Sabotage

Date: 1936
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Gaumont British Picture Corporation

Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester
Location(s): London

Region(s):

Storyline:

A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson with additional comments and stills provided by Simon James.

 

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As the film opens, the lights of London burn brightly. Selfridges department store on Oxford Street W1.

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Peter managed an almost identical shot from the upper deck of a bus, in daylight. (RL)

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Passengers make their way from stranded trains at High Street Underground Station after a power cut caused by sabotage at the generating station. This is part of a huge set built for the film. John Doel advises that this set was in Northolt.

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The lighting is restored just after Mr. Verloc slips into living quarters of his cinema on fictional Plouthorpe Road in London SE5. More of the studio set, which featured genuine London Transport trams and buses advises John Doel.

Detective Sergeant Ted Spencer (John Loder) works as a shop assistant whilst keeping an eye on Verloc and the cinema next door.

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A closer view of the right side of the street from the Clapperboard Book of the Cinema by Leslie Halliwell, published by Harper Collins Distribution Services in 1975. ISBN-13: 978-0246108142 and their copyright.

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Suspicious about being watched, Karl Verloc (Oscar Homolka) speaks with Ted Spencer.

The next day, Verloc makes his way to London Zoo to report back to his terrorist contact. The entrance to London Zoo on Outer Circle, Regent's Park NW1 also seen in 'Arabesque' and 'The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer'.

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Peter found that the Zoo still attracts visitors. (RL)

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Inside the Aquarium, the contact tells Verloc that he's disappointed that the newspapers mocked the power outage and tells him that his next act of sabotage must be more effective. The Aquarium at London Zoo, opened by King George V in 1924.

Ted Spencer heads to meet Mrs. Verloc and her young brother Stevie. Facing east in Trafalgar Square WC2 with the South African High Commission in the background.

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Peter took this image of the same view, with added van!

When Verloc becomes nervous, he asks Stevie to deliver two film canisters and a package to a cloak room under Piccadilly Circus and the young boy sets off.

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Chapel Market, London N1 from ground level. (RL)

Stevie (Desmond Tester) is ushered from the path of the Lord Mayor's Procession.

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The State Coach passing the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, or at least a very large photo of the same! And all these tricks in the 1930's! You can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool the Reel Streets crew.

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The procession passes and Stevie boards a bus still carrying the canisters and the package . . . . that contains a bomb timed to go off at 1.45pm.

Traffic is delayed as the detonation time draws near. That looks like 'His Master's Voice' record shop at 363 Oxford Street which puts the traffic lights at the junction with Stratford Place and Davies Street.

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Peter found that HMV is still there but the junction has been remodeled.

At last the bus moves on towards Piccadilly. The True-Form shoe shop on Oxford Street is revealed after a bus passes. The shop is now the site of an entrance to Bond Street station.

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The same place at the remodeled junction with the station entrance on the right. Image from Peter.

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The bomb explodes, killing Stevie and sixty passengers.

That evening, back on Plouthorpe Road, the story runs to it's conclusion . . . .

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Looks real enough until you see the scaffolding holding up the fascias and the station name reading 'High Street'. Picture from Michael Balcon: The Pursuit of British Cinema by Geoff Brown, published by Museum of Modern Art 1985 ISBN-13: 978-0870702495 and their copyright.

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