Last year, I went on a major Alfred Hitchcock bender. At this point, I’ve seen Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, North by Norhtwest, Psycho (on Halloween! in a movie theater!), Marnie, To Catch a Thief, Rope, Spellbound, and Suspicion. I’ve enjoyed all of them, except Marnie.
But my first and favorite Hitchcock film is North by Northwest, even after seeing movies that I think are better movies. But I think North by Northwest‘s inclusion in my top five movies of all time is really a token representation of how much I love Hitchcock. If this movie were directed by anyone else, I don’t know if it would make it. But North by Northwest has the elements of all my favorite Hitchcock films: Cary Grant, sexual tension with a blonde, identity issues, various forms of transportation and ridiculous camera work.
After watching it again for the first time since spring, I realized that there is really only one thing about the movie that I don’t like and it is Eve Marie Saint. I don’t really have a problem with the Hitchcock blonde as a thing, but I just find her a less compelling actress than Ingrid Bergman and not as sweet and beautiful as Grace Kelly.
Is North by Northwest still one of my favorite movies? Yes. But does it have a chance to be knocked out if I fall in love with another Hitchcock film more? I would say yes…except for this scene.
What’s not to love? That weird (horrible) camera work that screams “1959,” Cary Grant drunk, and the suspenseful music. It is my favorite scene in all of Hitchcock because it exemplifies what I love about him.