Off-topic movie review: North by Northwest


Saw the Alfred Hitchcock classic North by Northwest for the first time recently. I use the word “Alfred Hitchcock” and “classic” in the same sentence because the movie warrants it, not because of its director. I’ve never been much of a Hitchcock devotee.

Without giving anything away, the movie ends like this: Cary Grant pulls his new bride Eva Marie Saint into the bed in their train … he says something vaguely suggestive like, “I know but I’m sentimental … ” and they kiss. It immediately cuts to a shot of the train going into the tunnel.

A train going into the tunnel. (Pause and reflect).

Get it? You gotta love the 50s movies, they so much wanted to be bad. Instead of showing it to you, though, they forced you to have the dirty mind. Subtle …

Anyway, some notes:

  • One of the biggest characters was Cary Grant’s gray suit. That suit should’ve gotten a credit all its own. I will never be able to wear a suit and look that good.

  • Then there’s the whole Cary Grant-George Clooney connection, which has been covered ad nauseum. But watching North by Northwest it’s an easy comparison. Grant delivers lines with a wry sense of comic timing that keeps the drama in check. Clooney has that same ease: he can pull of both drama and comedy … and usually at the same time.
  • Grant, and I’m totally speaking out of my butt here, is a better leading man for Hitchcock than Jimmy Stewart. Tell me I’m wrong.
  • And then there’s the stunning Eva Marie Saint. I first saw her in the great Nothing in Common with Jackie Gleason and Tom Hanks; she was still attractive. You know, I think that film is the one that really launched Hanks into the dramatic roles that earned him his Oscars. Even more than Big.

But that may be a little off-topic …

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One thought on “Off-topic movie review: North by Northwest

  1. Much is said about the big 4 Hitchcock films (Birds, The Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo), but this particular film holds its own while often being over looked. Hitchcock was truly the master when it came to manipulating images for symbolism. He got (and sadly Hollywood has lost) that the theater of the mind can truly be more terrifying than anything that can actually be put on film (cgi or otherwise). He knew how to lead you to it and draw it out of you. Like writing a story without ever having to actually pick up the pen. Cary Grant way better than Harvey’s friend

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