Film Flick: North by Northwest

Friday, March 28, 2014

Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, After making the dark, physiological thriller Vertigo , Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense, wanted a  change of pace. Something with no heavy symbolism, something fun. A murder at the U.N. building? Or what about one in a Detroit car factory? A tornado that kills people? A chase scene across Mt. Rushmore? A climatic ending in the snowy vistas of Alaska? The possibilities were endless, once he and writer Ernst Leham started thinking. So, instead of working on the movie they'd contracted with MGM to make (The Wreck of the Mary Deare ), they chose to use the money to make the movie of their wildest conceptions. And that film was North by Northwest

Starring Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill, we follow an everyday advertising man as he stumbles into an amazing game of cat and mouse. Mistaken for the mysterious George Kaplan, he is kidnapped and his life threatened, but no one will believe him! When matters take a turn for the worst, there is no choice but to find Kaplan and the men who want to do him in- even if it means crisscrossing America to do so! Also starring are Eva Marie Saint as the mysterious blonde who may or may not be a help, and and James Mason as either a cultured art collector or a mastermind who wants nothing more than Thornhill dead!

A favorite of Hitchcock's, the director waited until he could cast Cary Grant in the lead role. Grant, as always, is charming and utterly unrufflable.  In a way, the film might have been better with someone who could be agitated, even for an instant, by all the nerve-wracking situations Thornhill finds himself in. However, Grant still seems as suave as ever paired with Eva Marie Saint. With her character in the same icy blonde mold as many of Hitchcock's leading ladies, Saint is absolutely riveting. She can be cool and cocky, blunt, and romantic all in turn. Plus, she wears timeless but stunning pieces in her scenes- clothes she and Hitchcock picked out themselves from a New York department store after deciding they didn't like the ones provided at the MGM studios.
Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock,

Like the James Bond films from later years, North By Northwest can be both humorous and suspenseful, all while taking itself seriously as a story. It contains not one but two of film history's most famous scenes, and, without giving away too much of the plot, some (but not all) of the ideas listed above worked their way into the final script. It is a longer film, clocking in at 136 minutes, but you won't notice the time. You'll be the edge of your seat, seeing where this fantastic journey North by Northwest will take you!


  1. How funny that you made a post about this film; I just watched it for the first time the other week! Absolutely loved it!

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  2. You're making me want to go catch up on Hitchcock- it's been too long since I've watched any!

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  3. This is such a great film! Got to love Cary Grant :)

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  4. I haven't seen this one but now I really want to. Really liked your review above, particularly the little details that usually don't make their way into reviews (re, where they picked up her clothes). Thanks!

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