Top positive review
The ultimate case of mistaken identity? Perhaps Hitchcock's all-time best action-thriller.
Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2015
BOTTOM LINE: This terrific film is Alfred Hitchcock at the absolute pinnacle of his game. And that's saying something! The plot is full of inspiring twists & turns, the action & adventure are over the top, and the film never lets up until the final fade-out. If you've never seen a Hitchcock film before, this is a great one to get your feet wet with. 5 STAR film, 4 STAR Blu-ray.
THE STORY: An unassuming advertising executive is mistaken for an undercover government operative by some very unsavory characters. In less than 24 hours his entire, comfortably predictable routine world is completely destroyed and he himself is in mortal danger. It will take all of his fast-thinking "baffle them with BS" advertising skills, some stealthy assistance from mysterious double agent, and more than a little luck... if he hopes to stay a step ahead of the ruthless criminals intent on rubbing him out.
THOUGHTS (contains minor spoilers): One of my favorite Hitchcock films. Everyone is perfectly cast. Super suave acting legend Cary Grant was never better than here, as delightfully dapper (and rather daft) New York ad exec Roger Thornhill. Eva-Maire Saint is terrific, smart and smoldering; one of the sexiest women to ever cross paths with Grant. Their chemistry is terrific. Leo G. Carroll is wonderful as the crafty government head honcho who seems indifferent to whether or not the innocent Thornhill will survive the nightmarish web into which he's become accidentally entangled. Of course any hero is only as good as his nemesis. Here, the classy, always unflappable James Mason is in top form as the sophisticated traitor who has secrets to sell. A young Martin Landau is disturbingly evil as one of Mason's high-strung, coldly-cunning henchmen. The film takes us from one great set-up to another - including the deservedly legendary crop duster sequence - all culminating in a breathless chase across the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore. It's equal parts tension & fun. A thoroughly entertaining motion picture experience; a masterpiece that is equal parts style & suspense, by one of the medium's true all-time masters. NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a genuine classic that belongs in every movie fan's collection, no doubt about it.
THE BLU-RAY: Sadly, I was not as impressed by the remastered Blu-ray as I had hoped to be. Don't misunderstand me. The remaster is a fine one, but NORTH BY NORTHWEST doesn't look anywhere near as amazing as the recent remaster of Hitchcock's THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. That film looks absolutely astonishing. NBNW looks good, but not great. There are several excellent bonus features included, which increases the collectability if you're a film buff. Even if you're not, the upgraded picture and improved sound are worth a double-dip if you already own the film in DVD format.