Alfred Hitchcock: Saboteur (1942)

Norman Lloyd falling from the Statue of Liberty in Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur

Norman Lloyd falling from the Statue of Liberty in Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942).

Saboteur was produced and released in 1942. Barry Kane (Robert Cummings), a young worker in a factory is wrongfully accused of sabotage and killing his best friend. He runs away, being chased both by the police and the terrorist villains. The spectacular finale takes place on top of the Statue of Liberty.

Hitchcock: Saboteur. Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings

Notable motifs: The chase, the wrong man, the vertigo motif, film in the film, handicapped persons, newspaper (identifying and saving Barry Kane at the villains' cabin in Soda City), subjective camera (Barry Kane's view under the water).



From the theatrical trailer.

You'd like to say it can't happen here…


From the theatrical trailer. – But every jolting scene is true!


Priscilla Lane... Patricia 'Pat' Martin
Robert Cummings... Barry Kane
Otto Kruger... Charles Tobin
Alan Baxter... Freeman
Clem Bevans... Neilson
Norman Lloyd... Frank Fry
Alma Kruger... Mrs. Sutton
Vaughan Glaser... Phillip Martin (as Vaughan Glazer)
Dorothy Peterson... Mrs. Mason
Ian Wolfe... Robert
Frances Carson... Society Woman
Murray Alper... Truck Driver
Kathryn Adams... Young Mother
Pedro de Cordoba... Bones - Circus Troupe
Billy Curtis... Midget - Circus Troupe
Marie LeDeaux... Fat Woman - Circus Troupe (as Marie Le Deaux)
Anita Sharp-Bolster... Lorelei - Circus Troupe (as Anita Bolster)
Jean Romer... Siamese Twin (as Jeanne Romer)
Lynne Romer... Siamese Twin (as Lynn Romer)

Norman Lloyd (8 November 1914 – 11 May 2021) about auditioning for the part of Frank “Fry: I was a very hyper theatre-actor at the time, and I understand that the test was very melodramatic and overplayed. But he [Hitchcock] saw something he wanted, and he cast me.”


Hitchcock is standing on the street outside a store, "Cut Rate Drugs".
Originally Hitchcock wanted to do a cameo with his secretary at the time, Carol Stevens, as deaf and dumb persons walking down the street. Then Hitchcock was to have made a presumably indecent proposal using sign language, resulting in the woman slapping him in the face.


In the scene with the truck driver (played by the character actor Murray Alper), we have another example of Hitchcock ridiculing marriage. The truck driver says: “I never see anything happen. I don't even hear about anything, except when my wife tells me what she sees in the movie pictures. That's the way she spends the money: movie pictures and new hats. Buys a new hat so she can put it on and goes to the picture show so she can take it off.”

Flashbacks in Saboteur

In the truck with the funny truck driver (Murray Alpert), Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) sees the envelopes Fry lost on the floor in the airplane factory at the beginning of the film in a double exposed flashback. This helps him remember the name of the farm (Deep Springs Ranch) where he could find Fry. A similar flashback occurs when suzy drops Mr. Tobin’s letters on the floor.

Subjective camera in Saboteur

Barry Kane is watching the detective through the water while he is hiding in the river.



The Wrong Man Motif

In many Hitchcock movies an innocent man is escaping from the police (and often also the bad guys).

  • The Lodger, 1926/1927
  • The 39 Steps, 1935
  • Young and Innocent, 1937/1938
  • Saboteur, 1942
  • Spellbound, 1944/1945
  • Strangers on a Train, 1950/1951
  • I Confess, 1952/1953
  • To Catch a Thief, 1954/1955
  • The Wrong Man, 1956
  • North by Northwest 1958/1959
  • Frenzy, 1971/1972