Jump to: navigation, search

Calgary Herald (18/Jun/1992) - Hitch scores a big hit



Hitch scores a big hit

NORTH BY NORTHWEST, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint.

As summer begins its slow trek into Calgary, one's thoughts naturally turn to Cary Grant.

Think about it. On hot nights, with a coupla Margaritas down the hatch, the video viewer isn't quite up to Judgment at Nuremberg.

We want froth, we want charm, we want romance, we want thrills. We want Cary Grant, whose perfect mix of gentleman and cad is always intoxicating.

In the best of all possible worlds, we want a movie like North by Northwest — Cary Grant mixed with Alfred Hitchcock, whose sophisticated movie-making is as inviting as a tall, cool cocktail in a dark American bar.

Enough booze references, even if Grant is like good champagne, dry and bubbly and elegant.

In the 1959 film North by Northwest, he plays a successful advertising executive named Roger Thornhill, who is mistaken for a federal intelligence agent. Falsely accused of a variety of crimes, he panics; his escape route bumps him up against a beautiful young woman (Eva Marie Saint) with a pleasantly helpful attitude. The cliff-hanging climax to their adventure together winds up on Mount Rushmore.

Hitchcock toys with a variety of themes here, including attraction and repulsion, and loyalty and betrayal. Over the course of the film, it becomes expedient for Thornhill to impersonate the man he was accused of being, in name as well as lifestyle. Meanwhile, he and his female companion turn on each other (in both senses of the term) over and over again.

The director can't resist winking at his audience here and there. From his own appearance in the early moments of the film to the obvious sexual metaphor of the final image, Hitchcock is surprising us.

That's why he's the master of the thriller: he knows how we think, and he knows how to evade our expectations. Meanwhile, Grant surpasses them. It's a delicious blend.