New release: Alfred Hitchcock famously spoke about the difference between horror and suspense. To paraphrase his description, horror is when you show a couple at a restaurant and then a bomb under the table suddenly blows everyone up. Suspense is when you show the couple; then show the ticking bomb; then show the couple talking for five minutes about baseball or something mundane; the whole time we're thinking, 'look under the table. look out!" But they keeping talking! At the last minute they look and diffuse the bomb. Then you can start building up the next moment of suspense. But, he added, you should never let the bomb go off. The master of suspense famously broke his rule in one of his early great films, Sabotage (1936). Based on Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, the film centers around a small movie house in London and a family who become entangled in a web of European saboteurs. Spy Vibers may remember the film contains excerpts from Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon, Who Killed Cock Robin, in a wonderful subtext of emotion and danger. Chilling and masterfully filmed, Sabotage was one of the first Hitchcock movies I ever saw. I went through a period as a kid when I would ride the train over to the Greenwich Library and their film librarian would set up the projector and run movies for me. He showed me all the early Hitchcock films and was one of the people who influenced me to become a film programmer, teacher, and media historian. I later learned, when I was working on my Mort Walker Conversations book, that Brian Walker (Hi and Lois) had a similar experience with that same librarian ten years before me. I wrote to the Greenwich Library once and he was still there! In fact, he said I should stop by on their movie nights if I was ever back in the area. But back to Hitchcock. Sabotage is getting a loving Blu-ray transfer from the original film elements by UK distributer Network! Special features include an introduction by Charles Barr, an On Location featurette, and Image Gallery. More info at AmazonUK and Network. I'm particularly interested to see the print because we've had to endure decades of public domain DVDs that suffered from really muffled sound and poor picture quality. The Blu-ray release date is June 1st and will be a Region-B disc (Spy Vibers in the States will require a region-free player). Another cool treasure to re-explore and look forward to! Enjoy!
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