Saboteur, a review by Jon
Saboteur (1942) ****
4 out of 5
Alfred Hitchcock's exciting 1942 wartime thriller star Robert Cummings as a Los Angeles aircraft factory worker who witnesses his plant's firebombing by a Nazi agent. During the deadly explosion, Cummings best friend is killed and he, himself, is wrongly accused of sabotage. To clear his name Cummings begins a relentless cross-country chase that takes him from Boulder Dam to New York's Radio City Music Hall, and finally, to a harrowing confrontation atop the Statue of Liberty.
Saboteur is a 39 Steps style cross-country thriller for Americans and largely doesn’t disappoint. It’s a slick adventure story with a wronged man on the run and Hitch, probably aware he’s been here before, finds ways to experiment and colour the film.
Alan Cummings' fugitive meets some great characters. Otto Kruger's slimy villain is introduced in a brilliant scene with a toddler and a resourceful if slightly nutty maid. It’s a surreal moment, and one of several. Later, Vaughan Glaser's kindly blind man lays it on a bit thick, but it’s beautifully written and introduces Priscilla Lane. Her character has a bit more spark than the previous females. Once the couple are alone, there’s some fun to be had with her attempts to turn him in before we have to go through the usual romantic guff. Happily it doesn't slow the film down like it did in Foreign Correspondent, and I think Hitch managed to avoid the "L" word which meant he could also avoid the "M" word!
Soon they are helped by a travelling circus troupe in another bonkers scene, but it is notable for the hilarious midget who is determined to turn them in. He is entirely ineffectual, despite the noise he makes, and has a little moustache and slick hair. No prizes for guessing who he represents!
The couple have to split during a great scene with a slightly perverse villain in an empty desert town and the film really picks up. You may think I'm insinuating they aren't a good couple, but they are and it cleverly forces the plot to have some more immediacy because when they get back together, things are more desperate and their love story can now add to the suspense rather than detract. From here the film is uniformly excellent, with great scenes in a variety of locations, from a nerve-shredding attempt to escape during a ball-dance (a fairly regular Hitchcock motif) to the finale atop the Statue of Liberty (amazing, and won't be the last American monument Hitch dangles someone from). Inbetween, Hitchcock returns to the idea of stages and audiences with much of the plot resolved in a cinema with a complicated and inventive use of a film within a film. Marvellous stuff.
While the first half at least is regular Hitchcock fare that hardly stretches him, his experiments with shots over distance are incredible. He establishes several scenes from about half-a-mile away, or uses large interior, heavily detailed rooms. He could easily have free-wheeled a plot like this, but he worked constantly to challenge himself with these new compositions and the more colourful scenes.
The DVD has a nice interview largely with Norman Lloyd who played the villain Fry. He’s a great story teller about his work with Hitch that went on to last many years. He also describes Hitchcock’s “camera logic”, the way he blended newsreel footage in, and the trouble Hitch had working while Europe was going up in flames, unable to ring his mother because calls to England were blocked.
(From Alfred Hitchcock Marathon on May 26th, 2009)
The Terminator, a review by Tom
Title: The Terminator
Director: James Cameron
Length: 103 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85
Audio: German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, German, Spanish
My Thoughts:A great action movie with great effects considering its low budget. And a perfect example of a time-loop story.
In the deleted scenes on the DVD, there are already ideas present, which are later used in Terminator 2. In one, Sarah wants to go and destroy Cyberdyne Systems before they invent Skynet. Originally, it is also revealed, that the factory, the Terminator is destroyed in, is actually Cyberdyne Systems, where employees are finding remnants of the Terminator's microchip. From which then the technology of the Terminators will be reverse-engineered.
(From Tom's Random Reviews on January 15th, 2009)
"Due South" marathon, a review by RossRoy
Great introduction to the series. I found both main actors to hit it off well. Looks to build towards a good series.
Oh and, is Ray's little sister cute or what?
Hope she's back in future episodes!
Loved the episode. A bit predictable, but there's a few nice moments. I'm really liking the dynamics between Fraser and Ray.
I liked Willie's reaction when Fraser gives him some money and the boy asks "why is this money pink?" and Fraser just replies "Good night Willie"
Diefenbaker's Day Off
Another episode that builds on the strong start of the series. I like how they use Dief on the series. He's pretty much a third main character. I'm guessing this episode also served to introduce another recurring character: the Reporter. Looks to be an interesting one.
One thing bugged me though, and I hope they don't do it too often, and that's the over-the-top rescue of Lucy at the end. Do you honestly believe anyone is strong enough to throw a girl of her weight high enough to reach the roof of a building? All this while running away from a van towards a brick wall, and still get her precisely where Fraser stands (I'll admit Fraser might've moved, and he did catch her by the arm, so she wasn't thrown all the way to roof level, but still)? Come on! I just hope they keep it a little more real in the future.
(From "Due South" marathon on June 28th, 2009)