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Lancashire Evening Post (12/Mar/1937) - Blown to Bits



Blown to Bits

Alfred Hitchcock, Britain's crack director of screen thrillers, has achieved another success in "Sabotage," a Gaumont-British picture based on Joseph Conrad's story "The Secret Agent." In this gripping drama of London life Hitchcock has put the great city and its types on the screen as only a master craftsman who knows his London inside out can do.

The film, then, is notable for the discerning presentation of everyday London scenes; it is also notable for polished acting. My only criticism is that the suspense tends to be overdrawn.

"Sabotage" is a narrative of a terrorist, a role in which Oscar Homolka, a very fine actor, is suitably mysterious and secretive.

In the pay of a foreign Power, he is deputed to place bombs in London's vulnerable spots. To hide his activities he figures as the proprietor of a cheap East End cinema. Sylvia Sidney—this is her first British picture — is his pretty young wife, quite unaware of his dastardly activities, but Scotland Yard is suspicious.

His first achievement is to sabotage an electric power station and plunge London into darkness. This done, he plans to blow up Piccadilly Circus by depositing a bomb in the underground cloakroom there.

Next to his cinema is a greengrocer's shop and disguised as an assistant is a young detective, convincingly played by handsome 6ft. 3in. tall John Loder, who discovers the plot, and prevents the saboteur from getting away with the parcel containing the bomb.

Sad it is that he should send his wife's little brother instead, without, of course, disclosing to the lad what was in the parcel. Fascinated by the Lord Mayor's Show, Desmond Tester dallies on the way, completes his journey by bus, and is blown to bits. So are the omnibus and the other passengers.

Distraught by this tragedy and the revelation of her husband's sinister work, the young wife stabs him to death in the living-room of their home. The detective, who has fallen in love with this unfortunate, forlorly sympathetic creature, tries to shield, and a dramatic climax shows why he could have spared himself the trouble.