North by Northwest (1959)
Hitchcock's impact on film should never be questioned. His influence is arguably the greatest of any director at any time in film. The reason being for movies like "North by Northwest" which tip-toed many lines; but has since been outdated.
The story told in the film would be impossible to exist today with our instant communication and technology. Much like "The Big Lebowski", "North by Northwest" plays like a series of misunderstandings that line up for our protagonist to overcome. This man's name is Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), and he does not call himself "The Dude". If Mr. Thornhill had a moniker, it would probably be "Cool Cat"...but alas, he does not.
Roger is having a perfectly normal day—he's scheduling with his secretary and canceling meetings...living the big life. At a meeting, he decides that he needs to deliver a telegram to his mother and when he steps outside to do just that, he gets kidnapped.
Two men with guns hustle him into a car and take him away to a very large mansion that belongs to a certain Mr. Townsend (James Mason).
Mr. Townsend thinks that he is interrogating a man named George Kaplan and nothing that Roger says can convince him otherwise.
Mistaken identities, fast love affairs, high action—they all abound in "North by Northwest".
Through various complicated circumstances, Roger becomes a fugitive of a law. Determined to clear his name of the allegations being brought against him, Roger needs to find the George Kaplan—this is the only man who can help him.
But everywhere he turns there is someone waiting for him with either a gun or a pair of handcuffs.
The quintessential and father to all suspense movies, "North by Northwest" is terrifically entertaining if a little too outlandish for its own good.
Simple questions that the viewer might have will probably never go answered. Characters aren't explained and the motives are muddy; yet there is an amount of believability to the story that Hitchcock and his screenwriter Ernest Lehman, bring to life.
This movie's girl is played by Eva Marie Saint who has great chemistry with Cary Grant...though your opinion of her may change throughout the film—don't worry, it's supposed to.
Although the film is overly long, I don't think that there's a boring moment in it. Every corner could hold new secrets and twists. In this way, we see where Nolan draws his inspirations...there are some moments in hotel corridors that seem to inspire Nolan's sleek scene in "Inception"...plus, he's an admitted Hitchcock fan.
Cary Grant is very good here; collected and calm for the length of the film.
Typical of Hitchcock, the Freudian sexuality is impossible to miss. What's iconic about the film is scene involving a plane...but should it be? There are so many more great moments in the film that it's hard just to pick one.
My college psychology professor made a specific comment about one of the images in "North by Northwest"...in fact, it's the ending shot. Let's just say, think like a Freudian and you may surprise yourself.
The influences that "North by Northwest" had on the Bond franchise are unquestionable. From Grant's styled coolness to the campiness of the lines to the almost laughable sequences of action—Hitchcock somehow makes it all work.
Though it doesn't compare to the director's other works like "Psycho", "North by Northwest" remains one of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous and remembered works.
Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones