Top 100 Movies North by Northwest

Top 100 Movies North by Northwest
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Top 100 Movies North by Northwest. I have been systematically going through a list of Hollywood’s 100 top movies to see what we can all learn together about this history of movie making, and the influences that have had an impact on movies today. This movie is basically an action movie granddaddy that is still influencing movies today. Spy movies. Action movies. Mindjob movies. North by Northwest has had a profound impact on films that we watch everyday. And I had absolutely no idea.

Top 100 Movies North by Northwest Walkthrough

So I just hit stop on this movie… and I’m really shocked with what a great screenplay it is. I am not a fan of Cary Grant, he always seems like he can act as one character, and one character alone… and that is Cary Grant. But otherwise, I really was intrigued by the modern ideas that Hitchcock was pushing with this screenplay. If you are unaware, “North by Northwest” is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason. The plot revolves around an advertising executive named Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant), who is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies and is pursued across the United States. At the opening of the movie, it more feels like a Kafka novel come to life, than a Hitchcock movie. Confusion and mistakes pile up and up and up until we aren’t sure what is real or not. But, thankfully, Hitchcock explains what he is doing here – and makes a ton of sense when it all comes to an end.

Anyway, as the movie opens we watch as advertising exec, Roger Thornhill, is mistaken for an individual named George Kaplan and is abducted by two thugs. They take him to meet their boss, the suave and sinister Phillip Vandamm (James Mason). Vandamm believes that Thornhill is Kaplan. As the movie opens, we don’t fully understand this, but Vandamm believes Thornhill is an agent that is intentionally meddling with his plan to smuggle a mcguffin, I mean, a microfilm device, that contains important yadda yadda yadda – I mean, top-secret information, out of the country. Thornhill obviously denies any involvement because what the heck are they on about man?!? Regardless, Vandamm obviously doesn’t believe Thornhill and orders him to be killed. How? Well, they decide the best way is to get him absolutely hammered and put him behind the wheel of a car. Hrm. Interesting. (And why didn’t he just pull over? I digress.) Anyway, Thornhill manages to escape and goes to the police, but they don’t believe his story and think he is a drunk. He decides to investigate the matter himself and sets out to find Kaplan, hoping to clear his name.

Through a lead, Thornhill travels to Chicago, where he meets a woman named Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) on a train. Kendall seems to be friendly and helpful, but Thornhill soon realizes that she is working with Vandamm and is actually trying to kill him. (Please become Bullet Train, PLEASE!) But no… instead, Thornhill manages to evade Kendall and her accomplices and continues his search for Kaplan. Thornhill eventually ends up in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he is attacked by a crop duster plane… as one does. He manages to escape by hitch hiking to the nearest town. And there he meets a professor named Lester Townsend who has connections to the government agency that Kaplan supposedly works for.

Townsend arranges for Thornhill to meet Kaplan at a remote location, but when he arrives, he finds that Kaplan doesn’t exist and the whole thing was a trap set by Vandamm. Kendall arrives and reveals that she is actually a government agent working undercover to bring down Vandamm’s operation. A DOUBLE AGENT! So great. So, Thornhill and Kendall team up to try to get the microfilm from Vandamm, but they are captured and taken to Vandamm’s hideout…

And this is great. Are you ready for it?

His evil lair hideout? It’s inside Mount Rushmore. I kid you not. So great. In a dramatic climax, Thornhill and Kendall manage to escape and climb onto the faces of the Mount Rushmore monument, where they are pursued by Vandamm and his henchmen. I’ve literally always wondered why this hadn’t been done before, but alas, it had been! So great. Eventually, Thornhill manages to knock Vandamm off the monument to his death, and he and Kendall are rescued by the government agents. As the film wraps up, we see Thornhill and Kendall on a train together on their way back to New York City. And voila, the piece de resistance, they share a kiss together as the train heads into a tunnel.

Thoughts on the Film North by Northwest

The other day, I watched The Seconds and was amazed by the ways in which it was so “modern” in it’s screenplay and the clever ins and outs that it brought to the script. (I’m currently working on that write up, chill out!) Here too, North by Northwest is really surprisingly good in the way it utilizes highly overdone (now) ploys and plot devices… but I’m sure back then they were extraordinarily innovative and captivating to the audience. I liken North by Northwest to the Michael Douglas film, The Game. Or maybe I should say, The Game reminds me of its innovative predecessor, North by Northwest!

It was intriguing to be just as lost as Thornhill was. Pardon? What are you on about? Can you explain what it is you are saying to me? And the audience follows along as Thornhill bumbles his way along, because we too have no idea what’s happening. But there has to be an explanation of some sort here… I mean, doesn’t there? And as we carom our way around, we learn more and more, until we realize that our friends are our enemies and some of our enemies are actually our friends! Huh. I think I recently said about Cary Grant that I just cannot stand his acting. But I can see what he is generally loved for his style and his general likableness. That I agree with – but his acting is 100% the same in every movie that he is in. My personal opinion! Don’t stone me for it! But I really did enjoy this throw back film. Some of the special effects were cheesy and laughable, but that just added to the overall likability of the overall experience. For example, the whole chase scene with the crop duster was pretty classic… especially his outmaneuvering the plane by inadvertently almost getting run over by a fuel truck! hahah.

I can totally see the influence that North by Northwest had on society for years to come afterwards. I mean, we are still making movies in this film’s image. Without a doubt.

Edited by: CY