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
In numerous interviews, Martin Landau said that he made a decision on his own to play the character of Leonard as gay and in love with Phillip Vandamm (James Mason). In an October 2012 interview with Devin Faraci, Landau said that he was cast in this movie when Sir Alfred Hitchcock "saw me in a play called 'Middle of the Night', Paddy Chayefsky's first Broadway play, with Edward G. Robinson, which I toured with after the Broadway run. He was there opening night. I played a very macho guy, one hundred eighty degrees from Leonard, who I chose to play as a homosexual, very subtly. Because he wanted to get rid of Eva Marie Saint with such a vengeance. James Mason, to the day he died, he became a friend of mine, the most often asked question of James was whether Vandamm, his character, was bisexual. He said, 'No he wasn't, but Landau made a choice, and there's nothing I can do about it.' I actually caused him some grief. Everyone told me not to do that because it was my first big movie and people would think I was gay. I'm an actor. I said it wasn't going to be my last movie, and it certainly wasn't. I've never played a character like that since. I also felt it was something people would know or not know. It was very subtle. I thought, 'in Boise, Idaho they might not notice.'" Landau also said that after he made the decision to play Leonard as gay, Hitchcock and Screenwriter Ernest Lehman were very supportive of the idea. "Ernie Lehman added a line which was not in the script. 'Call it my woman's intuition' was not in the original script. It was a very daring line for the 1950s. Men didn't say things like that. Hitchcock loved what I did, and left me alone." See more »
When Thornhill is getting dressed at the hospital, as he steps into his pants you can clearly see the belt is already threaded. In the next shot he has the belt in his hands and he threads it through each belt loop. 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 »
The print originally had an acknowledgement for the cooperation of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. But they requested it be removed after MGM violated the agreement that no violence would take place near the Mt. Rushmore monument. Some prints, however, were released with the acknowledgement still in. 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 »
Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" is one of the best films in his long and distinguished career. Part of the success of the movie lies in the screen play by Ernest Lehman, one of the best writers of that era. Also, the haunting music by Mr. Hitchcock's usual collaborator, Bernard Hermann, adds texture to what we are seeing. Together with all the above mentioned qualities, "North by Northwest" was photographed by Robert Burks and was edited by George Tomasini, both men did outstanding jobs to enhance a film that shows a mature and inspired Alfred Hitchcock.
The film works because of the witty dialog Mr. Lehman wrote. This has to be one of the riskiest projects undertaken by Mr. Hitchcock because of the sexiness Eva Kendall exudes throughout the film and the repartee between her and Roger Thornhill. The film mixes adventure and romance that aren't put ons, as one feels what one's watching to be really happening.
Much has been said in this forum as to the values of this classic, so we shall only add our pleasure in seeing this masterpiece any time it turns on cable. In fact, the film hasn't dated, the way some others of the same period have. The highlights of the film are the sequences involving the crop duster, the train ride to Chicago where Eve and Roger first meet, the auction, and the Mount Rushmore climax.
This is one of the best contributions by Cary Grant to any of his work with the director. Roger Thornhill is one of the best roles Mr. Grant played, during his long career. His chemistry with Eva Marie Saint is perfect. This young actress added class and elegance to the picture. James Mason and Martin Landau played villains convincingly. Jesse Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, and the rest of the supporting cast is excellent.
"North by Northwest" is one of Alfred Hitchcock's best crafted films thanks to the brilliant people that came together to work in it.
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