NORTH BY NORTHWEST
A film by Alfred Hitchcock
1959 / USA / 136 minutes / Col
4th Oct 2015; 5.45pm
Perks Mini Theater
At over two hours and ten minutes, this is one of the longest Hitchcock films, but it is action-packed all the way, from the opening scenes to the finale moments. The film opens with images of busy New York crowds rushing to make bus, train, and taxi connections, even as Saul Bass’s famous kinetic titling sequence is overlaying the opening credits and Bernard Herrmann’s driving music is ringing in the background.
Cary Grant plays the suave and cultured Roger Thornhill - a twice married, twice divorced Madison Avenue advertising genius who finds himself inexplicably caught in a web of intrigue when he is mistaken for an international spy. Suddenly, Thornhill's tidy life is turned upside down.
As is the case with many of Hitchcock's films, including Rear Window and Vertigo, the director sets up his hero as the only one who knows the truth. His story is so preposterous that no one else believes him without a great deal of convincing. Another Hitchcockian element evident in North by Northwest is the idea of turning an "everyman" into a detective. Thornhill must use clues and intuition to unravel the complicated plot that has put him on the run from the police with his life in danger.
The iconic crop duster sequence where Roger Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) is terrorised by a crop-dusting plane is one of the most emulated action sequences in Hollywood history. The hallmark of North by Northwest is the way in which Hitchcock develops tension. There is only one scene in which we are given information that the protagonist is not privy to - when the camera takes us into a government office to shed light on Thornhill's situation while adding deeper layers to the mystery. In fact, it's the complexity of Thornhill's trap and the seeming impossibility of getting out of it that builds suspense. (Source: Internet)
He was known to his audiences as the 'Master of Suspense' and what Hitchcock mastered was not only the art of making films but also the task of taming his own raging imagination. Director of such works as Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds and The 39 steps, Hitchcock told his stories through intelligent plots witty dialogue and a spoonful of mystery andmurder. In doing so, he inspired a new generation of filmmakers and revolutionized the thriller genre, making him a legend around the world. His brilliance was sometimes too bright: He was hated as well as loved, oversimplified as well as over analyzed. Hitchcock was eccentric, demanding, inventive, impassioned and he had a great sense of British humor.
His success followed when he made a number of films in Britain such as "The Lady Vanishes" (1938) and Jamaica Inn (1939), some of them which also made him famous in the USA. David O. Selznick, an American producer at the time, got in touch with Hitchcock and the Hitchcock family moved to the USA to direct an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca (1940). It was when Saboteur (1942) was made, that films companies began to call his films after him; such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot, Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.He retired soon after making Family Plot (1976).In late 1979, Hitchcock was knighted, making him Sir Alfred Hitchcock. On the 29th April 1980, 9:17AM, he died peacefully in his sleep