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Customer Review

on June 4, 2000
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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