Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another film from the 50s

North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

So being a Hitchcock film, this is a very famous picture and well-known scenes have been parodied in many different media. I'm a big fan of parodies but what makes a parody funny is recognizing the original material. So to that end, I decided to watch this film.

The great thing about North by Northwest is that it is genuinely a good movie. It's not one of those films that you should watch just so you can understood jokes referencing it (e.g. 2001: A Space Odyssey). North by Northwest has an intriguing plot, snappy dialogue, and non-annoying characters. It also has your typical obviously-fake inside-a-car scenes, but given the filming technology of the time we'll let that slide.

So basically, Cary Grant stars as New York City advertising agent, Roger Thornhill. This is starting to sound extremely boring. Luckily he's mistaken for a spy named George Kaplan, kidnapped to a country chateau and subsequently liquored up and placed in a stolen car rolling towards some ocean cliffs. Luckily, Thornhill sees his peril, corrects the car and subsequently proves that you can drink and drive.

After being arrested and held in jail overnight the police begin investigating and this is where the plot becomes intriguing. Thornhill can't find anything to corroborate his story; even his own mother doesn't believe him, which doesn't seem to surprise him. He must be a terrible advertising agent because his kidnappers don't believe he's not Kaplan and the police don't believe he's not a drunken liar. Thornhill wants to find out who the real Kaplan is and in his investigation he is framed for murder and chased onto a train where he makes numerous (and thinly veiled) sexual innuendos with Eva Marie Saint on the way to Chicago.

If I were to remake this movie the only thing I would change would be a scene early on in the movie. In it, an unintroduced group of people are discussing Thornhill's actions around a table. Basically, this scene explains too much, while isn't necessarily bad but in this case it takes away a lot of the intrigue from the rest of the movie. The plot is still good but without that scene, the audience would be much more engrossed in the mystery and all the more surprised as facts are revealed.

1 comment:

  1. I totally missed that table scene. I was still engrossed and surprised. :) And I enjoyed the movie. The intrigue was fantastic...and I have to admit the innuendos made me laugh.