Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TODAY'S NUGGET: Saboteur (1942) - Hitchcock's Bombs & the Shift of Power

[Quick Summary: Barry, an aircraft laborer, is accused of sabotage, and uncovers a conspiracy.]

This is my two cents: The script starts out strong, then wanders

...and wanders...

...and wanders.

However, it was nice to see examples of Hitchcock's famous formula for suspense, i.e., "the audience knows there's a bomb under the table."

Ex. 1:  Barry confronts the shady lawyer, Mr. Tobin, at home.

When Tobin is away, his granddaughter toddles over to Barry.

She innocently hands him a dropped telegram.  It is from the real saboteur to Mr. Tobin. [This is the bomb.]

Tobin returns. [Will the bomb go off?

Tobin calls Barry out for reading the telegram, and his thugs corner Barry. [Bomb is released.]

Ex. 2: The cornered Barry picks up the granddaughter. [Another bomb.]

He uses her as a shield to escape. [Will the bomb go off?]

He puts her down and gets away. [Bomb goes off.]

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  A bomb is interesting to watch because it often benefits one side over the other (Ex. 1 above).

After it is released, the story is at a new level, usually because there's a mad scramble to  re-shift the power back (Ex. 2 above).

Saboteur (1942)
by Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison, & Dorothy Parker

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