Monday, July 5, 2010

Love That Bob!

For a patriotic ending to Independence Day, I took a look at HBO on-demand and found a gem.  From 1942, Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur, starring Bob Cummings and Priscilla Lane.  This movie uses the Statue of Liberty much the same as North by Northwest used Mount Rushmore.  Only the bad guys fall, so it is very patriotic.

I remember Bob Cummings from his 1950's TV show where he played a photographer.  Priscilla Lane was a singer with Fred Waring, and didn't have much of an acting career, appearing in only 22 films over ten years.

This was Norman Lloyd's third film, and he went on to play in Spellbound with Hitch, and then made several episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on TV.  I didn't realize he was in Chaplin's Limelight, which I haven't seen in a long time.  I believe it is coming up in my Netflix queue.

I guess what I like about Hitchcock films is the supporting cast of bit players.  He chooses them wisely so they really fit their part.  Murray Alper was the helpful truck driver in this film, which was only one of his 229 roles over a career spanning 39 years.  He was lonely and talkative, as you would expect a truck driver to be, but he also was looking for adventure.  He mentioned that he never sees anything, but then he sees Cummings escape the police and gives him a hand.

The entire band of circus performers was also perfectly chosen.  If you look at their individual filomgraphies, you will see a load of roles for several of them, including Billy Curtis, the midget (at left), who started out in the 1938 classic western, The Terror of Tiny Town, with an all little people cast.

You can also see Hans Conreid and Will Wright.  Wright must have appeared in every early TV western among his 206 roles!  It was also good to see Ian Wolfe again.  He made it to 286 acting roles, including two "Star Trek" episodes in 1968 and 1969!  That was unusual considering all the great films he was in.  The previously mentioned Billy Curtis also appeared in "Star Trek" the original series.

The best bit player in the film was of course, The Statue of Liberty.  She always saves the day!

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