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North by Northwest is famous for its famous action sequences such as hanging on Mount Rushmore and the crop duster plane scene. Essentially it is a film of mistaken identity as advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for George Kaplan by some bad guys in league with a foreign power presumably Russian. The trouble is Kaplan is a made up operative created by the CIA to flush out the film's villain, the urbane but deadly Vandamm (James Mason) and his cronies such as the fey henchman Leonard (Martin Landau) who are out to get Thornhill. Thornhill in order to prove his innocence must evade capture from the bad guys and also the police as he is wanted by everyone. Only a beautiful blonde Eve (Eva-Marie Saint) aids him in this cross country chase but she is more than an innocent bystander as she might be in league with Vandamm. This is an escapist action film that mixes tension with some comedy and Grant was always adept with light comedy. The film is overlong, it just feels 15 minutes too long and the villains motives seems to be rather cloudy.
I hate user/critic review websites strictly because of movies like this. People will go see like, Gran Torino, be entertained, admire a couple symmetrical shots and smooth camera pans or whatever, and rate the thing a 4.5/5, 9/10, 95%, etc. But then there are movies that have a ten minute chase scene with Cary Grant scaling down Mount Rushmore, every second of which you're screaming at the screen. Of course my most pompous entry is for an Alfred Hitchcock. But please, for progeny's sake, save the high ratings for ones that earn em
Sometimes the truth does taste like a mouthful of worms. Roger O Thornhill is a harmless and amiable advertising executive who is absurdly mistaken for a government agent by a gang of ruthless spies. Forced to go out on the lam, Thornhill lurches from one perilous scenario to another. Can he survive to prove his innocence? Is the gorgeous blonde who is helping him really a friend? All will be revealed in Alfred Hitchcock's majestic thriller. If deconstructing it you find that this isn't a perfect Hitchcock movie, for it under uses James Mason's coolly vile Phillip Vandamm (which is a crime), and it also doesn't have a female lead acting with any great urgency since Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall fails to fully fulfil the promise of Kendall's arrival in the movie. Yet this film rightly earns the right to be on any critics top 100 list, to be a favourite amongst the legion of Hitchcock fans (of which I'm one of that number), for it is escapist entertainment in its purest form, Hitchcock's most accessible popcorn entertainment piece. From the moment at the film's opening when you hear Bernard Herrmann's wonderful music, it's enough to send goose pimples all over the body. For it is a musical portent that signifies we are about to get a fusion of thrills, mystery, and some cheeky Hitchcock humour, accompanied by heroes and villains all condensed purely for our enjoyment. Fronted by a diamond Cary Grant performance as the man wrongly mistaken for another that leads to him being pursued frighteningly across the states, the pic is never found wanting for genre high points. Coming as it did after the darkly brilliant and soul sapping Vertigo, Hitchcock clearly wanted to hang loose and enjoy himself. Working from a fabulous script by Ernest Lehman, North By Northwest's very reason for being is purely to entertain those wanting to invest a frame of mind with it, with Hitchcock cunningly putting us on side with what is ultimately a shallow character in Grant's Roger O (the O doesn't stand for anything) Thornhill. It's a neat trick from the master of trickery and devilment. Some of the scenes on show are now almost folk lore such is the esteem in which they are held by movie fans and makers alike. A crop dusting aeroplane attack (the prelude to which has those goose pimples popping up in anticipation), a pursuit on Mount Rushmore and the often forgotten drunk car on a cliff sequence, these are all trade mark pieces of work from Hitchcock. North By Northwest is in my humble opinion one of the true greats of cinema history, where as bleak and as unnervingly brilliant as Vertigo was the previous year, this is the polar opposite in structure and fable, but the result is most definitely equally as great. One of the reasons I fell in love with cinema in fact. 10/10
