17
Jul
09

the 50th anniversary of Alfred hitchcocks “North by Northwest”


North by NorthWest was Theatrically released on July 17th, 1959, by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.  If you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Hitchcock, you are most likely very familiar with his work.  Just about every movie that deals with suspense and heavy drama that has been put out in the last 30 years has been inspired in some way by Hitchcock’s legendary style of movie making.  North by Northwest is the story of an average man caught in extraordinary circumstances…the theme of most movies today:  Batman, Ironman, and just about all of Brian DePalma’s films.  No one has yet to equal his brilliance for story telling and incredible visual style.  As composer John Williams is to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Bernard Herrmann was to Alfred Hithcock.  Herrmann’s scores are without a doubt the heart and soul of Hitch’s film.  Next to Goldsmith, Bernard is my next favorite film composer.  Here are some images from the film, and it is one definitely worth watching again, or if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for an incredible tale told through some very imaginative eyes.  No spoilers to take away from the movie, just some great shots to tease and whet your appetite.  Hitch was definitely a fan of beautiful blonde women, and they are prominent in all of his films.  This one is a big favorite followed by Rear Window, Psycho, the Birds, and To catch a Thief.  Lots of fun on a Saturday night but don’t bring a crowd that is high maintenance…Hitch’s films are not short or fast in pace, and they are full of long and important build ups that intricately tell the story.  Keep your eyes open because Hitch has a cameo in most of his films!  So with that, Happy 50th to the cinematic masterpiece, “North by NorthWest”!

the poster

the poster

 

Carry Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason goofing around on set

Carry Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason goofing around on set

 

Hitch's Cameo

Hitch's Cameo

a little case of mistaken identity

a little case of mistaken identity

James mason as the bad guy obscured by hard backlight!

James Mason as the bad guy obscured by hard backlight!

 

 a very young Walter Mathou, Commander Koenig from Space 1999

a very young Martin landau, Commander Koenig from Space 1999

 

completly forbidden to shoot a movie at the United nations building, Hitchcock hid in a van across the street to get this shot of Cary Grant getting out of a cab in front of the building

completly forbidden to shoot a movie at the United nations building, Hitchcock hid in a van across the street to get this shot of Cary Grant getting out of a cab in front of the building

 

the beautiful Eva Marie Saint, who recently played Clark kent's mom in Superman returns

the beautiful Eva Marie Saint, who recently played Clark kent's mom in Superman returns

awesome suspense thru out especially in the corn field scenes

awesome suspense thru out especially in the corn field scenes

 

a great table top miniature set built and filmed at the same location as the live action to perfectly match the light and background, look carefully to the right and you can see where the table ends and reality begins

a great table top miniature set built and filmed at the same location as the live action to perfectly match the light and background, look carefully to the right and you can see where the table ends and reality begins

 

cut to the live action that matches the miniature shot

cut to the live action that matches the miniature shot

more edge of your seat intensity!

more edge of your seat intensity!

 

 a brilliant use of a foreground set piece, matte paintings, and large backdrops

a brilliant use of a foreground set piece, matte paintings, and large backdrops

ahhh such a romantic moment followed by,,,,

ahhh such a romantic moment followed by,,,,

 

the symbolic train going into the tunnel scene!!! Hitch, you ol smoothy!

the symbolic train going into the tunnel scene!!! Hitch, you ol smoothy!

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41 Responses to “the 50th anniversary of Alfred hitchcocks “North by Northwest””


  1. 1 DeanneM
    July 17, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Now I want to watch it again! I have too much on my list to get to it very soon, but I will keep my eye out for it on TCM or AMC. :) Hitchcock is the undisputed master of suspense, and North by Northwest is my favorite of his.

    I don’t particularly care for high maintenance movie watchers in general, and I most certainly won’t watch it with a friend of mine who can’t sit for 10 minutes without popping up for something! I like to have snacks and drinks handy, then settle in for the entertainment. Discussion of the current movie or actors is allowed in moderation; laughter, screaming and clinging are always allowed – Dea’s Movie Rules! HA!! :D

    • 2 DeanneM
      July 17, 2009 at 10:15 am

      I forgot to mention just how great I think the effects are, of course with Hitchcock they had the budget! :) The table top model is fantastic, as is the shot with Rushmore in the background.

    • 3 Matt Wright
      July 17, 2009 at 11:22 am

      Good rules, that’s about how I like my movie watching too.

  2. 5 Mirren Audax
    July 17, 2009 at 10:00 am

    And Mr Grant receives menaces from Robert Ellenstein, the UFP President in ‘The Voyage Home’ in the ‘A little case of mistaken identity’ still – shame on him! Good call on the film front Mr E.; James Mason is unfortuately forgetten about these days, which to me is criminal.

  3. 7 barriesuddery
    July 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

    A brilliant movie. And Mirren Audax is absolutely right about James Mason.

    • 8 johneaves
      July 17, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      James Mason is incredible,, I love his line,, MMMM and he didn’t even use real bullets. loved him in Journey to the center of the Earth too.

  4. July 17, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I watched this just last week, never thinking about the fact that it had an anniversary coming up! I love it, it’s my second favorite Hitch film… #1 being “Rear Window,” which I watch about once a month. I just sometimes want to check back in with all the neighbors and see how everyone is! :)

    But as far as big adventure, twists and locale-hopping, “North” is the best of all his films, that’s for sure.

