Monday, February 4, 2019
North by Northwest
I'm a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959).
No matter how many times I watch this movie, I am still mesmerized by the suspense and intrigue. We have mistaken identity, a femme fatale, a spy ring, a smuggling operation, and some really bad guys. Not to mention a getaway car heading for a cliff, a train, a desert road with a crop duster out to kill, culminating with a chase up Mount Rushmore.
The story in a nutshell: Roger Thornhill, advertising executive from NYC is mistaken for a spy. Life and death hang in the balance.
Jimmy Stewart coveted the role of Thornhill, but Hitchcock wanted Cary Grant. Hitch also wanted Sophia Loren for the femme fatale. That didn't happen. The studio pushed for Cyd Charisse, but Hitchcock went with Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall, the spy and love interest of Roger Thornhill.
James Mason is the bad guy, Phillip VanDamm. And the illustrious Martin Landau is his henchman, Leonard
Hitchcock includes humor and witty dialog, particularly between Roger and his mother, played by Jessie Royce Landis.
When Roger and Eve meet on the train, their romance begins:
ROGER: What's wrong with men like me?
EVE: They don't believe in marriage.
ROGER: I've been married twice.
EVE: See what I mean?
I'm also impressed with the opening credits animation featuring skyscrapers and a cool graphic of architectural pencil drawings. This is enhanced with a dramatic score by Bernard Hermann, who wrote the music for Psycho.
Alfred Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance (as he usually did in his films) a the man who misses the bus.
It's a shame that they don't make movies like this anymore.
What's your favorite Hitchcock film?