136 Min. | Action – Adventure – Crime | November 1959
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Staring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
North by Northwest Review: North by Northwest is Hitch’s most briskly entertaining movie, and one of his most comic, adventure-caper type movies, largely thanks to the persona of Cary Grant. But its also one of his most suspenseful – in the fact that Grant is being recognised as someone else, and that he may be put in jail for someone else’s crime. Finally come to realise just how great North by Northwest is. The reason you should love Hitchcock is he put entertainment upfront. Hitchcock was not interested in whether this or that would happen in real life, he was interested in what would make the most entertaining scene for North by Northwest.
North by Northwest is a peak in this regard. The dialogue and situations intentionally throw reality to the wind – the double-entendre dialogue in the love scenes is not supposed to be the way people talk! If you said to Hitchcock “as if he’d keep driving” or “as if she’d do that” – he would just laugh at you and say you’ve missed the point. This is 100% movieland, and once you get used to the fact, and that this is not a fault in North by Northwest, but done intentionally, you’ll love it. Its expressionistic – everything happens in movie language, the people laughing at Grant in the elevator, the way he keeps driving drunk near the beginning, the way he grabs the knife and everyone stares at him after someone’s been stabbed.
It flirts with the idea of identity. I thought it was interesting how Grant first is dismissing, then incredulous that people should be calling him by another name, then, as the tries to find out who this guy is, he enters the hotel room of this new identity, then he puts the suit on, and finally he identifies himself as George Kaplan. A succession of fantastic, memorable scenes, a great leading man in Grant, and one of Hermann’s essential Hitch scores make for a movie can put on at any time. Overall, North by Northwest is an excellent film.
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