North by Northwest 4.0 stars

North by Northwest movie poster

The topper of all of Hitchcock's cross-country cat-and-mouse thrillers. The species that was spawned in the Thirties with Young and Innocent and The 39 Steps has undergone some body-building after all these years of exercise, and emerges here in a form higher (the United Nations building), wider (the Midwest corn fields), and grander (the face of Mt. Rushmore) than ever before. There are ample tipsy giggles and hokey excitements, thanks largely to Cary Grant's broadly played and easily ruffled dignity, and thanks very slightly to James Mason's prissy villainy. Eva Marie Saint, done over as if for Harper's Bazaar, steps surprisingly to the fore of Hitchcock's line of icy blondes. 1959.

Duncan Shepherd

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