North by Northwest (1959)

Not Rated   |    |  Adventure, Mystery, Thriller

North by Northwest (1959) Poster

A hapless New York City advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

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  • Cary Grant and Eva Marie in North by Northwest (1959)
  • Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock in North by Northwest (1959)
  • "North By Northwest," Director Alfred Hitchcock discusses scene with Eva Marie Saint. 1959 MGM
  • Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959)
  • Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959)
  • Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest (1959)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

27 January 2014 | ma-cortes
| Alfred Hitchcock top-notch thriller/comedy embroils a a business man in killing and espionage
Thrilling flick with funny moments , nice acting , spectacular outdoors and fun dialogue . The tale is ordinary Hitchcock fare that plays and preys the senses , as a hapless New York advertising executive , Roger Thornhill, (Gary Grant got $450,000 -a substantial amount for the time - plus a percentage of the gross profits ; though Yul Brynner and William Holden was suggested to play him) is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies (James Mason , Martin Landau) and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive . Grant is chased by both : the patrolmen who think he's a killer and a spy ring who think he is a double agent . He is helped by a gorgeous train passenger named Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint , though the studio wanted Cyd Charisse or Sophia Loren for the female lead, and she wanted to do it, but contractual problems resulted in her having to turn it down for the part , but Hitchcock insisted upon Eva Marie Saint) .

Enjoyable mystery movie involves a bewildered ad-man who hold numerous tricks in order to escape from his captors and being chased cross country . Entertaining suspense movie packs humor , intrigue and ordinary Hitch touches . This agreeable and often hilarious picture from master of suspense has a memorable scene after another and was the only film Alfred Hitchcock made for MGM . Alfred Hitchcock's films have become famous for a number of elements and iconography : vertiginous height , innocent men wrongfully accused , blonde bombshells , voyeurism, long non-dialogue sequences , a matter of mistaken identity etc. This film has these particularities ; furthermore contains a fun intrigue , amusing situations and keeps the action at feverish pitch . Hitch was famous for making his actors follow the script to the word, and in this movie the characters use their dialogue taken from an interesting as well as fun screenplay by Ernest Lehman . Alfred Hitchcock's movies were known for featuring famous landmarks such as Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco convent in ¨Vertigo¨ and the Statue of Liberty in ¨Sabotage¨ . Here includes Mount Rushmore images and now-legendary scenes such as crop-dusting plane sequences and the train station scene that was shot in New York City's Grand Central Terminal .

Alfred Hitchcock couldn't get permission to film inside the UN, so footage was made of the interior of the building using a hidden camera, and the rooms were later recreated on a soundstage . Very good support cast such as James Mason , Martin Landau , Josephine Hutchinson , Les Tremayne as auctioneer and Jessie Royce Landis as mummy , though she was only 7 years older than Cary Grant, who plays her son . Features two actors who would go on to head spy agencies in their own 1960s television series. Edward Platt would star as "Chief" in ¨Get Smart¨, and Leo G. Carroll would star in ¨The man from U.N.C.L.E . And of course , Alfred Hitchcock cameo , he arrives at a bus stop during the opening credits but gets there a second too late and the door is closed in his face , he misses the bus.

Colorful and glimmer cinematography in Vistavision by Robert Burks , Alfred's ordinary cameraman , showing nice outdoors . Rousing score by Bernard Herrmann , he arranged his whimsical themes from Fandango music. Bernard and Hitch had a long as well as fruitful professional relationship . Rating : 8.5/10 . Essential and indispensable seeing , being perfectly directed by the master himself . Worthwhile watching , one of all-time amusement . Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery"

Metacritic Reviews

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Did You Know?


When Martin Landau first sees Cary Grant, he says, "He's a well-tailored one." All of Landau's suits for this movie were made by Grant's personal tailor.


Phillip Vandamm: What possessed you to come blundering in here like this? Could it be an overpowering interest in art?
Roger Thornhill: Yes, the art of survival.
Eve Kendall: He followed me here from the hotel.
Leonard: He was in your room?
Roger Thornhill: Sure. Isn't everybody?


When Thornhill is writing the message on the matchbook, the message takes up three lines and reads "They're onto / you - I'm in / your room." When Eve opens the matchbook below, the message takes up four lines and reads "They're on to / you / I'm in your / room." The matches also change from being half full to totally full.

Crazy Credits

The Leo the Lion/MGM trademark preceding the credits is on a green field, to match the green field used in the credits proper.

Alternate Versions

The print originally had an acknowledgement for the cooperation of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. But they requested it be removed after MGM violated the agreement that no violence would take place near the Mt. Rushmore monument. Some prints, however, were released with the acknowledgement still in.


I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
Music by
Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Portion sung by Cary Grant (as "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Bourbon") as he's being seated behind the wheel of the Mercedes while drunk


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Adventure | Mystery | Thriller

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