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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

North By Northwest (1959)

An advertising executive (Cary Grant) is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity. A foreign agent (James Mason) assumes him to be a spy but when Grant denies this, Mason orders him killed in a driving "accident". He manages to escape but the authorities don't believe his story and he finds himself reluctantly over his head in a game of espionage of which he has no control. What can one say about NORTH BY NORTHWEST that hasn't already been said? One of the most entertaining chase movies ever made, it's such a dizzily inventive thriller that one can easily forgive Alfred Hitchcock's implausible over embellished narrative. The epitome of the term "Hitchcockian", the film contains the usual Hitchcock scenario: the falsely accused innocent man, the cool blonde (Eva Marie Saint in a rare glamorous role) and some of the greatest set pieces in his entire filmography. Notably, the classic crop dusting sequence, the breathtaking chase on the face of Mount Rushmore and the impudent Freudian last shot. As close as one can get to sheer perfection without actually being perfect. The witty Oscar nominated screenplay is by Ernest Lehman and there's a dynamic score by Bernard Herrmann. With Martin Landau, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Josephine Hutchinson, Philip Ober and Edward Platt.

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