SABOTEUR (1942) B/W 108m dir: Alfred Hitchcock
w/Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane, Otto Kruger, Norman Lloyd, Murray Alper, Alma Kruger
Hitchcock. the "master of suspense," uses every gimmick in the book in this WWII spy story set in Nevada and New York. Exciting climax at the Statue of Liberty.
From Variety 's review of the film: "Saboteur is a little too self-consciously Hitchcock. Its succession of incredible climaxes, its mounting tautness and suspense, its mood of terror and impending doom could have been achieved by no one else. That is a great tribute to a brilliant director. But it would be a greater tribute to a finer director if he didn't let the spectator see the wheels go round, didn't let him spot the tricks --- and thus shatter the illusion, however momentarily.
"Like all Hitchcock films, Saboteur is excellently acted. Norman Lloyd is genuinely plausible as the ferret-like culprit who sets the ... airplane factory on fire. Robert Cummings lacks variation in his performance as the thick-headed, unjustly accused worker who crosses the continent to expose the plotters and clear himself; but his directness and vigor partly redeem that shortcoming.
"There is the customary Hitchcock gallery of lurid minor characters, including a group of circus freaks, a saboteur whose young son has the macabre habit of breaking his toys, and a monstrous butler with a fondness for a blackjack."
The writers of this film were Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison, and that infamous character, Dorothy Parker. Pay attention in the scene where Cummings and Lane are stranded in the desert. There's a car with a man and a woman that stops to offer the couple help. The woman in that car is Dorothy Parker herself. In Marion Meade's biography of the writer she relates how Parker was so thrilled to be in the film that she would get friends to go to the theater (in New York) where the film was playing, sit patiently through the film to the point where she made her "cameo" appearance, and then --- as soon as her part was finished --- insist that they leave the theater.