  5. July 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Um, will you please explain the significance of the train going into the tunnel? I mean, I know it’s speeding madly into the close quarters of the tunnel, but I don’t follow your inference… What do you think Hitch was trying to say there? I just assumed he meant that they were continuing on their train trip and they went through a tunnel. Am I missing something here?

  6. July 17, 2009 at 11:14 am

    In case there’s someone here that isn’t aware of this, watch for a blooper next time in the Rushmore restaurant scene: there’s a kid in the background at a table in the scene where the gun is fired… the kid is covering his ears in anticipation of the gunshot, which he knew was coming!

    • 22 johneaves
      July 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm

      Hey where did that info come from,,, I saw this stuff somewhere!!!! and that is also where I heard the info on the United Nations shot.

      • July 21, 2009 at 6:42 am

        Probably the commentary track on the earlier DVD release that I have. It’s been awhile but I’m sure whoever that was on the track mentioned these things.

  7. July 17, 2009 at 11:36 am

    AH, and IIRC, in the immortal words of Billy Mumy: I hate Alfred Hitchcock.

    Classic film, great score. Bernard Herrmann is actually my favorite film composer. All Hitch’s films are masterpieces of filmmaking. I loved Rope with its one long continuous shot through-out the whole film! It was a gas to see how Hitch used tricks to allow for loading a new roll of film.

    But I digress…, this film is awesome as well, and it has been too long since I have seen it. I own it so I will have to give it another viewing soon, eh.

    AH flame and water miniature effects, the most difficult to pull off due to scale. Nice. I wonder how big that mini-set actually was…

    LLP,
    deg

  8. July 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I am a HUGE Hitchcock fan and this movie is #1 on my list. I will stop whatever I am doing if I catch this on tv, doesn’t matter at what point I catch it either, I’ll watch it til the end. Great cast, Grant is awesome, Eva is soooo beautiful, James Mason made a GREAT bad guy with Martin Landau in tow.

    I’m not a big advocate for remakes, but this one, while well preserved as one of the great movies of the time, has a timeless story that could become a remake. i always imagined George Clooney in Cary Grant’s role and maybe Scarlett Johanson in Eva’s role…that’s just for starters. :)

    • 27 johneaves
      July 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm

      Well done and I think you should start producing it right now!!!! there is a blue ray version supposedly on it’s way!!! After all the digital enhancements I have seen of my old favorites i still like the old laserdisc and early DVD versions the best before they do all the color correction and other enhancing things!

      • 28 Simon Matthew Coles
        July 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm

        One of my favorite movies!

        And amen to the comment about colour correction/enhancement John, I also find most digital “restoration” jobs normally end up making things look WORSE and not better. Take the Star Wars trilogy for example – why did they think it was a good idea to make everyone’s skintones look dayglo? I prefer the Laserdisc masters they released on the “limited edition” DVD – warts and all. I’ll gladly accept a dirtier lower res image over dayglo fleshtones.

  9. 29 the bluesman
    July 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    What? No pics of the gorgeous Lockheed Connie at the airport?

    Man.

    The cool thing about North by Northwest is it still holds up today very well. Just as exciting and thrilling as it was back then.

    • 30 johneaves
      July 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm

      I didn’t have time to find the Connie today,, i made the grabs in under 10 mins this morning,,, Haaa!

      • 31 the bluesman
        July 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm

        No problem, I was just kidding.

        I’m a big fan of the Connie, even when she’s on a ramp with the engines at idle.

  10. July 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    A treasured book in my library is the series of interviews Truffaut did with Hitchcock where they spend hours discussing his films. Regarding the confusing nature of North by Northwest, Cary Grant told Hitch, “It’s a terrible script. We’ve already done a third of the picture and I still can’t make head or tail of it.” A great quote from Hitchcock in that same chapter: “The fact is I practice absurdity religiously!”

  11. 34 Josh
    July 18, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I just put it on my netflix…can’t wait to get it and watch it.

  12. July 19, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Love this movie, love the music, the cinematography. It’s really epic. I wonder what a Star Trek movie directed by Hitchcock would be like?

    • 37 johneaves
      July 20, 2009 at 8:46 am

      I have wondered that myself and also what would the Coen Brothers do with a Trek movie!!! I would love to see either of the directors take on Trek!

  13. July 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Just watched this tonight with my lady and a botte of merlot. She hadn’t seen it before and loved it. Interesting that Cary Grant seemed confused by the script Heller Crouch… appropriate considering his role in the story and may well have helped hs performance!

    …The comedian Eddie Izzard form my shores (England) is a fan of the movie and does a brilliant James Mason impersonation as his voice for God ( in his stand up routines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60T_6ubNFp4 ) incidentally.

    And who can help but fall in love with Eva Marie Saint in this movie?

  14. 40 Matt Wright
    July 20, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Just saw that “North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Edition” is coming to Blu-ray 11/3/2009, it should be a gorgeous classic movie for high definiton :)

    It’s being released on Warner’s cool collectable DigiBook edition which includes a book about the production, and stars of the movie.

    http://www.homemediamagazine.com/product-news/north-northwest-hit-blu-ray-nov-3-16388

    North by Northwest made such an impact, that only 3 years later the plane chase through a field was done by the James Bond crew in From Russia With Love (which also looks amazing newly restored on Blu-ray).

  15. July 21, 2009 at 3:36 am

    This has always been my favorite Hitchcock movie. There’s no better movie for present-day directors to learn how to create suspense without resorting to rapid-fire editing, shaking cameras or similar crap.


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