Zach Davis

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Robert Cummings, Pricilla Lane, Otto Kruger, and Norman Lloyd

Saboteur is a down note in the career of one of Hollywood’s greatest directors—the legendary Alfred Hitchcock.  Offering little in content and spectacle, Saboteur ends up just being one big stinker of a movie.  This film was shot between two other Hitchcock classics, Suspicion and Shadow of a Doubt.  This might explain why his focus just wasn’t there on this project.

Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) finds himself accused of sabotage after a fire at the airplane factory he works at claims the life of his best friend.  Kane knows he can prove his innocence if he can find the real saboteur, a man named Fry (Norman Lloyd).  Kane sets out on the run to try and track this man down.  His search brings him to a large ranch in the desert owned by the man for whom Fry worked, Tobin (Otto Kruger).  Tobin promptly calls the police on Kane, who is a wanted man.  With this, Tobin helps to screw the framed Barry over, but not before Barry learns that Fry is in Soda City.  Barry escapes from the police and ends up at the mercy of an old blind man’s niece named Pat (Pricilla Lane).  Pat doesn’t know whether she can trust Barry, but she helps him get to Soda City to try and prove his innocence.  The two end up traveling all the way to New York where it becomes clear these saboteurs plan to strike again.

Saboteur marked the first time Hitchcock worked with an American cast.  The only problem is that there wasn’t much to work with.  Barry is a one-dimensional, naïve man, who is just in over his head.  Pat has no reason to trust Barry, but somehow falls in love with him.  With this poorly constructed relationship, the two main characters really cut out any suspense the story might have created, as they survive on pure luck.

There's some stuff in Saboteur that's just utterly stupid or incredibly unbelievable.  For example, Barry comes across a blind man and some circus freaks who instantly believe he is innocent without any justification or reasoning.  There are even two long-winded speeches about how to tell the true intentions of a person.   This crap just moves the movie along and offers no substance that could be considered entertaining.

As a movie that advertises its 4000-mile trek across the United States, Saboteur fails to show any decent cinematography of America.  The film is mainly contained to sets that feature only California and New York.

Hitchcock was the man who perfected suspense, but even masters have their off days.  Cocktails are needed to move you anywhere near the edge of your seat during this one.  Saboteur gets a 0.09% rating.