SPOILERS ahead

Sabotage (1936)

Last time I watched Sabotage I rated it highly, I think I was charmed by the London locations and by the cast - the three leads are all great. This time, without allowing myself to be distracted by all that, I was somewhat cooler on it.

The film ends with a bit of a whimper - OK, a cinema blows up, but somehow it blows up without any suspense, without risk to any good guys, and without any close involvement. We pretty much don't care that it blows up at all - particularly after we're informed that the audience all got out safely - and we're informed of that - we don't get to see it. Compare this with the wonderful chaos after the shooting in the theatre at the beginning of The 39 Steps.

Sabotage (1936)

The bus explosion that Hitch expressed regret for is actually a treat, a bit harsh to kill poor Stevie (and the puppy) but still beautifully told, and the way Stevie haunts Mrs Verloc makes his death seem important - even if, ultimately it goes nowhere.

Verloc's murder is tense but the film, frankly, dies along with him.

Oscar Homolka is great as Verloc, strangely managing to earn a little sympathy even if we can't fully understand the pressures he is under to carry out the sabotage. Sylvia Sidney has a face made to express damp-eyed pain and it does it so beautifully. And John Loder is another of those cheeky, charming leading men, that Hitch delivers so well.

  • Watched: 2018-02-03
  • Source: DVD
  • Rating: 5/10