Urban Cinefile
"Anything that's regular, I like to change. And I have a pink bedroom, a green lounge room, with antique chandeliers."  -actress Dee Smart
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday, October 23, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

NORTH BY NORTHWEST

SYNOPSIS:
New York advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is lunching with clients in the Plaza Hotel when he is mistaken by two henchmen waiting to kidnap a chap called George Kaplan, and the adventure begins. Thornhill is dragged across America and seduced by Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) on a train ride, only to be betrayed. The pursuing villain, Phillip Vandamm (James Mason), is part of the cold war furniture, aided by a closet gay Leonard (Martin Landau), who has taken the secret agency bait – planted by The Professor (Leo G. Carroll) that Kaplan is a master spy, and is trying to get rid of him. But Eve Kendall is a double agent, and Thornhill is a naive innocent. The game is dangerous and ends in a climactic chase at Mt Rushmore, across the heads of America’s first presidents.

"It's all very well raving about Hitchcock's taut direction, Hermann's pointy score, the formidably talented cast –– but what about Ernest Lehman's script!? Clever, well structured and above all subtle, it is intelligent without being highbrow. There are a miriad things about this film that provide entertainment and involvement, from the quickly drawn but multi-faceted characters to the sheer joy of an exciting thriller well told. And so effortlessly - it seems. This is masterclass stuff, every shot a gem, yet delivered with simplicity and lack of pretension. Dialogue matters; character matters; action matters; and so does fallibility, romance – and humour. There are enough laughs (and smiles, and grins) in North By Northwest to keep a full on comedy bubbling, which makes it a unique experience. I tried dipping into the film to select the CLIP to play for this review and found myself captivated all over again - for the umpteenth time. Every scene works, and so many are memorable: the famous key-art scene with Thornhill at the desert bus stop, attacked by a crazed cropduster; all the scenes on the train; the climactic, white-knuckle scene at Mt Rushmore; the shooting of Thornhill in the café . . .and on and on. Cary Grant uses all his comic and athletic skills, and Eva Marie Saint plays the ultimate femme fatale – in fact, some of the pre-foreplay seduction scenes are positively erotic and far more risqué than you might expect for 1959. Like the dinner chat on the train...) It is at once a cool romance and a cool comedy, a hot thriller and a hot adventure."
Andrew L. Urban

LIMITED EDITION
Only 2,000 copies of each of the 100 films in the Century Collection are being released in Australia during October, November and December 1999 by Warner Home Video, exclusively through Myer/Grace Bros stores, K Mart and Target.

RRP: $19.95 each

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (M)
(US)
1959

CAST: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G Carroll, Martin Landau, Jessie Royce Landis

DIRECTOR: Alfred Hitchcock

PRODUCER: Alfred Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman

SCRIPT: Ernest Lehman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Burks

EDITOR: George Tomasini

MUSIC: Bernard Hermann

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robert Boyle

RUNNING TIME: 136 minutes

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros

VIDEO RELEASE DATE: November 1999







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017