UNMASKING THE MAN BEHIND YOUR BACK!
After being wrongfully accused of having sabotaged the aircraft factory where he’s working, an act that leaves one man dead, Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) goes on the lam to find the guilty enemy agents… A thriller made during World War II, which is obvious from the start; the issue of someone betraying your country becomes even scarier in wartime. A traditional Hitchcock setup, with our hero trying to expose a spy ring; Cummings may not have been a huge star, but he’s engaging as the blue-collar worker. The director deftly weaves an ironic sense of humor into the story (love those roadside billboards) as well as tension. The Statue of Liberty finale has become a classic.
1942-U.S. 108 min. B/W. Produced by Frank Lloyd. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Screenplay: Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison, Dorothy Parker. Cinematography: Joseph Valentine. Cast: Robert Cummings (Barry Kane), Priscilla Lane (Patricia “Pat” Martin), Norman Lloyd (Frank Fry), Otto Kruger, Alan Baxter, Alma Kruger.
Trivia: Gary Cooper was considered for the lead. The capsized ship near the end is actually the SS Normandie, which had caught fire and capsized in New York harbor earlier that year.
Last word: “‘Saboteur’ was not successful to my mind because I don’t think Cummings was right. He was too undramatic, he had what I call a ‘comedy face’, and half the time you don’t believe the situations. Think of the difference between that and Robert Donat in ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’. From an audience point-of-view, I should have reversed the positions of Cummings and Lloyd on the Statue of Liberty at the end of the picture. The audience would have been much more anxious if the hero had been in danger, not the villain.” (Hitchcock, interview with Peter Bogdanovich)