Tuesday, January 26, 2016

AFI Top 100, #40: "North by Northwest" (1959)

Consider this your GENERAL SPOILER ALERT for this review.

Movie Stats:
Released 1959 (USA)
American, in English (one line of non-translated French that I noticed)
Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Stars - Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

Plot Summary:
After a case of mistaken identity, advertising exec Roger Thornhill (Grant) finds himself thrust into a world of danger and intrigue. Saint co-stars as Roger’s love interest, Eve Kendall, and Mason as the man out to kill him, Phillip Vandamm.

Violence; heavily implied sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
It’s so convoluted that I spent most of it rolling my eyes. Could these hardened criminals have come up with any more convoluted ways to kill a guy? Pour bourbon down his throat, put him in a stolen car, and watch him nearly drive off a cliff? Send him to the middle of nowhere in Indiana and try to run him down with a plane/crop dust him to death? Give me a break. It’s too ridiculous.

Roger is so smarmy and gross to me. When he sat down across from Eve (the second time he’s ever seen her) and said something along the lines of, “I have a difficult time not making love to every beautiful woman I see,” I wanted to vomit. The fact that she didn’t immediately knee him in the balls clued me in to the fact that she wasn’t all that she seemed.

Speaking of Eve, I thought Eva Marie Saint was terrible. So wooden.

Good Stuff:
Lots of great dialogue.

It’s occasionally funny.

Loved Mason, such an excellent bad guy, and so suave with his silky, smooth accent.

The Verdict:
Not the biggest fan of this one. I just can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to get into the story and enjoy it. Each scene seems more implausible than the last. The next thing you know, you’ve got two people hanging by their fingertips from Mt. Rushmore, joking around like falling to their deaths isn’t a real possibility. I thought it was infinitely more tiresome than it was entertaining. I mean, I’ve seen worse films in my life, but if I was in the mood for a good flick, this isn’t one that I would choose.

I give it 2.75 stars.


Patricia said...

Oh dear. Your "good stuff" was very limited. I think I have not seen this picture show. I think I will not make it a priority. :-)

balyien said...

It's true, this isn't my favorite Hitchcock film. Rear Window and Psycho are about a thousand times better IMO.