"Saboteur" is a much lesser Hitchcock film focusing on one of his favorite themes, that of mistaken identity (much better seen in "North By Northwest"). The movie has its enjoyable, even humorous moments, but the brooding sense of danger and fear so prominent in his other films, are more noticeably absent. It's like Hitchcock-low-fat.Munitions worker (Robert Cummings) is framed for supplying a fire-extinguisher filled with gasoline that killed his friend. When the real culprit vanishes, it's made to look as if this person never existed, so Cummings must go on the lam.
Along the way he s aided by a blindman (those scenes are the best of the picture) and when he intends to have his niece (Priscilla Lane) help him, she'd rather betray the supposed "outlaw," which forces him to take her along. All this, of course, takes place during the war. (It was made in 1942.)
Due to the wartime setting, there's plenty of propaganda dealing with "doing your duty as a citizen," and what that duty is relevant towards. Seemingly, and for satisfactorily reasons ("I trust him because she stuck by his side.") we can charily go along with it. "Saboteur" is light on suspense; there's never any real worry or danger that everything won't turn out alright.
The black-and-white photography is mostly rudimentary, though the scenes surrounding the interior and exterior of The Stature of Liberty are stunning. The actual sequence of the fall from the flame looks great. The rig designed was extremely innovative and added to a section where it needed it the most.
The only small casting quibble is with Lane, who really does blend in with the others. She's acceptable, but not the plucky nor seductive enough.Final Verdict: B-.