Written by Ernest Lehman
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason
In 1958, Alfred Hitchcock, considered by many in the industry to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest filmmaker of all time, released what many would also consider to be one of his greatest films off all time, VERTIGO. In 1960, Hitchcock released PSYCHO, perhaps his most infamous work. In between these two films, Hitchcock released one of his most stylish and ambitious projects, NORTH BY NORTHWEST. And with that, you have a period considered to be the most creative of his entire career.
While Hitchcock is often seen as larger than life, he is but a man, just like the man at the center of NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant). Thornhill, a fast-talking ad man in Manhattan thinks he’s flying high on life until the most mundane of events causes him to be mistaken for a man named Kaplan. From that moment on, he might as well be Kaplan as no one will believe him when he says he isn’t. As Thornhill suffers, ever so dashingly thanks to the debonair Mr. Grant, Hitchcock delights in every moment of it. In turn, his delight becomes ours.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and Warner Bros. has released a newly restored version to commemorate not just this occasion but also Hitchcock’s HD debut. It has been packaged as one of their distinguished Blu-Ray books and the special features will please fans of the film while educating newcomers. There are two brand new behind the scenes features, one about the making of the film and one about the man behind the camera. Screenwriter, Ernest Lehman provides an insightful commentary track and Eva Marie Saint, Grant’s love interest in the film, gives you a first hand account of what it was like on the set. All of these special features and the handful of others I didn’t mention, are nothing in comparison though to the crisp restoration that ensures that NORTH BY NORTHWEST will go on to be appreciated for years to come.
Whether you’re on the edge of your seat during the airplane chase in the cornfield, completely taken with Grant And Saint’s playful exchange on the train or just plain floored by the magnitude of the climax on Mount Rushmore, there is no denying the place NORTH BY NORTHWEST holds in film history. It is iconic; it is memorable; and thanks to the genius that is Alfred Hitchcock, it is both a fine piece of cinema and also one heck of a good chase.
FILM AND BLU-RAY