By Northwest (1959)
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau.
time: 136 mins
Alfred Hitchcock followed his masterpiece Vertigo
(1958) with the equally impressive adventure yarn North By
many fans, this is THE best picture made by Hitchcock and
his frequent star Cary Grant - indeed they are both on top
of their game in this fast paced, often amusing spy romp.
is New York ad executive Roger Thornhill, who somehow gets
mistaken by foreign agents for a U.S. government secret agent
named George Kaplan. Bundled out of a bar by a couple of sinister
"heavies" and driven out to a remote Long Island
mansion, Thornhill protests an absurd case of mistaken identity
to the suave ringleader Philip Vandamm (James Mason).
who plans to smuggle top secret information out of the country,
is convinced Thornhill is lying, and orders his gang (including
the young Martin Landau) to get him drunk for a "pleasant
ride back to town".
is just the start of Thornhill's problems as he's framed for
murder at the United Nations, pursued by cops, chased by a
plane and seduced on a train by a lethal blonde (Eva Marie
Saint) who might be trying to kill him.
breathless stuff, featuring many classic moments including
a chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore. And Grant and
Eva Marie Saint make for a hot couple.
restored VistaVision picture has rightly been touted as one
of the best examples of digital remastering and there's great
sound to go with it, perfect for composer Bernard Herrmann's
DVD features a great documentary hosted by Eva Marie Saint
on the making of the movie, including the droll observations
of screenwriter Ernest Lehman and a funny Hitchcock impersonation
by Martin Landau.