A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
Madison Avenue advertising man Roger Thornhill finds himself thrust into the world of spies when he is mistaken for a man by the name of George Kaplan. Foreign spy Philip Vandamm and his henchman Leonard try to eliminate him but when Thornhill tries to make sense of the case, he is framed for murder. Now on the run from the police, he manages to board the 20th Century Limited bound for Chicago where he meets a beautiful blond, Eve Kendall, who helps him to evade the authorities. His world is turned upside down yet again when he learns that Eve isn't the innocent bystander he thought she was. Not all is as it seems however, leading to a dramatic rescue and escape at the top of Mt. Rushmore. Written by
James Stewart was very interested in starring in this movie, begging Alfred Hitchcock to let him play Thornhill. Hitchcock claimed that Vertigo (1958)'s lack of financial success was because Stewart "looked too old". MGM wanted Gregory Peck, but Hitchcock instead cast Cary Grant, who, ironically, was actually 4 years Stewart's senior. See more »
When Cary Grant leaves the train in Chicago, the Redcap uniform he is wearing is a perfect fit (if anything with the sleeves a little long). Yet when you see the man he got the uniform from, he is a very short little man whose clothes would never fit Grant, who of course is very tall. See more »
From The Master of Suspense Came the Daddy of the Modern Adventure Thrillers
Many feel this is Alfred Hitchcock's greatest American movie, and I agree! NORTH BY NORTHWEST is the Hitchcock film to end all Hitch films, with all his pet themes covered with maximum wit, panache, and suspense, as well as a romance between Cary Grant and a soignée Eva Marie Saint that's as tender as it is sexy. Grant has never been more engaging and dashing (literally and figuratively :-), though the smoothly villainous James Mason nearly out-suaves him. My husband and I have joked that if Mason had played Thornhill, the film would have been over in mere moments. With all due respect to Grant, if the imperious, unshakably confident Mason asked the Glen Cove police, "Do you honestly believe that this happened the way you think it did?" they would immediately reply, "No, sir, you must be right, you're free to go, sorry we bothered you." :-) Also boasts a great early performance by a reptilian young Martin Landau as Mason's possessive henchman, as well as one of Oscar nominee Ernest Lehman's best screenplays (in fact, he borrowed liberally from it for his script for the film version of THE PRIZE starring Paul Newman) and one of Bernard Herrmann's finest scores. Anybody who wants to write or direct a chase thriller should watch NORTH BY NORTHWEST first to see how it's done!
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