Friday, May 6, 2011

Capsule Review: North by Northwest (1959)

Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's most entertaining film, North By Northwest is an absolute juggernaut, matching a wonderfully witty script by Ernest Lehman with an impossibly charismatic Cary Grant in the lead. While lacking some of the more interesting psychological elements of Hitchcock's previous film Vertigo, here the action and adventure have been ratcheted up immensely, with Grant's famous crop-duster encounter and the climax on Mount Rushmore (which has aged surprisingly well) just two of the many memorable set pieces on display. Combine with an outstanding Bernard Herrmann score and a great opening credits sequence by Saul Bass, and you have a film that is nearly impossible not to like. Memorable supporting turns by Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and (particularly) a creepy Martin Landau complete the picture, but it's Hitchcock's sure hand that makes this mistaken-identity spy picture really sizzle - bringing to mind some of the better early James Bond entries. Absolutely essential.


Squish said...

I've seen 50 of Hitchcock's films and this one is certainly top 10 for sure

Movie Guy Steve said...

Top 10? In my humble opinion, it's the greatest movie ever made.