North by Northwest

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North by Northwest
Directed byAlfred Hitchcock
Written byErnest Lehman
Produced byAlfred Hitchcock (uncredited)
Herman Coleman (associate)
StarringCary Grant,
Eva Marie Saint,
James Mason,
Jessie Royce Landis,
Martin Landau
CinematographyRobert Burks
Edited byGeorge Tomasini
Music byBernard Herrmann
Production
company
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
July 28, 1959
Running time
136
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4 million

North by Northwest is a 1959 spy thriller movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Ernest Lehman wrote the script, and Cary Grant stars in the lead role. The movie also stars Eva Marie Saint and James Mason.[1] The story is about the innocent Roger Thornhill getting caught up in the spy world. Bernard Hermann composed the music for the movie. Saul Bass created the famous opening sequence. It was one of the first uses of moving text on screen.[2] The movie is often considered an Alfred Hitchcock classic and one of the best movies of all time.[3][4]

Plot[change | change source]

Two men kidnap Roger Thornhill at a hotel. They believe Thornhill is George Kaplan. They drive him to the mansion of Lester Townsend. Phillip Vandamm, who is an enemy spy, questions Roger. Vandamm's men make Thornhill drunk and put him in a car to kill him. Thornhill does not die. Instead, the police catch him. Thornhill cannot make the police or his mother believe his story. They visit the house of Townsend. A woman pretends she knows Thornhill and makes up stories.

Thornhill visits Kaplan's hotel room with his mother. Vandamm's men enter the hotel. Kaplan runs away from them. He goes to the United Nations to meet Lester Townsend. Thornhill talks with Townsend and learns that Townsend does not live in his mansion. One of Vandamm's men throws a knife that kills Townsend. Everyone thinks Thornhill killed Townsend. A government intelligence agency reads about Thornhill. They decide not to help him to protect an agent.

Thornhill goes into a 20th Century Limited train. He meets Eve Kendall. She is an American spy and wants to win the trust of Vandamm. She helps Thornhill escape, and they start a relationship. She sets up a meeting with Kaplan at a rural bus stop. Thornhill goes there and a crop duster pane attacks him. The plane blows up when it flies into a tank truck.

Thornhill goes to Kaplan's hotel in Chicago and sees Kendall. He goes to her hotel room. She asks him to leave him alone and leaves. He follows her to an art auction. He sees her with Vandaam and Vandaam's men. Vandaam buys a Mexican Purépecha sculptur. Thornhill draws attention to himself so he can escape Vandaam's men. The police take Thornhill, but they give him to "The Professor." The Professor is an agent and tells Thornhill that Kaplan does not exist and is just a way to distract Vandaam from Kendall. Thornhill agrees to play the role of Kaplan.

At Mount Rushmore, Thornhill talks with Vandamm to have Kendall arrested. Kendall shoots Thornhill with blanks and runs away. The Professor has Kendall and Thornhill meet. Thornhill learns she must go on an airplane with Vandamm. The Professor locks Thornhill in a hospital room. Thornhill escapes and goes to Vandamm's house. Vandamm discovers that Kendall is a spy, used blanks and that the sculpture has microfilmss. Vandamm says he will throw Kendall off the plane. Thornhill warns Kendall with a note. The two escape and end up at the monuments of Mount Rushmore. Vandamm's men fall from the monuments. The Professor arrests Vandamm.

Cast[change | change source]

Reception[change | change source]

Critical response[change | change source]

The movie had very positive reviews. It has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the movie as a great thriller with much suspense. They said the movie has many iconic images.[5] Some said the movie is an excellent parody of Hitchcock's work and a classic example of his techniques.[6][7] Critics found the movie very entertaining.[8][9] Critics noted how the famous locations created more shocking scenes and added suspense.[6][10] They also said the movie was both suspenseful and cherry.[11] The movie has a rating of 98/100 on Metacritic with "universal acclaim".[12]

Awards[change | change source]

North by Northwest got three nominations at the Academy Awards. They were the awards for Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Color, and Best Original Screenplay. The movie won an Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. At the Faro Island Film Festival, the movie got two nominations for Best Actor (Cary Grant) and Best Film. The movie won Top Action Drama at the Laurel Awards.[13]

Legacy[change | change source]

North by Northwest has made several polls and lists for the greatest movies ever made. In a 1998 Time Out poll, the movie ranked the 12th greatest movie. In a 2022 Time Out poll, the movie was considered the best thriller ever.[14] The poll from the British Film Institute ranked North by Northwest the 53rd greatest movie.[15] The movie is on several of the American Film Institute's lists. The AFI ranked it the 40th-greatest American movie. The movie is ranked 7th on AFI's 10 Top 10 for mystery.[16] It is also No. 40 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies,[17] No. 4 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills,[18] and No. 55 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition).[19] The Library of Congress choose the movie to be part of the National Film Registry in 1995.  

References[change | change source]

  1. Hitchcock, Alfred (1959-12-18), North by Northwest (Action, Adventure, Mystery), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), retrieved 2022-07-18
  2. Johnny C. Lee, Jodi Forlizzi, and Scott E. Hudson. 2002. The kinetic typography engine: an extensible system for animating expressive text. In Proceedings of the 15th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST '02). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 81–90. https://doi.org/10.1145/571985.571997
  3. "AFI'S 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES — 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  4. "100 Greatest Films (of the 20th Century)". www.filmsite.org. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  5. North by Northwest, retrieved 2022-07-19
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nast, Condé (1959-08-08). "Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest," Reviewed". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  7. Deschner, Donald (1973). The Complete Films of Cary Grant. Citadel Press. pp. 22–23.
  8. "North by Northwest archive review: pure entertainment that never puts a foot wrong | Sight & Sound". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  9. "Cinema: The New Pictures, Aug. 17, 1959". Time. 1959-08-17. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  10. Staff, Variety; Staff, Variety (1959-06-29). "North by Northwest". Variety. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  11. Weiler, A. H. (1959-08-07). "Hitchcock Takes Suspenseful Cook's Tour; ' North by Northwest' Opens at Music Hall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  12. North by Northwest, retrieved 2022-07-19
  13. North by Northwest - IMDb, retrieved 2022-07-19
  14. "The 100 best thrillers ever made". Time Out Worldwide. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  15. "Critics' top 100 | BFI". www2.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  16. "AFI's 10 TOP 10". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  17. "AFI's 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  18. "AFI's 100 YEARS…100 THRILLS". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  19. "AFI'S 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES — 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-07-19.

Other websites[change | change source]

Quotations related to North by Northwest at Wikiquote