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North by Northwest

North by Northwest was made in 1958 and released in 1959.

Cast

Cary Grant... Roger O. Thornhill
Eva Marie Saint... Eve Kendall
James Mason... Phillip Vandamm
Jessie Royce Landis... Clara Thornhill
Leo G. Carroll... The Professor
Josephine Hutchinson... Mrs. Townsend
Philip Ober... Lester Townsend
Martin Landau... Leonard
Adam Williams... Valerian
Edward Platt... Victor Larrabee
Robert Ellenstein... Licht
Les Tremayne... Auctioneer
Philip Coolidge... Dr. Cross
Patrick McVey... Sergeant Flamm - Chicago Policeman
Edward Binns... Captain Junket
Ken Lynch... Charley - Chicago Policeman

The Wrong Man Motif

In many Hitchcock movies an innocent man is escaping from the police (and often also the bad guys).

 

North by Northwest (1959) titles

Hitchcock Titles North by Northwest Hitchcock Titles North by Northwest Hitchcock Titles North by Northwest

The opening credits were created by Saul Bass. He also designed the titles for Vertigo and Psycho.

High angle shots: Examples from North by Northwest

"This matter is best disposed of from a great height - over water." (Referring to killing Eve Kendall by throwing her off an aeroplane.)

Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is is given the opportunity to at least surviving the evening.

Roger O. Thornhill is running to a cab after Mr. Townsend was killed in the U.N. building.

"Goodbye, Mr. Thornhill - wherever you are." (The FBI agents knows that the innocent man Roger O. Thornhill will face his death soon.)

 

MacGuffin

Hitchcock explaining to Truffaut what the MacGuffin is: "It's the device, the gimmick, if you will, or the papers the spies are after. [...] the "MacGuffin" is the term we use to cover all that sort of thing: to steal plans or documents, or discover a secret, it doesn't matter what it is. And the logicians are wrong in trying to figure out the truth of a MacGuffin, since it's beside the point. The only thing that really matters is that in the picture the plans, documents, or secrets must seem to be of vital importance to the characters. To me, the narrator, they're of no importance whatever.

Hichcock Films with a MacGuffin

 

Leo Gratten Carroll appeared in the following Hitchcock movies

Suspicion (1941) Captain Melbeck
The Paradine Case (1947) Council for the Prosecution
Rebecca (1940) Dr Baker
Spellbound (1945) Dr Murchison
Strangers on a Train (1951) Senator Morton
North by Northwest (1959) The Professor

 

   

"I wanted once to do a scene, for North By Northwest by the way, and I couldn't get it in there. I wanted it to be in Detroit, and two men walking along in front of an assembly line. And behind them you see the automobile being put together. It starts with a frame, and you just take the camera along, the two men are talking. And you know all those cars are eventually driven off the line, they load them with gas and everything. And one of the men goes forward, mind you you've seen a car from nothing, just a frame, opens the door and a dead body falls out."
Alfred Hitchcock

 

 

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Web editor: Per-Erik Skramstad