This screening is part of Tucson Modernism Week 2018, presented by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation!
“A great film, and certainly one of the most entertaining movies ever made, directed by Alfred Hitchcock at his peak.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
A strong candidate for one of the most sheerly enjoyable Hollywood movies of the 1950s, North by Northwest is Alfred Hitchcock at his most effervescent, in a romantic comedy/thriller that also features one of the definitive Cary Grant performances. It’s a classic Hitchcock Wrong Man scenario: the ever-suave, ever-unflappable Grant is Roger O. Thornhill, 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 mysterious blonde Stranger on a Train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most intricately-choreographed kisses in screen history. In short order, our hero is variously chased, abducted, framed for murder, and, in the film’s famous signature set-piece, crop-dusted. All roads eventually lead to the thrilling cliffhanger finale atop the stone faces of Mt. Rushmore that will literally leave you breathless. But that’s not all! In addition to a sparkling Ernest Lehman script and that pulse-quickening Bernard Herrmann score, North by Northwest is also a veritable jackpot of fabulous mid-century modern architecture and design, most notably the ultra-swanky, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home/villain’s lair improbably situated on top of Mt. Rushmore (in reality, a studio-constructed set in Culver City, CA known to movie and architecture buffs as “The Vandamm House,” named after Mason’s evil character, Phillip Vandamm). What moviegoer could ask for more? (Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock, 1959, USA, 136 mins., Not Rated)