Hitchcock’s Saboteur with guest speaker David Soren


Saboteur tells the story of aircraft factory worker Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) who goes on the run across the U.S. when he is wrongly accused of starting a fire that kills his best friend. Writing in The New York Times on May 8, 1942, reviewer Bosley Crowther said, “To put it mildly, Mr. Hitchcock and his writers have really let themselves go. Melodramatic action is their forte, but they scoff at speed limits this trip. All the old master’s experience at milking thrills has been called upon….a swift, high-tension film.”

Patterned after a typical UA Humanities Seminar, the 1:00-4:00 pm viewing will be guided by Dr. Soren’s extensive research into Hollywood films, with special emphasis on his theory of the Hitchcock dialectic. Soren derived this concept from interviewing Norman Lloyd, who was Hitchcock’s best friend, personal consultant, and producer of TV’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents. And it is Lloyd who plays the villain in Saboteur and steals the film.

David Soren is an archeologist who has directed many excavations in Italy over the years. He is a Resident of the American Academy in Rome and director of the Orvieto (Italy) Study Abroad Program. Movies about his work have been featured on a number of networks, including the BBC (“Malaria and the Fall of Rome”), the Learning Channel (“A Roman Plague”), and National Geographic (“Kourion”). Soren is currently directing and producing three archeological documentaries about ancient Rome, sponsored by the Joseph and Mary Cacioppo Foundation of Tucson. 

And Soren knows film, especially having been part of the entertainment industry himself. Howie Davis, as Soren was billed, was a child star in vaudeville. He sang and danced, opening for the Philadelphia Eagles football team, did a solo act in nightclubs, and was a cast regular on the Horn & Hardart Children’s Hour (CBS). Soren also negotiated the UA’s acquisition of much of the famous American Vaudeville Museum collections of films, memorabilia, and other artifacts now housed in the UA Library’s Special Collections. He is also listed in the two-volume Encyclopedia of Vaudeville (by Frank Cullen) and has won a National Cine Golden Eagle Award for documentary film-making. Professor Soren is as recognized for his entertaining presentations as for his intellect, both in large lecture classes and in the more intimate settings of the Humanities Seminars. He will bring unique and constructive approaches to watching Saboteur.