Alfred Hitchcock






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        North by Northwest (1959)
        D V D


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        • Dvd Release Date: 09-04-2001
        • Region: 2 (UK & Europe)
        • Number of Discs: 1

        • Catalogue Number: D065016
        • Studio: Warner Bros



          Considered by many to be the prototypical pure action movie (creating the template for later James Bond and Indiana Jones films), North by Northwest is a cross-country roller-coaster ride with Alfred Hitchcock at the helm.


        North by Northwest is the Alfred Hitchcock classic mixture - suspense, intrigue, comedy, humour. Seldom has the concoction been served up as delectably. Hitchcock uses actual locations - the Plaza in New York, the Ambassador East in Chicago, Grand Central Station, the 20th Century, Limited, United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, Mount Rushmore National Monument, the plains of Indiana. One scene, where the hero is ambushed by an airplane on the flat, sun-baked prairie, is a brilliant use of location and now classic moment in cinema.

        Cary Grant brings technique and charm to the central character. He is a Madison Avenue man-about-Manhattan, sleekly handsome, carelessly twice-divorced, debonair as a cigaret ad. The story gets underway when he's mistaken for a US intelligence agent by a pack of foreign agents headed by James Mason. The complications are staggering but they play like an Olympic version of a three-legged race.

        Grant's problem is to avoid getting knocked off by Mason's gang without tipping them that he is a classic case of the innocent bystander. The case is serious, but Hitchcock's macabre sense of humor and iinstinct for romantic byplay never allows it to stay grim for too long. Suspense is deliberately broken for relief and then skillfully re-established.

        Eva Marie Saint dives headfirst into Mata Hari and shows she can be unexpectedly and thoroughly glamorous. She also manages difficult impression of seeming basically innocent while explaining how she becomes Mason's mistress. Mason, in a rather stock role, is properly forbidding.

        Robert Burks' photography, whether in the hot yellows of the prairie plain, or the soft green of South Dakota forests, is lucid and imaginatively composed. It was the first Metro release in VistaVision. Bernard Hermann's score is a tingling one, particularly in the Mount Rushmore sequences, but light where mood requires.


        North by Northwest is a suspense thriller that finds Cary Grant in the role of Roger Thornhill, a Manhattan advertising executive mistaken for a spy. Considered by many to be the prototypical pure action movie (creating the template for later James Bond and Indiana Jones films), the film is a cross-country roller-coaster ride with Alfred Hitchcock at the helm. The film is duly famous for several classic and indelible scenes, including the desert biplane encounter and the Mt. Rushmore climax. The original title was The Man in Lincoln's Nose, which was replaced by a reference to a line from William Shakespeare's hamlet (in which Hamlet says, "I am but mad north-north-west."). The magical combination of Hitchcock and the debonair Grant--who made four wonderful films together--makes North by Northwest a suspense-filled standout.



          The Master Of Suspense Presents A 3000-Mile Chase Across America!


        When Thornhill finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, the world as he knows it comes to an end. Suddenly danger threatens as the hapless businessman is targeted as an American intelligence agent and set up as a killer. All of Thornhill's attempts to straighten things out only make matters worse--and soon the desperate man is on the run from murderous foreign operatives, the CIA, and the police. The supporting cast, including Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, and Martin Landau, is uniformly excellent.

        The best film ever? Gotta be up there. For sheer entertainment alone it's a class apart.


        Cary Grant teams with Hitchcock for the fourth and final time in this superlative espionage caper judged one of the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films and spruced up with a new digital transfer and remixed Dolby Surround Stereo.

        Grant plays a Manhattan advertising executive plunged into a realm of spy (James Mason) and counterspy (Eva Marie Saint) and variously abducted, framed for murder, chased and, in another signature set piece, crop-dusted. He also holds on for dear life from that famed carved rock (for which back lot sets were used). But don't expect the Master Of Suspense to leave star or audience hanging.


