Friday, January 09, 2004


I watched an old Hitchcock film this week called Sabotage.
It was one of his very early British ones.
It had some good scenes, and one absolutely excellent one.

There's a scene that goes for about 10 mintues, and it was done so well.
Was wonderfully suspensful.

Here it is, for your reading pleasure...

The bad guy has to get a bomb into the middle of London on behalf of foreign terrorists. He's being watched, so he can't take it himself. He tries to get other people to take it, but it doesn't work out. Finally, the only person he can get to take it is his wife's young brother. So he tells the young boy that it's a roll of film (they all work in a cinema) and that he has to take it into town and drop it off at 1:30pm then come home.
The bomb is set to go off at 1:45pm.

So the boy runs off, with the package under his arm.
The scenes of the boy running the package through town go for about 10 minutes, so it gets quite tense, waiting to see what happens with the bomb.
He is trying to get there fast, but he gets held up by a toothpaste salesman who forces him to help demonstrate the effectiveness of his toothpaste for a crowd of people.
The boy gets away after a few minutes and starts running through more people trying to hold him up, till he runs into another crowd. Turns out a parade is coming by. He can't get through so he watches the marching bands pass by, until it ends with a royal carriage, hurrah!
He runs off again, with some difficultly getting past the bustling crowds.
He realises he's going to be late, so he jumps on a bus.
He sits down, and starts watching a puppy the woman next to him is holding.
There are more close ups on the package.
And close-ups on clocks showing it's almost 1:45!
Oh no!
The bus keeps getting stopped at red lights.
The boy gets a bit worried, because he knows he's late.
More close-ups on the package.
Close-ups on the boy. He looks around a bit, wondering how long the bus is going to be stopped at this red light, then smiles at the cute puppy again.
Then a clock shows 1:45 o'clock!
Another close-up on the boy.
Nothing has happened.
While I'm watching this I'm waiting for the police or somebody to rush on the bus or something.
Another close-up on the boy, looking around, seeing the red lights.

Then there is a HUGE close-up on the hand of a clock.
It ticks from 1:45 to 1:46.

The bus blows up!

I was quite taken aback.
Hitchcock very rarely killed off sympathetic characters in his thrillers, though he did sometimes do it in his later horror-type films, like Psycho and The Birds and Frenzy.
But in most of his films the good characters usually survive.

At the end of the movie the bad guy's wife finds out what he did to her little brother, and they end up having a bit of a knife fight in the kitchen.
Bad guy gets it in the stomach.
The end.