American naïf in war spooked Europe FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT/’40, and a one-off screwball, MR. & MRS. SMITH/’41. Working with a medium budget & medium stars, Hitch plays safe with a sort of Stateside 39 STEPS/’35 innocent-man-on-the-run story, loaded with exciting/witty, technically savvy set pieces and a striking physical presentation. (Especially the first two or three reels, and of course that amazing climax.) Just not enough of the sleight-of-hand narrative misdirection & storytelling economy of the earlier classic. Heading East as they tail the real saboteurs, Robert Cummings & Priscilla Lane struggle without the star wattage & glamorous likablility of Robert Donat & Madeleine Carroll. And there’s a lack of chemistry, not between Lane & Cummings, but between Lane & Hitchcock. Norman Lloyd makes a grand film debut as the 5th Columnist with weak stitching in his jacket sleeve, and supporting villain Alan Baxter glows with real Hitchcockian perversity going on about long hair on little boys. Yikes!

READ ALL ABOUT IT: It’s hard to argue with Hitchcock’s own assessment: 

Looking back on SABOTEUR, I would say that the script lacks discipline. I don’t think I exercised a clear, sharp approach to the original construction of the screenplay. There was a mass of ideas, but they weren’t sorted out in proper order; they weren’t selected with sufficient care. 

(From François Truffaut’s classic interview book HITCHCOCK.)

DOUBLE-BILL: The writing/directing team Powell & Pressburger took a similar trip across Canada in their superbly worked out 49TH PARALLEL/’41.

No comments: