55. North by Northwest

A hapless New York City advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Do you enjoy dialogue heavy Hitchcock films? Because, if you do, this one is for you. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I love this film, but I am fond of it.

Honestly, this film should be called “Gaslighting Cary Grant” instead of North by Northwest. His performance is good, and his character keeps the audience interested. I always enjoy stories of mistaken identity, but I particularly enjoy this one. This film is witty and funny, while being action packed. It was quite the departure for Alfred Hitchcock. I can’t really think of another one of his films that carries this same tone. It’s refreshing.

Of course, the film is called North by Northwest because it’s a fantasy. No such direction exists. The story itself is all a fantasy. So, that was a nice touch on Hitchcock’s part.

I cannot think of sexier 1950s/1960s dialogue than the dialogue said between Roger Thornhill and Eve Kendall when they first meet and when their alone together in her room. This film is masterful at placing sex in a scene without ever having the characters perform the act. It is incredible to watch.

 

Now, this post clearly isn’t long, and that’s because I watched this movie a while ago, and then got into a funk where I wasn’t writing. However, I can’t end this post without talking about the most famous scene from this film: the airplane scene. This is a scene that, whether you’ve seen the film or not, you know because it has been parodied a million times over:

 

There is a simplistic beauty to this scene. It is, by far, the most suspenseful scene in the entire film, and yet there isn’t a hint of music. That’s rarely seen, as music is constantly used to help build tension. But, Hitchcock let the camera, the actor, and the setting build that suspense and it resulted in something completely iconic.

 

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