Friday, August 9, 2013


Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant month (Post 5 of 14)

North by Northwest

“You listen to me. I’m an advertising man, not a red herring. I’ve got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives, and several bartenders dependent on me-and I don’t intend not to disappoint them by getting myself killed!”

This Alfred Hitchcock tale of an advertising man (Mr. Cary Grant) was definitely a challenge the first time I saw it (If I can remember that far back) keeping up with all the twists and turns of the plot. Luckily, several viewings later (even when you know what’s going to happen) it’s still fun to watch the events unfold. You can watch it and say to yourself or annoy the person sitting next to you that hasn't seen it by saying out loud: Here's the scene where they get him drunk! Here's the auction scene! Here's the UN scene! Here's the train scene! Here's the Mount Rushmore scene! Here's the scene where the kid extra puts his fingers in his ears before the shot from Eva Marie Saint's gun goes off and neither Hitchcock, the editors or the studio caught it!

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, so maybe critic Richard Thompson is right. Grant might just be the most important star in film history.

Oscar note: The noteworthy screenplay by Ernest Lehman went up against Ingmar Bergman for Wild Strawberries and Francois Truffaut for The 400 Blows for the 1959 Academy Award and they all lost out to the screenplay for... Pillow Talk. Pillow Talk? The Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie? Really? I demand a recount.

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