Having seen most of Alfred Hitchcock’s works I must admit that North by Northwest has quickly become my favorite, even though it may not possess the typical Hitchcockian motives. What’s more, It could as well be placed in the same box as the James Bond franchise, because it may in some aspects remind of the well-known spy movies (Cary Grant could have been a perfect 007, with his elegance, handsome face and fantastic overall presence). However, I must say that it combines a better-developed structure, more wit in its dialogues and greater suspenseful sequences than any Bond movie does. Also, personally I thought that Eva Marie Saint was much more appealing than all of the Bond girls combined.
The main plot introduces the whole movie as a serious and thrilling mystery of a man, who is mistaken for an agent and embarks on a journey to clear his name. Still, apart from that, there are various comedic aspects of the film, along with my favorite scene in the first few minutes, when Roger Thornhill (played brilliantly by Cary Grant) is being held captive, forced to get drunk and then ride a car. As for the romantic section, there is the ongoing chemistry between the devious Eve Kendell and Thornhill.
All those aspects make up for an amazing and most enjoyable plot. The ideal mix of all the conjoint, yet rather opposing, factors marks the true genius of the director himself. Even though all of Hitchcock’s pictures are undisputed masterpieces, North by Northwest captivated me the most. I haven’t really seen a movie that offers so much – perfect plot-subplots combination, intelligent script, memorable scenes, many distinct sceneries, tremendous acting (great supporting roles by James Mason, Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau) and, most importantly, the building of suspense until the very last minute. It is also the best Hitchcock- Grant collaboration you will find.
Even though the picture didn’t win an Oscar in any of the three categories that it was nominated in, it surely could have won an Award for the best picture of the year. Or the decade. Or the century. Because every time you watch this fantastic movie you will be able to find a new part that will catch your attention. That is the true genius of Hitchcock. He made a movie that brings out everything that is the greatest about the motion picture industry, that is the ability to develop a masterwork that can be interesting to every single person in the world.