Cary Grant has never seemed so desperate. The core of Hitchcock’s North By Northwest is in the storytelling and believability. The suave veneer of Roger O. Thornhill New York ad executive gradually disintegrates as his life spirals out of control. The gradual dissolution of Roger O. Thornhill twists from crisis to recovery back into crisis as he spirals downward into the nightmarish world of international spies.
The whirlpool of intrigue in this spy story is wholly outside the control of Thornhill. A simple case of mistaken identity is all that it takes to tear his life apart. Hitchcock’s legendary skill as a director and story teller is obvious in North By Northwest. North By Northwest is one of Hitchcock’s most entertaining movies it is as close to being flawless as a big budget multithreaded movie can get. Camera work, cinematography, special effect, North By Northwest has it all in spades. The steam between Grant and Eva Marie Saint practically steams up the screen. James Mason as Philip Vandamnm plays his role as the evil spy to an absolute T with suave sophistication and mannered brutality. Martin Landau as the henchman Leonard is an intriguing character with one of the best lines in the movie: “Call it my woman’s intuition.” In the context of a movie filmed in 1959 such an overt statement of an character’s homosexuality was unprecedented.
The DVD edition form Warner Home Video has crisp sound and excellent video quality. Nothing seems to have been lost in the transition from film to the small screen. The menus on the DVD are easy to navigate in part because there are so few features. There is a great little featurette starring Eva Marie Saint which looks into the behind the scenes intrigue that went on as Hitchcock duped the studio into making North By Northwest after he had committed to making something else entirely. There are a ton of interesting facts and tidbits including some goofs that add to the appeal of the featurette. Another nice little addition to the extras is the inclusion of a commercial for North By Northwest starring Alfred Hitchcock himself.North By Northwest is a worth addition to any DVD library.