Must-See Cinema! Hitchcock takes us on another thrill ride!
Hitchcock’s favourite two actors were Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, possibly because both embodied ordinary-guy niceness that Hitch could threaten with extraordinary peril. In North By Northwest, Grant plays just your average swell guy, an ad man from New York, who is mistaken for a good guy by the bad guys, and for a bad guy by the good guys.
His pursuit of the truth, while he himself is pursued (by seemingly everyone!), is a common Hitchcock technique to double the suspense. But nowhere does it work as well as here, with such bravura scenes as the cornfield race against the menacing biplane, and the ultimate cliffhanger at Rushmore leading the thrill parade. And as an extra treat, Hitchcock serves up the igniting relationship between Grant and Eva Maire Saint with more sexual heat than most Hollywood directors of the day would dare (sure, it seems tame to us, but we’re talking about 1959).
Armchair film students take note: we think no-one has ever satisfyingly ended a movie, from climax to credits, faster than Hitchcock has here. Any suggestions?
– Bruce White, ByTowne Guide
p.s. The original 1959 trailer embedded below features Alfred Hitchcock giving you his sales pitch for the film, definitely worth clicking on.