North by Northwest (DVD, 2009, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition) Reviews
Click to see larger image

North by Northwest (DVD, 2009, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition)

46 ratings (41 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
5 stars
32
4 stars
8
3 stars
1
2 stars
1 star
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Where Can I Buy It?

$5.92
+$2.99 shipping eBay
$7.35
Free Shipping eBay
$8.90
Free Shipping eBay

I Like Your Flavor: North by Northwest

Jul 5, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cary Grant, Direction, Story, Score, Supporting cast

Cons:Only a quibble or two - read review

The Bottom Line: The most entertaining Alfred Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest is #24 on the Internet Movie Database list of top films.


North by Northwest (1959)

"War is hell, Mr Thornhill, even if it's a cold one."

North by Northwest seems to be the movie where all Hitchcock's powers as a filmmaker came together. It takes a case of mistaken identity and plays it out across the United States with a high octane mix of action, romance, and comedy that has seldom been equaled.

Cary Grant is Madison Avenue Ad-man Roger O. Thornhill, "the O stands for nothing," he tells the charming and mysterious Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) as they rocket along on the express train from NY to Chicago. Cary is wanted by the law for murder and pursued by foreign agents who kill using innovative methods, but Eve decides to hide him in a very uncharacteristically liberated gesture for 1958.

The DVD includes a very interesting featurette, hosted by Eva Marie Saint, that gives lots of behind the scenes details, for example, screenwriter Ernest Lehman, recalls Hitchcock offering to work with him using funds MGM had given him for another film. "How can we do that," wondered Lehman. "We won't tell MGM," was Hitchcock's answer. Lots of anecdotes like that about Hitch and the rest of the production make for a very memorable viewing for Hitchcock fans and those new to his work.

When they began working together, Hitchcock had a couple of ideas but no main story. In the featurette, writer Ernest Lehman said Hitchcock told him he always wanted to do a scene where the speaker is addressing the United Nations and says he will not continue until the delegate from Peru is awakened, whereupon they check the delegate and find he has been murdered. This and a couple of other ideas were spun until they had a screenplay. This script is the best of any Hitchcock filmed. It's funny how sometimes the impromptu beats the mannered story, but in this case they sure came up with a winner.

So the story is basically a series of set pieces that give Grant an increasingly dangerous environment while always maintaining the threat from the law on the one hand and the foreign agents on the other. There is plenty of spicy banter between Grant and Saint to mesmerize the romance fans, also.

A large part of the reason this movie works out as well as it does is due to the superior performance turned in by Cary Grant. Cary Grant, besides being extraordinarily good looking, was one of the best actors Hollywood ever produced. You can watch him throughout his career and see the brilliant performances he brought spanning from comedy to serious drama. Cary made it look easy, but I don't think he is given a lot of credit for his hard work. Grant is able to take the almost silly dialogue manufactured for him and make it sound brilliant. He goes through the various harrowing stunts without breaking a sweat and his demeanor never descends below unflappable.

The rest of the inputs are stellar, with a great supporting cast including James Mason as the arch villain, and Martin Landau as one of his minions. Leo G. Carroll also plays an important role - and Eva Marie Saint, ably filling the role of Hitchcock's fabled icy blond to a "T." Yes, there is annoying process photography (blue screen) that looks dated, but in this case the performance is so timeless I forgive it. And there are plenty of Hitchcock's unusual camera angles, crane shots, and the like that have been ripped off by the newer generation directors. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the superb understated score by past master Bernard Herrmann.

The DVD is from Warner Bros. It contains the 136 minute color film in 1.66:1 theatrical format. The trailer is another Hitchcock classic monologue that also deserves to be seen.

More Hitchcock -

Rear Window
Vertigo
The Birds
Frenzy


Recommend this product? Yes

Read all comments (4)

Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


1-13 of 13 best deals

NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0

+$2.99 shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
+$2.95 shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
+$3.10 shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
+$2.99 shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
+$2.99 shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. ...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Walmart.com
+$4.97 shipping
1-13 of 13 best deals     Why are these stores listed?