The Hitchcock Films – “North by Northwest” (1959) Review


What’s it About?

What if everyone around you was suddenly convinced that you were a spy? This classic from master director Alfred Hitchcock stars Cary Grant (Notorious, To Catch a Thief) as an advertising executive who looks a little too much like someone else and is forced to go on the lam.

“North by Northwest”

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

10 out of 10

By Vic

This won’t be a lengthy and elaborate review.  North by Northwest has been reviewed by everyone under the sun who has anything to say about the Master, Alfred Hitchcock.  Here is a write up I did a while back. It’s short and to the point and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for indulging the brevity of the review.

The mistaken identity, that most under-stated but dynamic of suspense film staples , has never been executed to the silver screen better than Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic “North by Northwest.” Hitchcock’s diverse cinematic resume revisited many familiar themes but none were as entertaining than the “Wrong Man” motif in his masterful hands.

“North by Northwest” stylishly permeates with clever Cold War wit combined with Hitchcock’s inventive and punctual camerawork. It’s this one – two punch that makes this film a knockout classic. The film pits Cary Grant, our template everyday man- about- town Ad Executive, against some very seedy secret agents who mistake him for someone else harboring government secrets.

Grant’s taut and distressed portrayal playing against James Mason’s articulately menacing Phillip Vandamm is so much fun to watch. It appears as if Grant, Hitchcock and Mason are in the throes of making an unofficial and cosmopolitan James Bond film that would make Ian Fleming proud. The locales like New York City, Long Island, Chicago and South Dakota are played out right from the James Bond handbook.

Then there is that iconic crop dusting biplane chase and the fantastic climax atop Mount Rushmore that sends the blood racing. I love watching Martin Landau remain committed to Cary Grant’s demise and the unofficial Bond Girl — the classy, scorching Eva Marie Saint who complicates things by seducing Grant.

This is yet another relevant and enduring Hitchcock film which has absolutely held up over the years. You just have to respect the actors and director here for pulling together a classy, suspenseful and hip “Who Me?” thriller like this one. And don’t forget to look out for Hitch’s cameo like always.



  1. It’s a true Hitchcock masterpiece and one of my favorites from him. What impresses me most about the film is that plane chase which was so well done it’s hard to believe it was accomplished over fifty years ago. Nice review.

    • Thanks for stopping in. I’m glad you liked the review. The plane chase was very impressive for a film of that age, I agree. Hitchcock made sure he had plenty of coverage for the stunt work. It was insanely well done all around.

    • I’m glad you liked it! It was just a brief little write up. I didn’t want to get too deep. Many people already love the movie and hold it in high regard. It’s hard to write anything that hasn’t been said already. Thanks for stopping by, man!

  2. I don’t know if you saw my review…but I was lucky enough to see this in theaters but unlucky in that a group of morons laughing/screaming/commenting throughout hugely lessened what should have been amazing.
    I’m going to re-review this one when the awesome Hitchcock box set comes out at the end of the month

  3. Fantastic movie Victor and quite possibly my favourite of Hitch’s. It’s been a while since I sat down with it though. I must do that again soon. Nice write up man.

    • Thanks, Mark. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Sorry it was so brief. I could have gone really long with it but so many people already know it’s a classic. Hope you get to re-watch it soon. Thanks for stopping by!

      • I don’t mind brief man. It’s nice to have a mixture. I always try and keep my reviews at a certain length. It’s too easy to run away with yourself. I often write loads of stuff and then edit it down to the bare bones.

      • Ha, I do the same here, man. I can get a bit long winded then I have to go back and do some trimming lol.

  4. Great write-up, Vic! I haven’t seen this one yet, but I might just have to find wherever my copy of it is this weekend to watch it (or maybe I just recorded it on my TV..).

    • haha “pieces” of Psycho…Well, Misty, you have some ‘splaining to do! lol 😀 You gotta watch it in it’s entirety when you can. Other great Hitch movies are Vertigo, Dial M for Murder and The Birds.

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