Monday, February 22, 2010


North by Northwest (1959). Suspense. Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. Screenplay: Ernest Lehman, who wanted to write "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures". North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man chased across the United States by agents who want to stop his interference in their plans to smuggle out microfilm holding government secrets. Hitchcock, used this technique in many of his films. This is one of several Hitchcock movies with a music score by Bernard Herrmann and features amazing opening sequence by graphic designer Saul Bass.

One of my favorite scenes:

There are so many wonderful blogs written about the movie North by Northwest, instead of a review. I will write about what I thought was interesting about the film.

Hitchcock worked on the movie script North by Northwest for nine years. He wanted a change of pace after directing Vertigo. Hitchcock said that he wanted to do something fun, light-hearted, and free of symbolism.

There are similarities between this movie and Hitchcock's film Saboteur (1942), whose final scene on top the Statue of Liberty foreshadows the Mount Rushmore scene in the film. In fact, North by Northwest can be seen as the last in a long line of "wrong man" films that Hitchcock made according to the pattern he started in The 39 Steps (1935).

North by Northwest has been referred to as "the first James Bond film" because of its similarities with amazing settings and secret agents. Hitchcock was considered to direct the first Bond film. Hitchcock read the script Thunderball and was interested in directing it. Xanadu Productions had doubts about the amount of control over the picture they would have. Hitchcock passed on the Bond film to direct Psycho.

MGM wanted Alfred Hitchcock to cast Cyd Charisse for the part of Eve Kendall, but Hitchcock insisted upon Eva Marie Saint.

One of my favorite things in a Hitchcock film is: (spoiler alert) the Director Cameo: Hitchcock arrives at a bus stop (during the opening credits) but gets there too late and the door is closed in his face. He misses the bus.

Please click here to read Doriantb. North by Northwest post.


  1. One of Hitch's best. Not surprised he went with Eva Marie Saint over Charisse...hadn't MGM figured out his fetish with blondes by 1959.

  2. Dawn, when you next watch the film , see if you can spot the line they had Eva over dubed. I'll give you a big clue It's in "the Dinning Car'scene.

  3. Kim, LOL.. just what i was thinking.

    Paul, I know this one..I just heard it on TCM.
    Evas line, "I never discuss love on an empty stomach," is dubbed over the line you can see her speaking on film: "I never make love on an empty stomach." i watched it. It does look/sound odd.

  4. Ta Dah, Dawn. Yeah it looks a little off, and if you can read lips you can tell.

  5. I will have to watch it again for that line. The chemistry between Cary and Eva was very dynamic (aside from it being a good film).

  6. Dawn, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post about NORTH BY NORTHWEST! As you know by now, it's my absolute favorite movie ever (admittedly, many of my runners-up are Hitchcock films, too :-)), and your review really did it justice. Also, thanks a million for so generously including the link to my NORTH BY NORTHWEST review from TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED on your own superb blog! You're the best!

  7. DorianTB, Thank you and Your welcome :) NORTH BY NORTHWEST, is also a favorite Hitchcock film of mine. I think that our posts compliments each other very well.


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