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North by Northwest (Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition)

1,263 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

North By Northwest: 50th Anniversary Special Edition (DVD)

Cary Grant is the screen's supreme man-on-the-run in his fourth and final teaming with director Alfred Hitchcock. He plays a Manhattan adman plunged into a realm of spy (James Mason) and counterspy (Eva Marie Saint) and variously abducted, framed for murder, chased and in a signature set-piece, crop-dusted. He also hangs for dear life from the facial features of Mount Rushmore's Presidents. Savor one of Hollywood's most enjoyable thrillers ever in this State-of-the-Art Restoration: its Renewed Picture and Audio Vitality will leave you just as breathless as the chase itself.

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A strong candidate for the most sheerly entertaining and enjoyable movie ever made by a Hollywood studio (with Citizen Kane, Only Angels Have Wings and Trouble in Paradise running neck and neck). Positioned between the much heavier and more profoundly disturbing Vertigo (1958) and the stark horror of Psycho (1960), North by Northwest (1959) is Alfred Hitchcock at his most effervescent in a romantic comedy-thriller that also features one of the definitive Cary Grant performances. Which is not to say that this is just "Hitchcock Lite"; seminal Hitchcock critic Robin Wood (in his book Hitchcock's Films Revisited) makes an airtight case for this glossy MGM production as one of The Master's "unbroken series of masterpieces from Vertigo to Marnie." It's a classic Hitchcock Wrong Man scenario: Grant is Roger O. Thornhill (initials ROT), an advertising executive who is mistaken by enemy spies for a U.S. undercover agent named George Kaplan. Convinced these sinister fellows (James Mason as the boss, and Martin Landau as his henchman) are trying to kill him, Roger flees and meets a sexy Stranger on a Train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most convolutedly choreographed kisses in screen history. And, of course, there are the famous set pieces: the stabbing at the United Nations, the crop-duster plane attack in the cornfield (where a pedestrian has no place to hide), and the cliffhanger finale atop the stone faces of Mount Rushmore. Plus a sparkling Ernest Lehman script and that pulse-quickening Bernard Herrmann score. What more could a moviegoer possibly desire?--Jim Emerson

Stills from North by Northwest (Click for larger image)









Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,263 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002IKLZZY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,154 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "North by Northwest (Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

227 of 243 people found the following review helpful By "mr_nasty" on April 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
One of the best of Hitchcock (although as far as his films go, Hitch probably has the best track record of any director living or dead). This film is basically the original "Fugitive" and follows pretty closely the plot to his "The 39 Steps" from 1935 - a man is mistaken for a CIA agent and is caught in a "deadly game of cat and mouse," as it were. I LOVE the music and the visuals that start out the film - it makes me wish I had been alive to see it in a movie theater in the 50's. And although this film is over 2 hours long, there's no way you can be bored - the suspense is so intense you'll be chewing your nails the whole time (I did the first time I saw it). Cary Grant is excellent as always, James Mason plays one of the most sinister of Hitchcock's villains (I would LOVE to have this guy's voice) and Eva Marie Saint looks gorgeous and plays her part well. I also enjoyed seeing Martin Landau in an early role as one of James Mason's henchmen and Jessie Royce Landis (the mother from "To Catch a Thief") as Grant's mother (although both were very near the same age at the time). And I love any film score by Bernard Herrmann - this guy should have had a mantle covered with awards, but as luck would have it, most of his scores went not only un-awarded but un-nominated (as this one did). By all means, if you don't own it, pick it up today - and by the way, good job for FINALLY releasing it on DVD, MGM.
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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful By S. J. West on September 17, 2000
Format: DVD
With this film, Alfred Hitchcock set out to top himself and get back on top after the failure of VERTIGO; he did just that. NORTH BY NORTHWEST is automatically a classic with the acting by Cary Grant (his fourth and final film with Hitchcock), Eva Maria Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll (another one of Hithcock's favorites), and young Martin Landau (in his film debut), the amazing set pieces (the UN murder, the cropduster sequence, and the climax atop Mt. Rushmore), Bernard Hermann's music score, and the classic work of the camera by the Master of Suspense. But this DVD's extras really add to the film. It includes a documentary hosted by Saint ("Destination Hitchcock," not "The Man in Lincoln's Nose" as listed on this site), an audio commentary by screenwriter Ernest Lehman, two theatrical trailers (a standard trailer and one featuring Hitchcock), a TV Spot, an isolated music audio track and the film itself remastered in Dolby 5.1 Audio and 1.66:1 widescreen anamorphic format. The only problem is it comes in a snap case like all Warners DVDs, not allowing a booklet with production notes. But this DVD is a must buy, especially if you're a fan of Hitch. It's also a note of interest for 007 fans (like myself). This film brought about spy thrillers and you should compare the cropduster sequence in this film to the helicopter sequence in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on March 2, 2001
Format: DVD
"North by Northwest" (1959) was the fourth and final collaboration between director Alfred Hitchcock and actor Cary Grant. Both men were at their artistic zenith when they made this superb comic thriller, which screenwriter Ernest Lehman promised would be "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures." Lehman's script incorporates some brilliant setpieces that the Master of Suspense was unable to work into his previous films, such as the famous crop-dusting chase and the surreal Mount Rushmore climax. However, the highlight remains the Chicago auction sequence. Grant's screwball humor and dark charm make him the ideal Hitchcock leading man - complemented by excellent performances from Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau. "North by Northwest" was Hitchcock's sole effort for MGM and he makes the most of the studio gloss. It's a top-notch production in terms of set design and matte work. In fact, author Ian Fleming considered "North by Northwest" to be the stylistic prototype for the James Bond series and wanted Hitchcock to direct the first 007 production (he turned down the offer). To fully appreciate this classic film, it should be seen in the letterbox format that Hitchcock intended. One of the all-time greats.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Gregor von Kallahann on June 4, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Forget about the numerous improbabilities (e.g. that death by cropduster is an effective way to get rid of one's enemies; that a good place for foreign agents to have a hide-out is right on top of Mt. Rushmore; that Jessie Royce Landis is old enough to be Cary Grant's mother, etc.)--and just enjoy this ride. I've seen this movie several times and tend to forget the details between viewings--which allows me to be surprised all over again. And surprise is what North by Northwest is all about.
Casting James Mason and a young but very creepy Martin Landau as the villains was sheer genius. Eva Marie Saint is the icy blonde in this one and suggests a fair amount of fire beneath that ice. Grant, already in his mid-50s, was obviously meant to be younger (mid-40s at the most), but you'll find yourself suspending disbelief about that and everything else and just allowing yourself to get caught up in this extremely entertaining film. There is no better example of Hitchcock's cinematic mastery. Aside from the aforementioned crop duster pursuit (scarier than any low-flying plane scene in any WWII movie), there's the classic Rushmore sequence, and, of course, the tunnel bit at the end which delighted would-be Freudian critics with its (daring for the time?) symbolism. It's as witty as it is adventurous, with a wonderful Ernest Lehman script, excellent cinematography by Robert Burks and a great score by Bernard Herrmann. A classic...but then, you probably don't need me to tell you that.
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50th Anniversary edition of North by Northwest?
I tend to believe the reviews that are detailed. I disregard the reviews that say stuff like "Wow! It looks great!" without any specifics. I look for the reviews where someone has carefully A-B'd the DVD vs. the blu-ray, or writes in critical detail as to what they specifically liked or... Read More
Feb 4, 2013 by William G. Stout |  See all 12 posts
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