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 »
Thornhill's cuff links in the Oak Room bar differ from all other scenes where he's still in that same suit. See more »
Now, what can a man do with his clothes off for twenty minutes? Couldn't he have taken an hour?
You could always take a cold shower.
See more »
The Leo the Lion/MGM trademark preceding the credits is on a green field, to match the green field used in the credits proper. See more »
I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Portion sung by Cary Grant (as "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Bourbon") as he's being seated behind the wheel of the Mercedes while drunk See more »
Cary Grant handles the twisted expressions of his face, his astonished look, his impulsive smile with professional self-assurance and charm while taking us right in the middle of confusion on a breathless 2000-mile cross-country chase which has its gripping showdown across the giant faces of the presidents sculptured on Mount Rushmore high above Rapid City, South Dakota
Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a stylish publicist, mistaken for a fictitious Federal agent, plunged into a world of crime and intrigue, hunted down by villains who want to eliminate him because he seems to be on their dishonest dealings
When questioned by bland Phillip Vandamm (James Mason), Thornhill is unable to convince him that he is a victim of a mistaken identity His three thugs fill him with bourbon, and place him in a stolen car expecting him to have a drunken accident After narrowly escaping death, no one believes his story including, obviously, his skeptical mother (Jessie Royce Landis).
In an effort to discover the agent he is being confused with, and using the clues he collected, Thornhill returns to the United Nations Headquarter looking for George Kaplan There, somebody falls into his arms and unthinkingly, Thornhill draws the blade out of the victim's back and is photographed holding the weapon in mid-air And thus became a fugitive from justice, pursued by the cops and had to skip by boarding a train to Chicago
While on the run, he is caught by a provocative platinum blonde (Eva Marie Saint), who comes out as a glamorous woman and a delightful charmer
James Mason, a polished mastermind spy showed too well to be threatening... His menacing henchman, Martin Landau is also convincingly hurtful...
In his fifth Hitchcock picture, Leo G. Carroll is suave and calm as the devoted intelligence chief
Directed by a genius behind the camera, "North By Northwest" remains a genuinely exciting film for the dangerous world of spies and counterspies
28 of 43 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?