Homage to Hitchcock - North By Northwest (1959)
For those of you tired of seeing me write “Grace Kelly,” you’ll be happy to know she is NOT the leading lady in North By Northwest.
Which is too bad, because as much as I admire Eva Marie Saint, she, like Doris Day, Vera Miles, and Shirley MacLaine, comes up short as a leading lady in their Hitchcock feature of the same time period. Only Kim Novak in Vertigo would come close.
And yes for those of you paying attention, I’ve gone out of order here. I wanted to get to NxNW because it is my favorite Hitchcock movie. Since I’m the author, I get to skip a couple films in my homage. I promise you, given that Hitch’s 50′s oeuvre is so consistently brilliant (even his mediocre movies are great), you won’t lose anything to the anachronism of the blogs.
To the movie.
Cannot tout this film enough. As the wrong man, Roger Thornhill, Cary Grant’s star turn may be his professional shining moment. James Mason is just so damned dignified as Vandamm (Okay, the name is corny). And Martin Landau as the greatest single named performer (Just Leonard, thank you) until Madonna comes along 20 years later, is so creepy, he gives sexual deviants a good name.
And the CHASE! From Manhattan to Chicago to The Corn Field to Mount Rushmore. James Mason chases the elusive ‘George Kaplan.’ Cary Grant chases the stacked Eva Marie. Martin Landau chases a good therapist.
And in the background lurks the director of the CIA, played so wonderfully by Leo G. Carroll, that you just want to take him out of the movie; unscrew the top of his head; and find out what’s going on in there.
It all leads to a fab finish on the nose (or is it the forehead?) of George, Abe, Tom, or Teddy. Several reprehensible scum fall to their death. And somehow or other Eva Marie decides to marry the twice-divorced Roger Thornhill.
Or is it George Kaplan?
Figure it out for yourself.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) as we go back in time.