31 May 2009

Hitchcock | Bon Voyage (1944)

Bon Voyage (1944)
written by Angus MacPhail and J.O.C. Orton

The first and better of the two World War II shorts Hitchcock directed. Hitch felt guilty about being in America while Europe was being torn apart by the war, so he volunteered to create a pair of propaganda shorts intended for the French Resistance.

Bon Voyage tells the tale of a British pilot, shot down over occupied France, who manages to escape with the help of the Resistance and -- unknown to him -- a German spy. The spy uses the pilot's escape as a way of digging out Resistance members. It's all pretty exciting, sort in the same tradition as The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes. Not bad for a short piece of propaganda. Had it ever been expanded into a full-length movie, this could've made for a nice follow-up to Lifeboat. (6/10)

Watched the region 1 DVD released by Image in 1998. The transfer's one step above public domain-quality and the English subtitles are burned in... but, I wasn't expecting much. This isn't exactly A-list Hitchcock, bound to sell millions.