One of the best of Hitchcock (although as far as his films go, Hitch probably has the best track record of any director living or dead). This film is basically the original “Fugitive” and follows pretty closely the plot to his “The 39 Steps” from 1935 – a man is mistaken for a CIA agent and is caught in a “deadly game of cat and mouse,” as it were. I LOVE the music and the visuals that start out the film – it makes me wish I had been alive to see it in a movie theater in the 50′s. And although this film is over 2 hours long, there’s no way you can be bored – the suspense is so intense you’ll be chewing your nails the whole time (I did the first time I saw it). Cary Grant is excellent as always, James Mason plays one of the most sinister of Hitchcock’s villains (I would LOVE to have this guy’s voice) and Eva Marie Saint looks gorgeous and plays her part well. I also enjoyed seeing Martin Landau in an early role as one of James Mason’s henchmen and Jessie Royce Landis (the mother from “To Catch a Thief”) as Grant’s mother (although both were very near the same age at the time). And I love any film score by Bernard Herrmann – this guy should have had a mantle covered with awards, but as luck would have it, most of his scores went not only un-awarded but un-nominated (as this one did). By all means, if you don’t own it, pick it up today – and by the way, good job for FINALLY releasing it on DVD, MGM.
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With this film, Alfred Hitchcock set out to top himself and get back on top after the failure of VERTIGO; he did just that. NORTH BY NORTHWEST is automatically a classic with the acting by Cary Grant (his fourth and final film with Hitchcock), Eva Maria Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll (another one of Hithcock’s favorites), and young Martin Landau (in his film debut), the amazing set pieces (the UN murder, the cropduster sequence, and the climax atop Mt. Rushmore), Bernard Hermann’s music score, and the classic work of the camera by the Master of Suspense. But this DVD’s extras really add to the film. It includes a documentary hosted by Saint (“Destination Hitchcock,” not “The Man in Lincoln’s Nose” as listed on this site), an audio commentary by screenwriter Ernest Lehman, two theatrical trailers (a standard trailer and one featuring Hitchcock), a TV Spot, an isolated music audio track and the film itself remastered in Dolby 5.1 Audio and 1.66:1 widescreen anamorphic format. The only problem is it comes in a snap case like all Warners DVDs, not allowing a booklet with production notes. But this DVD is a must buy, especially if you’re a fan of Hitch. It’s also a note of interest for 007 fans (like myself). This film brought about spy thrillers and you should compare the cropduster sequence in this film to the helicopter sequence in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.
Definitive Hitch! Everything about this film says Hitch. The musical score(Bernard Hermann) spells trouble even in the opening credits,the camera angles are signature, his favorite actors(Cary Grant Eva Marie Saint, Leo G. Carroll),and the edge of your seat story. All the things we love.It gets better though, if it weren’t for the style of clothes and cars, you would think this film was made yesterday. Warner Bros. has made a beautiful transfer of this 1959 classic, “North by Northwest”, onto DVD. A little of the story though for those who have not seen it(not too much though,don’t want to spoil anything for you). It’s a case of mistaken identity. Grant’s. He is taken for a goverment agent by some counterspies, abducted, framed for murder and nobody believes his story. He goes on the run from the police as well as the thugs.While on the run he meets the beautiful Eva Marie Saint and sparks fly between them. (Anytime there is romance in a Hitch film you do not need an R rating to feel the passion!)So what’s her part in all this? Why isn’t the goverment helping him? Is he being crossed?Doublecrossed? Maybe even triple crossed? Find out as the thrilling chase goes from New York to South Dakota. And check out all the great scenery and landmarks along the way, as Cary travels by train,is chased by a plane(very scary stuff)and ends up atop of Mount Rushmore. It’s one of Director Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest thrillers.Grant,Saint, and Carroll, well, they shine as usual.And along for the ride also thrilling us are James Mason and a young Martin Landau. There’s also Jessie Royce Landis as Grant’s mother who’s wit matches his quip for quip. She’s great. Now back to the DVD. It should be the poster child for why we love DVDs now. I have never seen this film look so good. Picture sharp, widescreen(matted) gives us great views, and the soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 is amazing for a film of this age.It’s a film to be watched over and over(and now that it’s on DVD you don’t have to worry about it wearing out!)If you can’t get enough there’s several features, the making of,audio commentary,still gallery,audio only if you want to hear just the score,trailers, and subtitles.Hitch fans..you’ll love it. Oh by the way…do you know where Hitch makes his cameo appearance in this one? Of course you do, but just in case…don’t miss the first 5 minutes.Goot Eeeevening…and have fun……Laurie