Maybe I’ve got Alfred Hitchcock on the brain, which wouldn’t be unusual, but indulge me a minute before we get to whether Jill Kelley is a foreign spy or not.
In case you missed it, which is next to impossible, Hitchcock has gotten out and about lately. He’s all over the place, is what he is. There’s the Sienna Miller, Toby Jones HBO series “The Girl” and the Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren biopic “Hitchcock,” which debuted at the AFI Fest a couple weeks ago (in theaters across the country come January). Interestingly, both have to do with Hitch in the 1960s, re “The Birds” in 1963 and “Psycho,” 1960.
There’s a serious Blu-ray boxed set recently in circulation, “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection.” And “Vertigo” (1958) was just named the greatest film of all time, by BFI’s Sight & Sound magazine.
Oh, and The Main Squeeze and I took a little trip to San Juan Capistrano a few weekends ago. SJC, famous for the swallows returning and a cool-looking train station, sure, but more so in my book for the use of its mission in the “Vertigo” shoot. You know, Kim Novak, the bell tower, etc.
So I’ve been thinking about Hitchcock generally, and I’m a fan. I especially like his 1930s, 40s and 50s movies, and his World War II era stuff in particular.
Spoiler alert: “Saboteur,” not to be confused with “Sabotage” (1937, starring Sylvia Sidney), premiered in 1942, and since you’ve only had 70 years to check it out, I’ll keep most of the surprises under wraps. So read on.
“Saboteur” is a home-front film, with Bob Cummings playing a factory worker wrongly accused of – you guessed it – sabotage. His best friend is killed in a defense plant fire, so it’s murder in addition to sabotage, and he’s on the run.
Priscilla Lane plays the love interest, who of course thinks Cummings is the bad guy for a good chunk of the movie, there are great shots of potential sabotage targets, like Hoover Dam, a classic circus-freaks scene, and a kindly old blind man, who unlike Gene Hackman in “Young Frankenstein,” does not spill scalding hot soup on the hero’s lap.
Without giving too much away, the villains are spies amongst us, regular American-looking folks, figures prominent in their communities. Hitchcock is careful not to use the words “German” or “Germany,” but the implication is, the bad guys are Germans, and it’s the height of the war. Let’s put it this way: the director had propaganda and he knew how to use it.
Pictured below is Otto Kruger, the king of the foreign spies – fine, a Nazi – with Alma Kruger (no relation) playing the society hostess who throws lavish parties (see below), with unknowing American generals in attendance. Sound familiar?
The really really bad guy goes by the name of “Fry,” Norman Lloyd, who you may remember from “St. Elsewhere.” Again, I won’t spoil it for you, but the words “Statue of Liberty” apply.
Look, I’m not saying Jill Kelley is a foreign spy, necessarily. Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t, but Hitchcock would no doubt be amused, don’t you think? I am, and I thought I’d put it out there for your consideration.
So what if Ms. Kelley sues me. I’m pretty sure I have diplomatic immunity.
Yeah, good column, but couldn't you squeeze a Torii Hunter or Hiroki Kuroda reference in there?
You certainly do, Howard - it's not widely known yet, but I've made you honorary consul to Tehama County. Any cop tries to give you a ticket, explain you have diplomatic immunity just like Jill.
(Great column, BTW. Enjoyed it very much.)