Despite the propaganda coloring of the film due to the time when it was made, this wonderful Hitchcockian story is about a man falsely accused of sabotage, and who crosses half the country to find the real criminals.
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No, I’m seriously puzzled. Why do so many brief descriptions of the film ‘Saboteur’ emphasize its supposedly propagandistic nature? I fundamentally disagree. I think this is a clear example of the opposite. What outwardly appears to be propaganda, upon closer examination turns out to be counter-propaganda aimed at debunking the myth of the ‘American dream’.
Let’s begin the breakdown in order. Initially the plot does not shine with sophistication: a simple American guy dies in a fire in a military factory. It is immediately clear that it is a diversion. Suspicion falls on his comrade. But there is a third one, a real saboteur, a grey unremarkable person, but only the killed worker and the main hero of the film, unjustly accused, know about his existence. That is, the guy has to prove his innocence, which means to find an inconspicuous scoundrel who caused so many misfortunes.
It seems that the story is standard. A brave American fights for his good name and uncovers a conspiracy. Well, not exactly. Hitchcock never made a simple movie. And in this film, he made no exception. As you watch it, you get a picture of a grand conspiracy that has entangled the whole country like a sprat. And the conspirators are not some fringe figures, but the real ‘favorites’ of Uncle Sam, as if they were the embodiment of the ‘American dream’ itself. There are the financiers, the heads of charitable foundations, the sheriffs, the corporate bosses and other tycoons. The rotten cream of ‘free’ society.
The whole state machinery of the United States is set against the hero. The secret service, the police, all those who should stand for justice, play into the hands of a ‘fifth column’, blaming everything on the innocent. American society itself, living under endless anti-spy propaganda, is an enemy to it.
And who helps (or at least sympathizes) with the main character? A simple truck driver, grumbling at his wife and seeing very little in life except the steering wheel and the road. A blind pianist living as a hermit in the wilderness. His blonde niece, initially a typical victim of propaganda, who in the course of the story realizes that life is more complicated than advertising and propaganda posters. He is also helped by the freaks of the traveling circus, with the exception of one midget villain who is a parody of Hitler. They turn out to be more human than the average American philistine.
Well, this is not a propaganda film. On the contrary, the entire film is saturated with Hitchcockian ciphers and codes, which, if you pay attention to them, reveal the true depth of the masterpiece. Many films considered classics of the genre today grow out of ‘Saboteur’. These are ‘The Fugitive’, ‘Enemy of the State’, ‘Network’ and other similar films, where the hero (or heroine), forced to confront the system, afterwards emerge victorious and restore their honest name.
Also, such a device as an artificial triggering of the fire alarm by bringing a fire to the sensor, which allows the hero to hide from the bad guys, or the final battle with the villain on the Statue of Liberty (eg ‘X-Men’). This is now the order of the day, but it was tried out by Hitchcock in ‘Saboteur’.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (68.8 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
French: DTS 2.0 Mono
German: DTS 2.0
Italian: DTS 2.0
Japanese: DTS 2.0
English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish.