London cinema manager Carl Verloc (Oscar Homolka) harbours a deadly secret – he’s covertly working with a gang of European saboteurs. After throwing London into darkness following an attack on the city’s electric power grid, his next mission is to blow up Piccadilly Circus. His wife (Sylvia Sidney) and her young brother Stevie (Desmond Tester) have no idea about his anarchic activities, but Scotland Yard have assigned an undercover detective (John Loder ) to watch him from a shop nearby – can he bring Carl and his gang to justice before they perpetrate their outrage on London?
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel, The Secret Agent, is one of his most significant early British works, and is again written by Charles Bennett, who penned Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps and Young and Innocent, as well as Blackmail, based on his own play.
While the film suffers from the miscasting of John Loder as the detective on the case (Hitchcock’s first choice, Robert Donat, was unavailable), it boasts some splendidly seedy locales and some memorable sequences (shot at the legendary Gainsborough Studios), including the meeting of spies in an aquarium, while the suspense set piece at the couple’s kitchen table is truly memorable. Hitchcock later confessed that the other crucial thriller sequence, featuring a boy and a bomb, was a ‘grave error’ on his part, which alienated his audience. In the US, the film was titled, The Woman Alone and also I Married a Murderer, and isn’t to be confused with Hitchcock’s Secret Agent, which came out the same year.
THE NETWORK BLU-RAY RELEASE
Sabotage is presented by Network Distributing in a High Definition transfer from original film elements (and its never looked better). The special features include an On Location featurette, introduced by Robert Powell, and an image gallery.