North by Northwest

March 3, 2007 - Cary Grant is an advertising executive who finds himself a long way from Madison Avenue in this 1959 classic from Alfred Hitchcock. Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau also star. And, look for a brief appearance by Edward Platt, who later played "Chief" in the TV show Get Smart.

Grant plays Roger Thornhill. He's having drinks with some colleagues when he's suddenly kidnapped and taken to a mansion on Long Island. The people there (Mason and Landau) seem to believe that Thornhill's name is Kaplan. He tells them it's not, but they don't believe him. They force him to drink and drive, but Thornhill manages to avoid a fatal wreck and escape.

Thornhill then can't leave well enough alone. He tries to track down Kaplan himself and eventually ends up with Eva Marie Saint on Mount Rushmore.

Overall review: *** I'll go ahead and give it three stars, though I think it's more like two and a half. Thornhill eventually learns Kaplan's secret, but we are clued in early on. The suspense here comes from watching Thornhill try to stay alive as he's pursued by Mason and his gang, who are suspected of espionage.

I found the dialogue between Grant and Saint surprisingly bold. I wasn't expecting such overt sexual banter, but maybe that's because more modern movies skip the banter and go right to the sex.

My main criticisms are plot-related. At one point, Thornhill takes a bus to Indiana and is dropped off pretty much in the middle of a cornfield. Yet, this cornfield is a hopping place because another bus comes along a few minutes later, and there's also a fair amount of other traffic - more than I expected for such a road. I was also disappointed by the method Mason used to carry out his espionage. Like the CIA couldn't figure out THAT? Of course, I guess if they had figured it out, we wouldn't have a movie would we?