        Trivia:

        Jessie Royce Landis played Thornhill's (Cary Grant's) mother, yet in real life he was only 7 years younger than her (and for many years Jessie stated she was born the same year, 1904, as Grant). As handsome as Grant was, this does look odd in the film, with Landis looking more like a wife than a mother!

        Hitchcock had severe trouble in gaining permission to film in the places he needed to. He was forced to smuggle a concealed camera into the lobby of the United Nations in order to film Cary Grant's arrival. When the press discovered that Hitchcock had asked to shoot footage on the Mount Rushmore National Monument, they were scandalised. One newspaper editor even suggested that Hitchcock should go back to Britain and make a movie about someone climbing over the Queen's face.

        Indeed, the final chase scene was not shot on Mt. Rushmore; after the press outcry there was no way Hitch could gain permission to shoot an attempted murder on a national monument. The scene was shot in the studio on a replica of Mt. Rushmore. Everything is shot carefully, so as to avoid associating the faces of the monument with the violence.

        As the title of the film is North by Northwest, it's interesting to note that Roger Thornhill appears on the left side of the screen for almost the entire movie, usually in the top left of the frame. It has been suggested that the title is a misquote from Hamlet - 'I am mad but north-northwest' - but Hitchcock denied this played any part in the naming of the film. Thornhill's direction of travel is consistently in a northwesterly direction, and he even travels from Chicago to Mount Rushmore on Northwest Airlines.

        While on location, Eva Marie Saint discovered that Cary Grant would charge fans 25 cents for an autograph! Wow! That must be one of the bargains of the century! Today, a genuine Grant signature sells for hundreds of pounds. If you could only go back in time to the making of the movie, you'd spent the whole day around Grant asking him to sign until he can write no more!


        OSCARS:

        • 1959: Nominations:
          Best Original Story & Screenplay, Color Art Direction, Editing


      • Actors:


      • Dir/Prod:
      • Scr:
          Ernest Lehman
      • Ph:
          Robert Burks
      • Ed:
          George Tomasini
      • Mus:
          Bernard Herrmann
      • Art Dir:
          Robert Boyle, William A. Horning


          (M-G-M)


        Dvd Special Features


          Original Theatrical Trailer
          Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North by Northwest, Hosted By Eva Marie Saint (39 minutes)
          Feature-length audio commentary by Screenwriter Ernest Lehman
          TV Spot
          Still Gallery
          Music Only Track DD (2.0) Stereo


        Technical Details


          Certificate: PG
          Year: 1959
          Screen: Widescreen 1.78:1 Anamorphic
          Languages: English ; French - Dolby Digital (5.1)
          Subtitles: Arabic ; Dutch ; English ; English for the hearing impaired ; French ; German ; Italian
          Duration: 2 hours and 10 minutes (approx)
          Region: Region 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.


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      • Price: 5.99 (UK Sterling)
        (Shipped from UK. Still sealed) (Price includes UK postage & packaging. Outside UK please e-mail here with country ordering from for postage quote)

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        ALFRED HITCHCOCK
        North by Northwest (1959) UK Official Blu-ray

        Please Note: This title is in high definition format and needs to be played on a Blu-ray player

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        • Release Date: 16-11-2009
        • Format: BLU-RAY
        • Catalogue Number: 1000102021
        • Label: Warner Bros

      • Enlarge Cover

      • Price: 15.99 (UK Sterling)
        (Shipped from UK. Still sealed) (Price includes UK postage & packaging. Outside UK please e-mail here with country ordering from for postage quote)

      • Payment can also be made to Lenin Imports by cheque, po, money order, international money order, cash by registered mail. Please enclose title of item ordering and return address.

        Address:

          Lenin Imports
          5 High Street
          South Norwood
          London
          SE25 6EP
          United Kingdom


      • Back to Top of Page


        movie poster

      • North by Northwest Posters:
        Repro. worldwide film release posters at affordable prices!


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