Michael of Screenkicker! joins us today in this huge Alfred Hitchcock Blogatathon. Michael managed to pull one of Hitch’s last few, probably a stronger pick seeing how the older films went. Irrespective of, Michael runs a pretty cool blog that you should get to checking, chock full of crazy Irish ramblings and reviews.
My favourite thing about Alfred Hitchcock is that he could make any genre of film you could think of and make it great. Suspense, horror, romance, silent film, comedy and in the movie i’m writing about – action. North By Northwest is Hitchcock directing a big ballsy action flick and it stands up against any of his other masterpieces.
North By Northwest is about a man who is mistakenly identified by proper bad dudes who then chase him to claim a microfilm they think he has. It might sound simple but lookout for twists and turns in classic Hitchcock style. The man is named Roger O. Thornhill and he’s played by Cary Grant. It’s telling how charming Grant is that he manages to make an advertising executive likeable. Cary Grant is the epitome of style as he portrays a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You can tell North By Northwest is a Hitchcock film due to a number of stylistic choices that are familiar to fans of his films. We have Eva Saint-Marie as a super hot platinum blonde mystery woman, we have a suave hero, and we have the obligatory Alfred Hitchcock cameo near the start. But this is primarily an action movie. Even if you’ve never seen it you probably know a lot of scenes from it due to all the homages and parodies over the years. The exhilarating chase scene with Thornhill being attacked by a crop duster is an iconic showdown that never loses its thrill.
North By Northwest is an example of a director given free reign to make the film he wants. Budget isn’t a concern as he throws huge set-pieces into the mix climaxing with a thrilling showdown on Mount Rushmore. The film was once described as ‘the first James Bond film’ a claim which is obvious from the cool leading man to the exotic locations and chilling bad guy played by the legendary James Mason.
If you haven’t seen North By Northwest then you need to remedy that quick-smart as this is Hitchcock at his most playful and populist. Watch as he lays down the template for Bond, Bourne, Reacher and any other action hero that has to look out for himself.