North by Northwest

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Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

USA 1959 | Colour | 136 mins | Cert PG | Drama | Hollywood Classics | Thriller

Cast: Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G Carroll, Martin Landau

Arguably Hitchcock’s most consistently entertaining movie, this romantic thriller (now 50 years young!) comprises many of his most memorably virtuoso set-pieces.

Thanks simply to a paging announcement in a hotel lobby, New York advertising man Roger O Thornhill finds himself the victim of a catastrophic case of mistaken identity; to clear his name – and stay alive – he suddenly has to leave town, first for Chicago, then on to South Dakota. En route, protection from his pursuers is provided by the evocatively named Eve… 

A masterpiece of the picaresque, famous for superb scenes set in locations suggestive either of claustrophobia or of agoraphobia (the UN building, a barren crop-field, an auction room, Mt Rushmore), it also charts, with a deceptively light touch, its protagonist’s progress from cynical detachment (the ‘O’ stands for ‘nothing’) through a sense of vulnerability to eventual commitment. Witty, impudently sexy, suspenseful throughout, this is Hollywood at its most urbanely glamorous.

– Geoff Andrew

New print.  

Available on: 35mm

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