Saturday, March 13, 2010

#69 North By Northwest: Assault with a gun and a bourbon and a sports car

1959. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau.

Seen it before? Yes.

One of Hitchcock's best-known movies. I'm sure everyone has seen it, or is at least familiar with the most famous scenes (like the plane in the cornfield, or the chase atop Mt. Rushmore).

Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, a Madison Avenue avenue ad exec who gets caught up in a whirlwind of murder and espionage due to a case of mistaken identity. See, he's out for drinks, and somebody thinks he's this guy George Kaplan, and so these guys (James Mason as the villainous Mr. Vandamm, and his various lackeys, one of was played by a young Martin Landau) kidnap him to try to see what he knows. He of course knows nothing, so they try to kill him, in the dumbest way possible: get him really drunk, then put him behind the wheel of a car. Needless to say the plan fails, and he merely gets arrested, and spends the night in the drunk tank. So at this point he could have just walked away, and I wonder why he didn't. But I guess then the movie would be over...

Anyway I don't want to say too much more because that would ruin the surprise. Oh yes, there's the obligatory love interest played by Eva Marie Saint. You know, I don't care how good looking someone is - if I was on the run from shadowy forces who were trying to kill me, and some woman I just met told me to go to some bus stop in the middle of nowhere, I don't think I would trust her. I mean, come on. How stupid are you?

Position on the list: 32
Hitchcock's cameo: Right at the end of the credits... he tries to get on a bus... you can't miss it.

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