This week’s film is another that is regarded as one of Hitchcock’s best and I have to admit it is the most typically Hitchcock film that I have watched in this challenge. Whereas last weeks Vertigo was a combination of all Hitchcock’s experimental aspects North by Northwest is a mix of the most mainstream; and this is by no means a bad thing. 

WHAT HAPPENED?

When Roger O. Thornill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for an American spy by a group of mobsters; he is forced to go on a run across America whilst being pursued by both sides of the law.

THE GOOD

The story is a strong one (albeit a little obvious at times) that constantly keeps the audience guessing as to what will happen next and whom Grant should trust. An ending with several twists is also extremely intriguing and unpredictable with the chain of events being both dramatic and cleverly thought out. 

The film has several very Hitchcockian features within it; the most obvious being the narrative of a wrong man being accused and the use of a high place or famous landmark (in the case both) for the climax of the film. The climax of this film takes place upon the top of Mount Rushmore and is brilliantly done with real danger being created with the use of camera trickery.

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The famous dustcropper scene is astounding both as part of the film and a standalone film. The tension which is built up through the use of long takes and clever sound mixing is truly incredible.

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THE BAD

This film has several moments, which look extremely dated compared to other Hitchcock films. This is namely due to the special effects during several scenes such as car chase near the start; the use of a projected background looks very comical compared to the car chases which can be seen in more recent films. Although this isn’t a major problem it really takes one out of the film and ruins the impact of the scene.

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The film also suffers from a problem that it lacks originality in the way it is shot and how certain action sequences play out. I believe this would not be an issue if the viewer was a Hitchcock novice but visiting this film after watching say The 39 Steps or Sabotage it felt as if Hitchcock was simply recreating things that he new audiences would like – this is most likely due to his fear the film would be a box office flop after the failed experiments of Vertigo.

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitch makes a cameo right at the start of this film, narrowly missing a bus.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

North by Northwest is a good film, no doubt; but after watching I was left unsure why it was considered a Hitchcock classic; it is a great example of the Hitchcockian style however lacks the originality of any of his other films. Therefore I award this film 4 Hitch’s.

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