North by Northwest (1959)
"A 3000 MILE CHASE . . . That blazes a trail of TERROR to a gripping, spine-chilling climax ! "A hapless New York 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.
I finally get how great it is: Hitch infuses his wrong-man caper with ironic movie language and reality-be-damned escapism and suspense.
Its 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
I've 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 the movie.
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 the film, 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
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 i can put on at