North by Northwest
  • North by Northwest
  • North by Northwest

North by Northwest

4.4 36
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason


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While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad luck to call for a messenger just as a page goes out for a "George Kaplan." From that moment, Thornhill finds that he has stepped into a nightmare -- he is quietly abducted by a pair of armed men out of the hotel's famous OakSee more details below


While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad luck to call for a messenger just as a page goes out for a "George Kaplan." From that moment, Thornhill finds that he has stepped into a nightmare -- he is quietly abducted by a pair of armed men out of the hotel's famous Oak Room and transported to a Long Island estate; there, he is interrogated by a mysterious man (James Mason) who, believing that Roger is George Kaplan, demands to know what he knows about his business and how he has come to acquire this knowledge. Roger, who knows nothing about who any of these people are, can do nothing but deny that he is Kaplan or that he knows what they're talking about. Finally, his captors force a bottle of bourbon into Roger and put him behind the wheel of a car on a dangerous downhill stretch. Through sheer luck and the intervention of a police patrol car and its driver (John Beradino), Roger survives the ride and evades his captors, and is booked for drunk driving. He's unable to persuade the court, the county detectives, or even his own mother (Jesse Royce Landis) of the truth of his story, however -- Thornhill returns with them to the mansion where he was held, only to find any incriminating evidence cleaned up and to learn that the owner of the house is a diplomat, Lester Townsend (Philip Ober), assigned to the United Nations. He backtracks to the hotel to find the room of the real George Kaplan, only to discover that no one at the hotel has ever actually seen the man. With his kidnappers once again pursuing him, Thornhill decides to confront Townsend at the United Nations, only to discover that he knows nothing of the events on Long Island, or his house being occupied -- but before he can learn more, Townsend gets a knife in his back in full view of 50 witnesses who believe that Roger did it. Now on the run from a murder charge, complete with a photograph of him holding the weapon plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the country, Thornhill tries to escape via train -- there he meets the cooly beautiful Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who twice hides him from the police, once spontaneously and a second time in a more calculated rendezvous in her compartment that gets the two of them together romantically, at least for the night. By the next day, he's off following a clue to a remote rural highway, where he is attacked by an armed crop-dusting plane, one of the most famous scenes in Hitchcock's entire film output. Thornhill barely survives, but he does manage to learn that his mysterious tormentor/interrogator is named Phillip Vandamm, and that he goes under the cover of being an art dealer and importer/exporter, and that Eve is in bed with him in every sense of the phrase -- or is she?

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
Who can forget Cary Grant running through a cornfield, menaced from above by a low-flying crop duster? Or Grant and Eva Marie Saint clinging to the stone faces of Mount Rushmore in an attempt to elude a nefarious spy played with suave perfection by the great James Mason? Two of the most visually inventive action scenes ever filmed, they are among the many pleasures to found in North by Northwest one of Hitchcock's very best films. Grant is Roger Thornhill, a New York adman who sets off a chain of exquisitely convoluted and sinister events when he is mistaken for an undercover agent; Saint brings a soulfulness to her role as the elegant, mysterious blonde who wins his heart. Here the master of suspense blends his signature ingredients -- edge-of-the-seat thrills, comedy, and sophisticated romance -- into a sparkling cinematic cocktail that has been much imitated but never matched.
All Movie Guide
Equal parts sly identity crisis, suspenseful cross-continental chase, and cool romance, North by Northwest is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most enjoyable films. Done with the irreverent brand of humor that the director made his trademark, the film balances somewhere between suspense thriller and urbane comedy, its considerable wit both complementing and fueling its intrigue. As memorable for the sexy, sophisticated banter between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint as for the famous crop-dusting sequence or the climactic chase atop Mount Rushmore, North by Northwest is one of those films that inspires any number of readings. Chock-full of phallic references, conspiracy paranoia, Freudian subtext (made particularly apparent in Thornhill's relationship with his mother, who in reality was played by an actress born the same year as Grant), and featuring a token sinister homosexual, watching the movie is like watching an ode to the forces at work against the single, successful white man in Cold War America. As played by the superb Grant, he's a glib, increasingly befuddled man who perfectly represents the film's breezy yet cautionary tone, a playboy and a mama's boy in one charming yet vaguely troubled package. His true identity, Hitchcock seems to be saying, is as open to question as the one he is forced to assume. For her part, Saint put her stamp on the Icy Sex Goddess role as Eve, allowing just the right measure of vulnerability to melt through the character's freeze-dried exterior. She provided an able foil for Grant, easily matching his personal brand of suave charm with her own. Their pairing was one of the most delightful in Hitchcock's films, elegant yet with a delicate tinge of frenzy. Elegant frenzy could describe the film as a whole: stylish and taut, North by Northwest is Hitchcock at his gleeful best.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video

