Archive for the Hitchcock Category

North By Northwest

Posted in Film, Hitchcock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 6 September, 2008 by Ally
(Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

There is actually no such direction...

There is nothing I could say about North By Northwest that hasn’t already been said. Well, that’s not strictly true, it has probably never been said that Cary Grant’s stunt double was just a suit stuffed with pork sausages, but apart from absurd lies there is nothing I could say about North By Northwest that hasn’t already been said. It was written by Ernest Lehman with the express intention of out-Hitchcocking Hitchcock. As such, it features all the director’s hallmarks in spades; a case of mistaken identity, a sexy blonde, unsettling events in familiar surroundings, plot twists, suspense, murder and intrigue. And a few giggles along the way.

Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is an advertising executive leading a busy but fairly ordinary life, until he is mistaken for government agent George Kaplan by enemy spies. This happens because, whilst lunching with his high-powered businessman friends in a hotel, he calls for the bellhop who has been paging Kaplan. All Thornhill wants to do is send a telegram to his mother, but the spies make an ass out of you and me, ya dig? After being kidnapped, interrogated by someone claiming to be “Townsend” (James Mason), force-fed bourbon and left in a car to have a near miss with the edge of a cliff, Thornhill is arrested for driving under the influence. The police are skeptical about his kidnap story, as is his mother (Jessie Royce Landis), but he is determined to find the real Kaplan and clear his name. He tracks down Kaplan’s unoccupied hotel room, but is again mistaken for him after foolishly answering the telephone and finding his captors on the other end. He is even blamed for the murder of the real Townsend, a United Nations representative who doesn’t look a bit like James Mason. And all for a telegram! Continue reading