3/16/11

GUEST POST- Hitch on the Hump: Rupert Pupkin Is a Saboteur

Hello folks and welcome to another wonderful Guest Post in my Hitch on the Hump series. Today's Hitchcocky goodness comes to us by way of the one and only Rupert Pupkin of the blog Rupert Pupkin Speaks and frequent guest host on The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema. If you visit Rupert's site, then you're in store for lists and lists of great movies spanning all categories. Plus Rupert keeps me up to date on what's new and interesting on Netflix Instant Watch, and if you like to watch streaming like I do, it's a feature that can't be missed. Then on The Gentlemen's Guide, Rupert joins Big Willie and The Samurai as they talk about all the best and worst in cult and genre cinema. It's a show I never miss and neither should you. You also also shouldn't miss out on Rupert's thoughts on Saboteur. So don't try and pull a fast one and keep on reading....

Hitchcock made so many classics over his wonderful career, it's no surprise that the occasional film gets lost in the shuffle. For me Saboteur is one of those films. It's a film that is often remembered for one specific effects shot having to do with the Statue of Liberty, but it seems even that shot's inclusion in a plethora of 'best of' Hitch montages hasn't inspired enough people to go and seek the movie out. Falling in an interesting period on Hitch's timeline, the film came out in 1942, wedged betweenMr. and Mrs. Smith (A rare Hitch Screwball comedy) and one of his masterpieces(and his favorite) Shadow of the Doubt. It was also Hitch's first feature for Universal(where he did a lot of his best work). The film's climactic sequence on the famous U.S. monument predates (and most probably inspires) North by Northwest's standoff on Mount Rushmore by 17 years. There's even a moment in the last sequence that was borrowed(and lampooned) by the Coen Brothers in TheHudsucker Proxy.


Saboteur is a dark tale of high-reaching conspiracy and one that seems interestingly poignant especially today. Though it is just a shade above a straight propaganda film and it seems a bit steeped in the nationalism of the time(Pearl Harbor had been bombed just as they were getting started with pre-production), it still rings of true and classic Hitchcock. Star Robert Cummings(who would also appear in Dial 'M' For Murder more than a decade later) is a great everyman type, haplessly caught in a frame and thrust into a nerve-wracking tangled web. The lovely Priscilla Lane (Arsenic & Old Lace) who starred in some great John Garfield films previous to this ( Dust Be My Destiny, Four Daughters) stacks up well against other Hitchcock heroines and is very darned cute in my estimation. The film is a great suspenseful ride from it's alarming opening to the harrowing climax up top of lady liberty herself. It is almost always my overlooked Hitchcock pick to recommend to fans that may have missed it.


That wraps it up for this week's Hitch on the Hump Guest Post, but I'll be back this week with more Road to Horrorhound goodness, and Hitch on the Hump will return next week with special guest The Mike of From Midnight With Love.


2 comments:

  1. I looooooooooooooooove this movie! It doesn't hurt that Cummings is so damned handsome! He would be in my top 5 Hitch Hunks (I know how you like your lists, Rupe).
    Great to see this films getting some love!

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  2. Many years ago I took a film class on Hitch and we watched a LOT of his stuff (as well as stuff he inspired) but I've never seen SABOTEUR. Hell, we didn't even watch VERTIGO, which at the time (early '90s) wasn't yet viewed as his masterpiece. Great post, Pupkin!

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