For reasons that are left unexplained -- and maybe it should be so --
Karl Verloc (Oscar Homolka) is working for unknown forces by
terrorizing London natives as he sets off bombs. His wife's brother
Stevie is the patsy given these packages to be delivered once they
reach their destination at a certain time. Until one delivery goes
terribly wrong and causes the innocent Stevie his life.
It's the sequence that is Hitchcock's earliest depictions of what he describes as suspense. The boy, whom we have grown to like over the course of the film, is on his way to a location on a bus carrying the bomb inside a package. Hitchcock cuts between the package, the street, the Big Ben, over and over and over until the tension becomes so unbearable and is finally released in an explosion which kills the boy.
While Hitchcock in his interview with Truffaut would later state that putting the boy in this situation is something that he resented because the audience at that time reacted negatively at this, I think this is a mistake. Because there is another character, Mrs. Verloc (played by Sylvia Sidney), who will eventually come to realize what she has been slowly fearing all along -- that her husband is the person behind the acts of sabotage -- she has to lose a person close to her to take action.
In the climactic sequence which resembles a silent film, Mrs. Verloc brings murder and retribution home without a line of dialogue but only using her survival instincts and those sad, expressive eyes. Hitchcock shifts from her face, to Homolka's, to the food they are eating, to her holding the knife, until we cannot bear it anymore and in a moment of almost casual surprise, it happens. It's too bad Hitchcock and she did not work again; she would have made an excellent Hitchcock heroine.
The Director would explore the theme of the suspicious wife time and again on two other films. In the correctly titled SUSPICION, Joan Fontaine would be the wife who has to come to terms with the gnawing fact that her dashing husband's love may be killing her, and in DIAL M FOR MURDER would bring to focus what was implied in SUSPICION.
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
Mr. Verloc is part of a gang of foreign saboteurs operating out of London. He manages a small cinema with his wife and her teenage brother as a cover, but they know nothing of his secret. Scotland Yard assign an undercover detective to work at the shop next to the cinema in order to observe the gang.
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July 22, 2015 at 09:25 AM