19 August 2012 | Doylenf
Interesting documentary on the making of one of Hitch's greatest films...
Any fan of this Alfred Hitchcock film should find this documentary narrated by Eva Marie Saint to be highly entertaining and informative about the behind-the-scenes data on the making of NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
Hitchcock's close association with writer Ernest Lehman explains why two of Hitch's ideas for a film gave Lehman the concept chosen for doing the screenplay of NBN. First ingredient: The United Nations with a diplomat making a speech; second, people scampering around Mount Rushmore for the climax.
Those set pieces, not to mention the cornfield scene, are given further details by Miss Saint who goes through the whole process of how scenes were storyboarded and then filmed pretty much the way Hitchcock had visualized them.
Apparently, it was a happy crew, with everyone enjoying their work on a Hitchcock film--even Martin Landau, who admitted being left out of a conversation when the director whispered directions to James Mason, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint for the auction scene but failed to tell Landau anything. The director assured the upcoming actor that he was doing just fine and didn't need any special directions.
The film's popularity was assured from the moment it premiered at Radio City Music Hall and it has been an audience favorite (as Hitchcock intended) from the start, using a variety of elements that derive from all of his most popular movies.
Interesting tidbit: the role of Roger Thornhill had originally been planned for James Stewart until Hitchcock decided Cary Grant would be a better choice. And Cyd Charisse was originally suggested by MGM for the Eva Marie Saint role, but Hitchcock's preference for blonde female leads was obviously a decision that favored Miss Saint.
And as Miss Saint observes, it "wouldn't be the same film without Bernard Herrmann's brilliant score."