North By Northwest (DVD) (Rpkg)
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North By Northwest (DVD) (Rpkg)
Cary Grant stars as an innocent man mistaken for a spy in one of director Alfred Hitchcock's greatest thrillers. While leaving New York's Plaza Hotel, advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Grant) has the misfortune of standing just as the name "George Kaplan" is paged--starting a lethal case of mistaken identity and a nonstop game of cat and mouse as he is pursued across North America by espionage agents trying to kill him--and by police who suspect him of murder.]]>
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THE STORY: An unassuming advertising executive is mistaken for an undercover government operative by some very unsavory characters. In less than 24 hours his entire, comfortably predictable routine world is completely destroyed and he himself is in mortal danger. It will take all of his fast-thinking "baffle them with BS" advertising skills, some stealthy assistance from mysterious double agent, and more than a little luck... if he hopes to stay a step ahead of the ruthless criminals intent on rubbing him out.
THOUGHTS (contains minor spoilers): One of my favorite Hitchcock films. Everyone is perfectly cast. Super suave acting legend Cary Grant was never better than here, as delightfully dapper (and rather daft) New York ad exec Roger Thornhill. Eva-Maire Saint is terrific, smart and smoldering; one of the sexiest women to ever cross paths with Grant. Their chemistry is terrific. Leo G. Carroll is wonderful as the crafty government head honcho who seems indifferent to whether or not the innocent Thornhill will survive the nightmarish web into which he's become accidentally entangled. Of course any hero is only as good as his nemesis. Here, the classy, always unflappable James Mason is in top form as the sophisticated traitor who has secrets to sell. A young Martin Landau is disturbingly evil as one of Mason's high-strung, coldly-cunning henchmen. The film takes us from one great set-up to another - including the deservedly legendary crop duster sequence - all culminating in a breathless chase across the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore. It's equal parts tension & fun. A thoroughly entertaining motion picture experience; a masterpiece that is equal parts style & suspense, by one of the medium's true all-time masters. NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a genuine classic that belongs in every movie fan's collection, no doubt about it.
THE BLU-RAY: Sadly, I was not as impressed by the remastered Blu-ray as I had hoped to be. Don't misunderstand me. The remaster is a fine one, but NORTH BY NORTHWEST doesn't look anywhere near as amazing as the recent remaster of Hitchcock's THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. That film looks absolutely astonishing. NBNW looks good, but not great. There are several excellent bonus features included, which increases the collectability if you're a film buff. Even if you're not, the upgraded picture and improved sound are worth a double-dip if you already own the film in DVD format.
North by Northwest (1959) is one of Hitchcock's best films. Cary Grant plays a superb everyman that falls into the spy game. Grant is subjected to the worst case of mistaken identity that you can imagine. His good looks, genuine charm, and humorous take on his situation will have you rooting for him the whole way. Grant proves his acting chops in the romantic and dramatic moments, while remaining a compelling lead in North by Northwest.
Alfred Hitchcock's direction is filled with creative perspectives and panning shots you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. North by Northwest is exquisitely filmed and perfectly framed. The characters are charming and likable, while the romance is believable and grounded. The plot twists and espionage narrative are fascinating to watch unfold.
Eva Marie Saint is the embodiment of a femme fatale in North by Northwest. She is drop dead gorgeous and immaculately dressed by Hitchcock's costume department. Her dresses and make-up are as iconic as her wit and smoldering appearance. Saint is the perfect foil to Grant's everyman. She is lovely and sweet and plays the dramatic moments with a subtle grace. The dangerous vibe about her is offset by her clever dialogue and delivery.
I must mention Bernard Herrmann's iconic score. Herrmann keeps your heart pounding along with the action thanks to his dire soundtrack and symphony. The melodies are catchy unto themselves, but the music ups the pace into a sprint to safety. I love North by Northwest's score.
Lastly, James Mason and Martin Landau are excellent as the ever plotting villains in North by Northwest. They maintain an easy charm and charisma, while displaying a sheer vicious nature underneath it all. I think the James Bond series had to have taken influence from North by Northwest due to these villain, the score, and the spy narrative.
In all, North by Northwest is Hitchcock at his finest.
Add to that accuracy the precise timing, editing, riveting plot, and scene stealing performances, and you have one of the greatest movies of all time. The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly Bernard Hermann's bravura overture, which I have heard performed brilliantly live in concert where not only the audience was transported, but the orchestra was as well! This man set the standard for Hollywood film craft against which we still measure movies today.
