North by Northwest
9 out of 10 All Stars
An Alfred Hitchcock film. Staring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau, and Philip Ober.
Alfred Hitchcock: Hitchcock arrives at a bus stop (during the opening credits) but gets there a second too late and the door is closed in his face. He misses the bus.
Alfred Hitchcock: [bathroom] Thornhill hides in a bathroom three times.
Alfred Hitchcock: [mother] Roger has a close relationship with his mother.
The Short Short Synopsis: Mistaken identity spurs a foreign spy (James Mason) to pursue an innocent New Yorker (Cary Grant), all the way to Mount Rushmore.
My Thoughts: Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a man mistaken for a false spy, George Kaplan. It’s a bit confusing. Naturally, Cary is confused too. And of course he’s going to want to fix this confusion. To think, someone trying to pretend to be him, even though their names are not similar. Preposterous. So Roger goes on the run, while looking for all the answers.
This is my second time watching this movie straight through. Before two years ago, when I first watched it, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it. The major exciting pieces being the attack by the crop-duster plane, and the stunts on Mount Rushmore.
The opening credits music and scene starts off really suspenseful, and then calms down when Hitchcock misses his bus. So watching Roger get mistaken as George wasn’t that suspenseful in my opinion. Cary Grant didn’t even seem fazed by being kidnapped until he started talking to who he thought was Mr. Townsend.
Not until this car scene did the suspense pick up. And it continued with more chase scenes later on, with Alfred Hitchcock’s trademark “MacGuffin” plot device. I hadn’t seen this car scene before, and I thought it was pretty good. Seeing it again, I think that the way they made the drunk tunnel vision really good. It gave an extra kick of suspense. I thought it was ridiculous that he kept on driving in his drunken state. But then, the character is pig-headed and stubborn, just like his Mom, who thinks she wants to meet these “killers.” Explains why he still tries to find this “George Kaplan”, even though he’s got people trying to kill him. It doesn’t explain why he touched the knife that was used to kill the real Mr. Townsend, at the United Nations no less.
I thought Eva Marie Saint was pretty good, along with the other cast members. I still laugh at the ending despite the “cliffhanger” moment just before the final scene.
In all this is a really good Hitchcock movie. I’ve seen Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, and bits of The Man Who Knew Too Much (mostly Doris Day’s popular song, “Que Sera, Sera”). North by Northwest might be my favorite.