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        North by Northwest (1959)

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        A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.

        Director:

        Alfred Hitchcock

        Writer:

        Ernest Lehman
        Reviews
        Popularity
        2,151 ( 139)
        Top Rated Movies #77 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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        Cast

        Cast overview, first billed only:
        Cary Grant ... Roger Thornhill
        Eva Marie Saint ... Eve Kendall
        James Mason ... Phillip Vandamm
        Jessie Royce Landis ... Clara Thornhill
        Leo G. Carroll ... The Professor
        Josephine Hutchinson ... Mrs. Townsend
        Philip Ober ... Lester Townsend
        Martin Landau ... Leonard
        Adam Williams ... Valerian
        Edward Platt ... Victor Larrabee
        Robert Ellenstein ... Licht
        Les Tremayne ... Auctioneer
        Philip Coolidge ... Dr. Cross
        Patrick McVey Patrick McVey ... Sergeant Flamm
        Edward Binns ... Captain Junket
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        Storyline

        Madison Avenue advertising man Roger Thornhill finds himself thrust into the world of spies when he is mistaken for a man by the name of George Kaplan. Foreign spy Philip Vandamm and his henchman Leonard try to eliminate him but when Thornhill tries to make sense of the case, he is framed for murder. Now on the run from the police, he manages to board the 20th Century Limited bound for Chicago where he meets a beautiful blond, Eve Kendall, who helps him to evade the authorities. His world is turned upside down yet again when he learns that Eve isn't the innocent bystander he thought she was. Not all is as it seems however, leading to a dramatic rescue and escape at the top of Mt. Rushmore. Written by garykmcd

        Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

        Taglines:

        It's a deadly game of "tag" and Cary Grant is "it"! See more »


        Certificate:

        Not Rated | See all certifications »

        Parents Guide:

        View content advisory »
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        Details

        Country:

        USA

        Language:

        English | French

        Release Date:

        26 September 1959 (Japan) See more »

        Also Known As:

        Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest See more »

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        Box Office

        Budget:

        $3,101,000 (estimated)

        Gross USA:

        $13,275,000

        Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

        $22,213,000
        See more on IMDbPro »

        Company Credits

        Show more on IMDbPro »

        Technical Specs

        Runtime:

        Sound Mix:

        Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Dolby SR | Dolby Digital

        Color:

        Color (Technicolor)

        Aspect Ratio:

        1.85 : 1
        See full technical specs »
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        Did You Know?

        Trivia

        Sir Alfred Hitchcock filmed Cary Grant's entrance into the United Nations building from across the street with a hidden camera. When he gets to the top of the stairs, a man about to walk down does a double take upon seeing the movie star. See more »

        Goofs

        In the first scene, as Grant and his secretary are leaving the office building, studio lights can be seen reflecting from the walls of the lobby. See more »


        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. See more »

        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. See more »

        Connections

        Referenced in My Secret Identity: The Eyes of the Shadow (1989) See more »

        Soundtracks

        It's a Most Unusual Day
        (1948)
        (uncredited)
        Music by Jimmy McHugh
        Lyrics by Harold Adamson
        Played as background music at the Plaza Hotel
        See more »

        Frequently Asked Questions

        See more »

        User Reviews

        Wonderful comedy thriller, not Hitchcock's best but his most sheerly enjoyable
        30 September 2004 | by DrLeneraSee all my reviews

        North By Northwest is not an artistic masterpiece like Rear Window and Vertigo, but it is probably the most purely entertaining picture Hitchcock ever made. It's essentially a rehash of many of his earlier films, with a plot partially derived from The Thirty Nine Steps and the very similar Saboteur, while there are borrowings from Foreign Correspondent and Notorious, among others. However, it is all done with such style and confidence that it doesn't matter if it's essentially just a greatest hits package.

        Very few other films of this kind attain the near perfect tone of this one, precariously balanced between seriousness and silliness. Sometimes this film manages the very difficult trick of being both suspenseful and comical at the same time, as in the auction house scene, or the wonderful scene in the lift when the hero's mother turns to two heavies in a lift looking menacingly at the hero and says "you gentlemen are not REALLY trying to kill my son, are you?".

        Of course the famous crop dusting plane scene and the Mount Rushmore chase are terrific. The former is really more notable for the amount of time taken to build up to the action than the action itself, while the technical work on the latter still looks pretty good. In a totally different vein is the astonishingly frank seduction sequence on the train. Hitchcock takes his time here as with many of the other scenes, but the film is so crammed with memorable passages that one hardly notices it's 136 mins long.

        Ernest Lehman's script is full of wonderful lines, many of them delivered so well by chief villain James Mason that at times we almost want to root for him. "Has any one ever told you tend to overplay your various roles Mr Kaplan....it seems to me you fellows could stand a little less training from the FBI and a little more from the Actor's Studio". Cary Grant is so smooth one almost forgets he's over 50, and of course there's also Bernard Herrmann's vibrant score.

        Endlessly enjoyable even with repeated viewings. How many of today's thrillers will be such fun in 25 years time?


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