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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Star's Favorite...Movies-North by Northwest

I am a movie addict and love everything there is to love about going to or watching movies. I like sharing what I love and intend to so on this blog.

Northwest by Northwest is on the list of my top ten favorite cinematic nuggets. I am huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and try my best to know every possible thing there is know about his work. In my list of favorite Alfred Hitchcock's movies this one is number two, I'll do a blog on my number one at some point. IMDb gives this short synopsis of the movie

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.
But it is so much more than that, it's a sophisticated, funny, glamourous, action, and love story starring one of the best actors of our time, Carey Grant and Eva Marie Saint ain't looking too bad standing next to him. And the wonderfully sinister James Mason is brillant, the man nearly stole the whole movie from Carey Grant and that is not an easy feat. I love James Mason's voice and I must say he had the best lines in the movie, "You make this very room a theater" and "That wasn't very sporting, using real bullets". It's fantastic, most people know the movie from the famous scene out in the field where a anonymous bi-plane is bearing down on Carey overhead trying to kill him. But the great scenes are numerous. I'm a huge fan of movies made during this period in the Panavision/Cinemascope style. The color and scope of these movies is just fantastic. I recently saw this movie at a small local theater that shows many classic films, if you think it's good on the small screen you ought to see it on the big screen.

I love this movie so much, Carey Grant is spectacular as usual playing Carey Grant. He was such a good looking man even as an older man, listen even when this man was in 70's with a head full of white hair and he was still hot. How many men can attest to that? They don't make them like that anymore in Hollywood. The action and adventure was spectacular but the love story between the charming Roger O. Thornhill and Eve Kendall was great and the scene with them on the train where they go round and round kissing was so sexy. This shot technique was used by Hitchcock frequently when his main characters kissed and it is brillant, since they were on train and the cameraman couldn't do a round shot of Carey and Eva, he made them go around and around kissing for a similar effect.

Some of the things about this movie that you may not know unless you're a rabid fan like myself are the scene in the field was filmed in Bakersfield, California. The United Nations does not let folks film in it's building, so Hitchcock employed guerilla style filming and filmed Carey Grant from across the street in a truck when he walks up the The United Nations steps unknown to the guard standing there in the scene. The actual scene with the inside of the U.N. building was a soundstage. The woman who played Carey's mother, the wonderful Jessie Royce Landis was younger than Carey Grant. The scene of Mt. Rushmore was a soundstage built to look like Mt. Rushmore when the U.S. Forest Service thought Mr. Hitchcock had plans to have actors running all over the National Monument they suggested he go back to England and have them run all over Big Ben. Mr. Hitchcock never had any intention of filming that scene on Mt. Rushmore. Who would insure them with all the danger? LOL. The end of the movie with Carey and Eva on the train after just getting married is very suggestive for 1959, the train going into the tunnel is a visual metaphor for...well just guess.

If you're a classic movie fan and have never seen this movie, I suggest you rent it. You'll enjoy the heck out of it. If you have seen it, you should understand why I love it so much. The acting, the costumes, that Eva Marie Saint in the black and red dress in the hotel scene is breathtaking, the scenes, and the story just make it one of Hitchcock's finest moments as a director. You won't regret watching it, I think I can guarantee that.


  1. Yeah, I find the whole movie wonderful, and some of the dialogue is just sparkling with wit, as you allude to.

    When they (Grant and Marie-Saint) first meet on the train - god, I love the whole sequence.

  2. AP Style, I really love the little flirty banter between them when he sits at her table, very naughty for the 50's but oh so cool. LOL.

    And thanks so much for the information about spelling, I am a stickler about spelling. Grammar, no so much but spelling, yes LOL.

  3. I like very much this movie, as a lot of those made by Hitchcock.

    I like this scene with the plane, which fly for a while in the background, while all we are waiting with Mr Grant for his mysterious meeting. I like also the anxious vibe (especially for the girl who has to take her last plane) in the house before they flee to Mt Rushmore.

    But my fav Hitchcock will stay definitely Vertigo with its awesome and mysterious atmosfear.

  4. Ah, you never know Grave Digger I might be talking about 'Vertigo' one of these days. I am a hardcore Hitchcock fan. So I have more than one favorite movie by him.