#49 North By Northwest
Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) a Manhattan advertiser, is mistaken for American spy named George Kaplin. He spends the remainder of the film trying to track down the real Kaplin so that he can clear his name while both avoiding the police, who now think he’s committed a murder, and those that want to kill him because they think he’s Kaplin.
I’m a fan of most Alfred Hitchcock films and this one is no different. In fact I might go so far as to say this is my new favourite Hitchcock film (although Strangers on a Train is up there as well).
From the very beginning and right up until the very end, this film is full of suspense in the way only these types of films can be. The style, direction and locations are all fantastic leading to many of the scenes becoming infamous in their own right i.e. the biplane chasing down a man in the middle of some fields or the fight atop Mount Rushmore. The story, while containing some plot holes, is also very good.
Cary Grant is just superb as Thornhill. In the beginning he reacts in the way most of us would when presented with that situation. As the story progress however, he begins to adapt as the situation requires it. This seems like a natural arc for this character and, despite the oddity of the situations, always seems like the correct approach to take. He’s also a really likeable character and funny with a lot of good/snarky lines all the way through.
Eva Marie Saint plays Eva Kendall, the love interest/femme fatale, and she is magnificent in the role. I’ve heard the term sultry used before but I’ve never seen it done as well as she does. She just radiates sex appeal while always keeping our hero in check with her quick wit and charm. There’s just something about actresses from the 50’s and 60’s that just makes them so much more elegant that today’s actresses.
The only thing I would really criticise about this film is the very end of it. The suspense is so high throughout that you’re really looking for a good payoff and the one we get almost feels like they ran out of time and had to finish right there and then. It’s where I wanted the film to end but it’s just really rushed.
Despite this however, it’s still a great film and I recommend it to anyone 5/5
Also I found out that on the merit of this film Hitchcock was all set to direct the James Bond film Thunderball but decided to make Psycho instead. Both turned out to be great films but can you imagine if we’d gotten a Hitchcock directed Bond film with Sean Connery still playing 007? That would have been awesome.