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The film itself has a couple of plot flaws near the end which don't really spoil it unless you are sharper than me to spot them. Still a good film that might make 4 or 5 on DVD but for a blu-ray release I can't give it more than 3.
The plot of the story is kind of thriller in which an ordinary man is thrown into a life and death game of conspiracies in which he has no basic idea what is going on or who is after him. Events which would have most men a nervous sweaty wreck though don't ruffle the cool Cary Grant too badly and he may even find a chance for a little romance during his adventure. Being a Hitchcock film, of course it features a mysterious blonde, plenty of suspense and some pretty villainous characters.
Picture ratio is full screen with 5.1 audio, HOH subtitles and 1080p resolution.
Music, screenplay, production, acting and all crafts brought together by the man still combine today to give such excellent enterainment.
Certain words or phrases used date the film i.e. "making love" and "gay" (which are used in a different context today), but that's nit-picking: this film stands up to the test of time remarkably well. I think The Maestro was in a good mood when making this drawn out thriller ---- he's included a strain of humour throughout that bubbles up periodically, probably because he could indulge his fetish of casting yet another ice cool blonde, Eve Marie Saint, in the main supporting role to Cary Grant's bumbling executive caught up in a story of spies and smuggling secrets.
The DVD includes plenty of extras for enthusiasts such as audio commentary, music tracks and behind-the-scenes documentary with comments by the actors etc. Highly recommended.
I attach a photo of another copy in my collection, the French 2 disc Collectors Edition, a real beauty for us dvd users and, though expensive as I write, it's well worth having in your collection with many extra features including a perfect picture and sound plus English language and subtitles.
What's more important is how good a job Warner Brothers have done in bringing Hitchcock to Blu-Ray for the first time, and I can happily report that this first of hopefully many Hitchcock releases is very satisfying indeed.
There's a stack of new docs and features for a start off. The full length Cary Grant Biography is the best I've ever seen, and this alone makes the disk essential for any fan. There's also two other new (and again quite lengthy) docs discussing the film's influence and Hitchcock's career, with a fair bit of input from some current directors (although apart from William Friedkin and Guillermo del Toro they're a little "B" list). For completion, the disk also includes the Eva Marie Saint hosted "making of" from the original DVD release (actually the second best of the docs after the Cary Grant Bio). That was enough to keep me occupied for a whole afternoon (I've not heard the commentaries yet).
There appears to be a lot of enthusiasm for the image quality in the other reviews here, and rightly so, but I believe it to be merely excellent rather than perfect. Although it is generally beautifully rendered, with plenty of detail, gorgeous colour and a pleasing level of grain, I think it may be a little too dark, and often appears inconsistent; check out the shooting at the Mount Rushmore restaurant, where the film cuts to Martin Landau peering over the shoulders of some bystanders to confirm Thornhill is dead - there is a very obvious drop in quality, as if another, less pristine film element had been used. It also suffers a little from Hitchcock's use of soft-focus (normally for Grant's close-ups). This is nit-picking, but I just want to make it clear that in my opinion, North by Northwest doesn't quite attain the highest standards of image quality enjoyed by other classic BRD releases such as Dr No, Zulu or The Italian Job.
Sound quality is also very high, although I could not discern that much of an improvement over the excellent DVD version. It's a little quiet though, and I found myself pumping the volume up rather higher than I would normally expect. There's not that much going on in the rears for most of the film (apart from the crop-sprayer scene), but that's fine - it was originally shot in mono of course.
In conclusion, this disk is well worth full marks, and if you love the film (or Gary Grant), you are going to want to upgrade from the DVD. Roll on Vertigo...
This DVD opened his eyes to another Hitchcock and, while it has few bonus additions, it does successfully what DVDs are meant to do - bring quality films into the home at a cheap price and, currently between £1.00 and £5.99, they do not come much cheaper. On the small screen (even the larger 50" etc) it loses that Hitchcock vastness but that is true of every other film not seen in the cinema.
He enjoyed it.
The movie itself is a classic well orchestrated by Hitchcock a case of mistaken identity leads to murder and intrigue
classic example of Hitchcocks' ability to manipulate the most mundane situation with utter believability.The extras
on the disc are second to none supporting the movie the director and star well done Warner.I think this is how blu-ray should be presented rather than the drip feeding manner so modern movies are released just so we'll double or treble dip
Still this disc is a refreshing change maybe one day other studios will follow suit and give the punter what we deserve
We can only hope.....