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49 North by Northwest 1959 
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
After reading the recent fracas between Rob and Ragna, I have to admit that Rob might actually have a bit of a point. We have let ourselves slip a little. Or, at the very least, there's nothing stopping us from holding ourselves to a higher standard. So to do something about it, or at least expurgate my own guilt a little bit, I think I'll make comments on some of the "great movies." Feel free to ignore these, but I'd love to get into a bit of a discussion about some of these.

North By Northwest (1959) ***1/2

You know what my favorite part of this movie is? The spontaneity of it. Why does Roger O. Thornhill get ensnared in a lunatic maze of espionage and hairpin escapes? Because he raised his hand during an animated conversation while someone asked if George Kaplan is in the room. Just a little poor timing for Cary Grant and that sets everything in motion. How audacious and interesting! After that you get the same feeling of wondrous spontaneity: this movie can go anywhere! And boy, does it. Mr. Grant is absolutely charming in the lead, Hitch brings us some great set-pieces, James Mason is delicious in the lead, and the movie is so fun. The only other movie I can think of that has the same level of tongue-in-cheek adventure and enjoyment is Raiders of the Lost Ark.

This may not be the "best" Hitchcock film because it has nothing remotely deep, but hey, sometimes fun is more important than deep.

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Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:32 pm
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
What a delight! So many new posts in this section to read! I agree with Kunz, let's get this thing going.

I also agree with him on North by Northwest. It's one of my favorites from the director even if it doesn't have a shred of depth. Fun is the best word that can be used to describe the film. The set piece on Mt. Rushmore is one of my favorites ever. It's just such a cool idea that works wonderfully in the movie. There's also the technical proficiency Hitch shows in scenes like the airplane chase. You can learn a TON about editing by just watching that scene over and over. It's truly phenomenal stuff.

This would be a 4 star movie for me. I watch it about once a year to remind myself that sometimes movies can just be so damned fun and enjoyable.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:08 am
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
The only other Hitchcock movies that can rival it for "fun" are The 39 Steps (which has some scenes that North by Northwest almost lifts directly) and The Lady Vanishes. But neither of those have Cary Grant and James Mason.

Incidentally, does anyone else enjoy the obvious homosexual nature of the relationship between Mason and Landau?

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Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:07 am
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
JamesKunz wrote:
The only other Hitchcock movies that can rival it for "fun" are The 39 Steps (which has some scenes that North by Northwest almost lifts directly) and The Lady Vanishes. But neither of those have Cary Grant and James Mason.

Incidentally, does anyone else enjoy the obvious homosexual nature of the relationship between Mason and Landau?


I wouldn't say enjoy, but I find the obviously longing glances by Landau in the scenes in the bungalow on top of Mount Rushmore rather amusing. Does anybody know whether Hitchcock had any issues with homosexuality? A lot of his films contain thinly veiled (and mostly evil ) gay characters, like the villain in Stranger on a Train.

The problem with discussing North by Northwest is that there is very little to discuss - it's a masterpiece of entertainment and the best action romantic comedy ever. Has anybody met a person who didn't like North by Northwest?


Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:20 pm
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
Unke wrote:
The problem with discussing North by Northwest is that there is very little to discuss - it's a masterpiece of entertainment and the best action romantic comedy ever.


Indeed. But I picked 4 movies to single out and in the previous three I complained about how overrated they were so I wanted to make it clear that there are some "great movies" that I find delightful

Unke wrote:
Has anybody met a person who didn't like North by Northwest?


Probably that dildo Ken. He's surpassed Ragna as person-most-likely-to-disagree-with-me

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Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:06 pm
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
JamesKunz wrote:
Unke wrote:
The problem with discussing North by Northwest is that there is very little to discuss - it's a masterpiece of entertainment and the best action romantic comedy ever.


Indeed. But I picked 4 movies to single out and in the previous three I complained about how overrated they were so I wanted to make it clear that there are some "great movies" that I find delightful


Nice to see the increased activity. Despite liking most of these I find details tough to discuss without a recent re-watch. As for North by Northwest, it's just plain great. An underrated aspect of the movie is Bernard Herrmann's score. Imho, it's among his top efforts and really complements the movie well.

Some greats shots in this one too. Remember the camera placements as Cary Grant exits the UN building? Top stuff.

This one might not have the complexity of a Vertigo, but I actually prefer it. There's something to be said for a good time.


Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:26 am
Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
ed_metal_head wrote:
This one might not have the complexity of a Vertigo, but I actually prefer it. There's something to be said for a good time.


Speaking of having a good time, you know what else I love about this movie? That final shot of the train going into the tunnel. You get the romance on the train between Grant and St. Marie, and then that image. Hilarious. Cary Grant just got him some of that Eva Marie Saint booty.


Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:57 am
Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
PeachyPete wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
This one might not have the complexity of a Vertigo, but I actually prefer it. There's something to be said for a good time.


Speaking of having a good time, you know what else I love about this movie? That final shot of the train going into the tunnel. You get the romance on the train between Grant and St. Marie, and then that image. Hilarious. Cary Grant just got him some of that Eva Marie Saint booty.


Ha! I remember that. It also reminded me that he sure shot a lot of movies that involved trains. I went to look up how many and found this instead:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Themes_and_plot_devices_in_the_films_of_Alfred_Hitchcock

The URL should be self-explanatory. Nice read.


Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:39 pm
Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
I'm seeing this tonight for the first time in a long, long time. Very excited, oh yes... I didn't realize that the movie was rooted in mistaken identity until I read that first post. Crazy! I must have been 8 or 9 when I saw it.


Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:22 pm
Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
majoraphasia wrote:
I must have been 8 or 9 when I saw it.


You must have parents with movie taste. At that age I was probably looking at Double Impact.


Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:21 pm
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
ed_metal_head wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
I must have been 8 or 9 when I saw it.


You must have parents with movie taste. At that age I was probably looking at Double Impact.


Poor guy. My Dad carefully planned my cinematic education, beginning with animated films, transitioning to live action with things that were cartoon-like (e.g. Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and then getting more serious. Of course there were some lapses, like when he thought I was ready for Silence of the Lambs at age 8

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Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:35 pm
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
ed_metal_head wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
I must have been 8 or 9 when I saw it.


You must have parents with movie taste. At that age I was probably looking at Double Impact.


You've understandably mistaken "Was On Television" for "Parents Had Good Taste".


Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:33 am
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
Unke wrote:
I wouldn't say enjoy, but I find the obviously longing glances by Landau in the scenes in the bungalow on top of Mount Rushmore rather amusing. Does anybody know whether Hitchcock had any issues with homosexuality? A lot of his films contain thinly veiled (and mostly evil ) gay characters, like the villain in Stranger on a Train.


I'm pretty sure that in Strangers on a Train it comes straight from the Patricia Highsmith novel. She also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley who has similar undertones.

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Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:06 pm
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Post Re: 49 North by Northwest 1959
I watched this last night because of this thread. It's still just as fun as it always was. That cropduster scene is one of the most well put together sequences in movie history. It amazes me everytime how purposeful and necessary each shot is to the whole thing.

I'm with ed on the score, too. It's perfect for the feel of the movie.

The movie has no real point or statement to make, but it's so fun and well crafted that it's really tough for me to find flaw with any of it. Everything about the film works. That's rare for any film, and especially rare in the action/adventure romantic comedy subgenre.


Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:15 am
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