***It has its points of interest, but any 60’s Bond flick is a better choice*** When an ad executive in Manhattan (Gary Cooper) is mistaken for a government agent by a foreign spy & his cronies (James Mason, et al.) he finds himself a fugitive traveling by train to Chicago wherein he meets a woman that seems to have his favor (Eva Marie Saint). After a curious encounter with a crop dusting plane everything culminates at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. "North by Northwest" (1959) is an adventure/thriller by Hitchcock with a huge reputation. It obviously influenced the James Bond flicks of the 60s, which started three years later with “Dr. No” (1962), but it’s very toned down by comparison because the hero in this case is not a trained spy. It’s entertaining to a point, but also seriously overrated due to some glaring problems… Jessie Royce Landis plays the protagonist’s mother when she was only a little over 7 years older than Cooper and it’s too obvious; the story drags too much at this point (when he’s hanging out with his mother); his chance meeting with a key character on the train (Saint) is too coincidental; their make-out sessions are premature, unconvincing and painfully dull; what happens to the plane is stupefying; the crop dusting encounter supposedly takes place in rural Indiana when it’s clear that it’s nowhere within a thousand miles of Indiana (actually it was shot at the southern end of Central Valley, California, outside of Bakersfield); speaking of which, the geography is too noticeably disingenuous: e.g. during the drunk driving episode there are no cliffs like that on Long Island (it was actually shot at Potrero Valley, Thousand Oaks, CA, and obviously so). Still, there’s enough good here to enjoy if you favor Hitchcock & the cast and don’t mind quaint movies. The film runs 2 hours, 15 minutes (unnecessarily overlong). GRADE: B-/C+
Not one time did I think “This is good enough to deserve being on his (Hitchcock’s) filmography.
Not one time did I think “This is good enough to deserve being on his (Hitchcock’s) filmography.
An agent infiltrating the Nationalist Party in wartime Shanghai finds himself under threat.
Regina meets charming Joshua while vacationing in Martinique, as she contemplates ending her whirlwind marriage to enigmatic Charlie. Upon her return to Paris, she finds that both her apartment and her bank account have been emptied, and her husband has been murdered. The more Reggie learns, the more she realizes the scope of the puzzle which she must solve to protect herself from ever-increasing danger.
A mentally ill man searches New York for his missing eight year old daughter. He recreates her steps each day hoping for some clue to her disappearance, until he meets and befriend a woman with a daughter the same age. Could she help him with the missing piece of the puzzle?
A family's road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked killers pay them a visit to test the family's every limit as they struggle to survive.
After she leaves her cheating husband, Susan Reed embarks on a cross-country road trip where she falls victim to a series of mishaps that land her behind bars in the redneck Macon County Jail. Once inside, she's subjected to endless acts of brutality from the guards and inmates alike. Things go from bad to worse when she's forced to defend herself against a rapist with tragic results. No longer truly "innocent," when the opportunity arises Susan flees with fellow prisoner Coley.
Five young Amish girls accused of being Satan's children must fight for their lives when their devout community elders insist they be "cleansed" before turning 18.
Mercenary John Seeger is one of the best in the business. John and his crew battle some soldiers on Galmoral Island in Southern Africa as they're trying to rescue the French Ambassador - there's a coup going on. Some of John's soldiers unload their machine guns into the Ambassador and his family, blowing the mission and getting his best friend Radio Jones killed. He heads back to the US and visits Radio's wife Shondra to tells her the news, and then promises that he'll take care of her and her son Eddie. But shortly after he makes that vow, Shondra and Eddie get kidnapped.
Now that Santa and Mrs. Claus have the North Pole running smoothly, the Counsel of Legendary Figures has called an emergency meeting on Christmas Eve! The evil Jack Frost has been making trouble, looking to take over the holiday! So he launches a plan to sabotage the toy factory and compel Scott to invoke the little-known Escape Clause and wish he'd never become Santa.
A teacher opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son's elementary school; in it are some chilling predictions - some that have already occurred and others that are about to - that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold.
Death and violence anger twelve year old drug courier Fresh, who sets his employers against each other.
A successful Wall Street trader returns to England with her new husband and five-year-old son, but their new start together turns into a nightmare when they move into a country house which contains a terrible secret.