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Saboteur (1942)

Oh lord, we have been so neglectful. We’ve now watched Saboteur twice, and I’m still only getting around to writing it up months after the second viewing.

However, watching it twice was no great hardship since it is a cracking watch. Another of Hitch’s wrong man films - which seem to always push my buttons. And then throw in the lovely Priscilla Lane being sassy and resourceful and charming, and Otto Kruger being creepy and sinister and smarmy, Robert Cummings just being the part, and Norman Lloyd … falling.

OK … it’s no Young and Innocent or The 39 Steps but then Hitch had set the bar far too high with his British films, but it still crackles along beautifully.

The sequence on the circus caravan is lovely …

Circus folk - Saboteur (1942)

… and it has that fall!

That fall - Saboteur (1942)

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Ten years ago today I took my dad (well, he took me) to see Dean & Britta playing Galaxie 500 in Brighton:

We turned up early and watched the soundcheck

Dad checkd the merch table while Britta soundchecks

The show was lovely - I wrote about it at the time on AHFoW

Soundcheck over, dad scrounged a beer, told Britta her hat looked silly and told Dean about seeing Bill Haley and the Comets… I stood by, quiet and uncomfortable!

They finished the set with a storming Ceremony:

Dean wrote about my in his blog at the time

Andy Aldridge brought his Dad along to the show and we enjoyed meeting him. Andy’s Dad told me after the show that I should let Britta sing more and it’s true she has a lovely voice.

… and mentioned it during one of last year’s livestreamed shows … so, it seems my dad made an impression!?

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Cairo Station (1958)

So in 2020 we stayed in… a lot - and I watched a lot of films - more than in any year since I’ve been keeping a log (and I can’t imagine any year before then when I saw more). Here’s a quick summary.

  • I watched 389 films
  • The average score of the films I watched was 5.89 / 10
  • I saw 0.79% of them on the big screen
  • and watched almost a quarter of them on Talking Pictures TV
  • 57% of the films I watched were from before I was born
  • 7 were animated and 31 were musicals
  • 88.9% of films were in English
    other langugaes:
    • Bengali (1)
    • Polish (2)
    • Japanese (2)
    • Arabic (4)
    • Telegu (1)
    • Finnish (1)
    • French (10)
    • Russian (1)
    • German (1)
    • Hindi (8)
    • Spanish (2)
    • Silent (8)

All the films I rated ten were films I’d seen before

  • A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
  • Underground (1928) that was one of the three on the big screen film!
  • Ice Cold in Alex (1958)
  • Black Narcissus (1947)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)

The highest rated film I’d not seen before was

  • Cairo Station (1958, Youssef Chahine) which got a nine

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The Stars of Heaven

This morning I awoke to find the lovely Sacred Heart Hotel washing around inside my head - it’s been a while:

I saw The Stars of Heaven just once - Ken took me (or more accurately made me take him) along to The Mean Fiddler in Harlesden for what I suspect was their last show ~ or at least their last London show - I guess sometime in 1990?

I have a copy of Sacred Heart Hotel picked up from a Record and Tape Exchange and that was all I knew ~ until a few years ago when they put both albums on the internet for free.

Now you can hear them on Spotify

Nice clip of them playing Every Other Day (from their second album) on Anything Goes

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This is getting out of hand - 2020 was full of being stuck in the house and we only watched two Hitch films Saboteur in June - which I then forgot to post about so we’ll have to watch again. And Lifeboat just before Christmas and I’m only just getting around to posting about that! Which is why, after being so good, we are all out of order - missing out…

  • #30 - Sabouteur (1942) - because I was too lazy to write it up - which is odd because it wasn’t so bad
  • #31 - Shadow of a Doubt (1943) - because all our DVDs were packed away ready for a move that COVID killed

and then just before xmas Film 4 showed Lifeboat … so we watched it.

Lifeboat (1944)

Lifeboat is of course famously the one where…

  • it’s all set in a lifeboat
  • Hitch still manages to make a cameo!

It’s a pretty good character piece - and has a weird but satisfying balance of light and dark. Some of the characters are a little carelessly used and one-dimensional but for the most part it works pretty well. Tallulah Bankhead though does most of the heavy lifting - and does it without breaking a sweat.

I’ve no idea if the Go-Betweens album Tallulah is named after Ms Bankhead - but I’m not sure I can think of anyone else it would be named after. So… Tallulah took a shower for an hour, and walked down the street feeling beautiful and clean…

Source: Film 4
Rating: 6/10
Hitchcock Zone: Lifeboat (1944)

Hitch's cameo - Lifeboat (1944)