Alfred Hitchcock

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        Sabotage (1936)
        D V D

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        • Dvd Release Date: 18-08-2008
        • Region: 2 (UK & Europe)
        • Number of Discs: 1

        • Catalogue Number: 7952922
        • Studio: Network

          An innocent boy becomes the innocent victim of a foreign agitator when he unwittingly carries a bomb aboard a busy bus...

        The brilliant and unmistakable hand of the director is apparent throughout this production, which is a smart one and full of suspense from start to finish.

        The story is first rate. Though Joseph Conrad was never a dramatist, and his novels were dependent altogether upon his genius for descriptive writing, Hitchcock captures the tone of the novel and breathes flesh onto the bones of the story [from Conrad's novel The Secret Agent].

        It revolves around a secret organization which hires people to plant bombs in crowded sections of London, and though the reason for their desire to systematically blow up innocent persons is not made clear, it has to be remembered that the film was made in 1936 when the German Third Reich's threats were like dark shadows over Europe; somehow real, frightening, terrifying, but not yet realised or understood in their entirety. By keeping away from the reasons for the bombing, Hitchcock replicates that vague fear and leaves the audience uneasy at not being able to understand the make-up of the threat. Quite brilliant. Conrad had written the book around 1920 when the fear of the Third Reich was not born so this device is solely down to the great director.

          A Bomb Plot ...A Killing ...Justice

        Oscar Homolka's performance of the harassed victim of the sabotage organization into whose clutches he has fallen is a brilliant piece of character acting. Sylvia Sydney captures the confusion and bewilderment of the wife slowly discovering that her husband is not all he makes out to be. The tension on the bus ride to Piccadilly Circus with Desmond Tester as Sydney's kid brother unknowingly carrying a live bomb is unbearable in the extreme. Without giving the plot away, the climax of the scene sees Hitchcock pulling no punches. How many directors even today can say the same? No easy kop out for Hitchcock.


        Celebrated for his suspense-packed thrillers, macabre plots and twist endings, Alfred Hitchcock is one of cinema’s greatest auteurs. he directed over 60 films throughout his career and Sabotage is one of his most significant pre-war british films. Starring Oscar Homolka and Sylvia Sidney, this digitally restored version of the film has never looked better.

        Mr. Verloc is a member of a gang of foreign saboteurs who are plotting to put a bomb on an underground train. tragic events follow as the messenger carrying the bomb, together with the occupants of the bus he boarded, are killed when the device explodes...



        Interestingly, both Oskar Homolka and Sylvia Sidney had their names spelt incorrectly in the film titles.

        In mentioning Sabotage in an article for Film Weekly prior to the film's release, Hitch asserted that 'this title will be changed'. He'd adopted it as he had announced the film under the title The Hidden Power (a pun on the blackout at the beginning of the film as well as the unnamed organisation who employ Verloc), though it seems the only working title actually used (briefly) was a rather lurid I Married A Murderer.

        The restaurant to which Ted takes Stevie and Mrs Verloc is the famous Simpsons in London, one of Hitchcock's personal favourites.

        Hitch tried to get Robert Donat for the role of Ted Spencer, but when he wasn't available he accepted the impossibly handsome John Loder.

        The film is based on Conrad's The Secret Agent, but Hitchcock couldn't use that title a his previous film was Secret Agent.

        Hitchcock wanted to show London's East End as he'd known it as a boy, so he had an entire replica street built, complete with fully equipped shops.

        The street was built on a slight incline so that traffic could roll by silently, with the sound to be added later. Hitch also had a working tramline made, which is on screen for only a few seconds.

      • Actors:
          Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester, John Loder, Joyce Barbour & Matthew Boulton

      • Dir:
      • Prod:
      • Scr:
          Charles Bennett, lan Hay, Helen Simpson, E.V.H. Emmett
      • Ph:
          Bernard Knowles
      • Ed:
          Charles Frend
      • Mus:
          Louis Levy
      • Art Dir:
          Otto Werndorff, Albert Jullion


        Dvd Special Features

          •Introduction to Sabotage by Chares Barr
          •On location featurette introduced by Robert Powell
          •Image Gallery

        Technical Details

          Time: 73 mins approx
          Region: 2 / PAL (UK & Europe)
          Subtitles: None
          Sound: Mono / English
          Picture: 1.33:1 / Black and White
          Number of Discs: 1
          Classification: PG
          Barcode: 5027626292249

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      • Price: £19.99 (UK Sterling)
        (Shipped from UK. Still sealed) (Price includes UK postage & packaging. Outside UK please e-mail here with country ordering from for postage quote)

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