Special Features

Commentary by screenwriter Ernest Lehman; 2009 documentary reveals the Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style; Acclaimed feature-length career profile Cary Grant: A Class Apart; Explore in depth the movie's innovations and influences in North by Northwest: One For the Ages; Vintage 2000 documentary destination Hitchcock: the Making of North by Northwest; Music-only audio track; Stills gallery; Theatrical trailers; TV spot

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant Roger O. Thornhill
Eva Marie Saint Eve Kendall
James Mason Phillip Vandamm
Jesse Royce Landis Clara Thornhill
Leo G. Carroll The Professor
Martin Landau Leonard
Philip Ober Lester Townsend
Josephine Hutchinson "Mrs. Townsend," housekeeper
Adam Williams Valerian
Edward Platt Victor Larrabee
Robert Ellenstein Licht
Les Tremayne Auctioneer
Philip Coolidge Dr. Cross
Patrick McVey Chicago Policeman
Edward Binns Capt. Junket
Malcolm Atterbury Man on Road
Tol Avery Actor
Lucille Curtis Actor
Tom Greenway Detective
Ken Lynch Chicago Policeman
Harvey Stephens Stock Broker
Sid Kane Actor
Olan Soule Assistant Auctioneer
Ned Glass Ticket Seller
Doreen Lang Maggie
Nora Marlowe Anna the Housekeeper
Stanley Adams Lt. Harding
Andy Albin Farmer
Ernest Anderson Porter
Baynes Barron Taxi Driver
Sara Berner Telephone Operator
Taggart Casey Shaving Man
Bill Catching Attendant
Walter Coy Reporter
Jimmy Cross Taxi Driver #1
Patricia Cutts Bit
Jack Daly Steward
John Damler Lieutenant
Lawrence Dobkin Cartoonist
Tommy Farrell Elevator Starter
Jesslyn Fax Woman
Sally Fraser Attendant
Paul Genge Lt. Hagerman
Len Hendry Police Lieutenant
Bobby Johnson Waiter
Madge Kennedy Housewife
Alexander Lockwood Judge Anson B. Flynn
Frank Marlowe Dakota Cab Driver
James McCallion Valet
Maura McGiveney Attendant
Carl Milletaire Clerk
Howard Negley Conductor
Maudie Prickett Plaza Maid
Ralph Reed Bellhop
Harry Seymour Captain of Waiters
Robert Shayne Larry Wade
Helen Spring Bidder
Harry Strang Assistant Conductor
Dale Van Sickel Ranger
Susan Whitney Girl Attendant
Frank Wilcox Weitner
Robert B. Williams Patrolman Waggonner
Carleton Young Fanning Nelson
John Beradino Sgt. Emile Klinger

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director,Producer
Lee Le Blanc Special Effects
Robert F. Boyle Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Robert Burks Cinematographer
Herbert Coleman Associate Producer
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Henry W. Grace Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
William Horning Art Director
Ernest Lehman Screenwriter
Frank R. McKelvey Set Decoration/Design
Franklin E. Milton Sound/Sound Designer
Merrill Pye Art Director
Robert Saunders Asst. Director
George Tomasini Editor
William J. Tuttle Makeup

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