While Saboteur isn't quite North By Northwest (more like North By Northwest jr.) it's got plenty going for it. The Statue of Liberty sequence of course as well as the circus car scene. Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings work well together and Hitchcock's direction certainly didn't hurt.
The Statue of Liberty scene, as well as the confusing bedlam that ensues when an actual gunfight breaks out during a film's gunfight in a theatre auditorium, are two of the most creative set-pieces Hitch ever unfurled. It's too bad the rest of the movie is so cold and contrived. The propagandist elements don't help it, either.
By 5 minutes in, with just a handful of images and happenings, Hitchock casually introduces 2 complex conflicts, a host of intriguing characters and one thrilling mystery. Impressive filmmaking, excellent themes and a good story, but perhaps not the most genuine performances or authentic emotion. An altogether good movie, but the first 5 minutes are flat-out brilliant. Susie: best baby-role ever.
I'm surprised by the low average rating given on Mubi for this film, as I personally loved it. Recently I've been working through the Hitchcock films that have passed me by, and this one I thought was an absolute gem. Not only is there a lot of tension built into it, there is also a noir-like quality to it, which presumably would have influenced the genre, rather than to have been influenced by it. Brilliant!
Kinda middletier Hitch tbh, but TONS of great moments to make it worth checking out. The circus car scene, Otto Kruger's anti-American monologue at the end and the way it is filmed with him off in the distance is very effective, and of course the talked about to death finale. Apparently Norman Lloyd, the villain, was in Mercury with Welles and wouldve likely been in Cit. Kane if not loaned out for this film. 4 stars