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3/9/11

NORTH BY NORTHWEST - REVIEW

 
Alfred Hitchcock's lighthearted thriller may not always be number one in people's top Hitch-lists and it may have been overshadowed by more sinister and daring efforts like Psycho or Vertigo but North by Northwest was never meant to be anything more than good, suspenseful fun. Which it is.

Cary Grant is wittier than ever in a role which sees him being constantly bewildered, drink driving, pursued by a plane, hanging off Mount Rushmore and causing a ruckus at a sales auction. But throughout, he never seems to take things too seriously and takes it all in its stride as we sit back and enjoy the Bond-style adventure he's been forced into.

The film contains all the classic tongue-in-cheek Hitchcock traits: an unsympathetic mother, a tortured blonde love interest, a case of mistaken identity and, of course, suspense by the buckets. The final jump cut and joke right at the end cheekily reminding you one last time that North By Northwest is indeed mostly a fun, silly action comedy and requires viewers with a sense of humour.

Eva Marie Saint makes a perfect love interest and the pairing of James Mason with Martin Landau as the bad guys is obviously inspired. It is Cary Grant who constantly steals the show, though, by simply being very funny and really entertaining throughout.

This is Hitchcock at his fastest and funniest and North by Northwest remains a must-see to this day. It's easy to see how the film paved the way for countless spy movies and TV series after that: a classic.

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