There’s always that one piece of work that makes you a firm favorite of everything it’s creator ever made.
It could be that one perfect album that transforms you into a die-hard devotee of your all-time favourite rock band, that classic novel that inspired you to pick up the author’s entire back catalogue, or the movie that makes you appreciate the complete filmography of a director.
North By Northwest is that kind of film, turning this writer from merely someone who had seen Pyscho once and thought it was decent, to being a serious fan of Alfred Hitchcock.
Released in 1959 and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason, the film is often described as one of Hitchcock’s best, and it’s easy to see why.
There are only a few films which I would say I fell madly in love with at first viewing, but North by Northwest is undoubtedly one of them.
There’s an air of excitement about it, a sense of intrigue and wonder and an undeniable charismatic charm, all underpinned by a wonderfully wry sense of humour.
Lots of films have those qualities, sure, but there’s something about the way that Hitchcock blends all of these elements together and presents them via magnificent performances from Grant, Mason, and Saint that makes this much more than just another film.
When you watch North by Northwest, you get the feeling that the film has a personality all of its own, though it may be fair to say that much of that comes from Hitchcock’s own personality integrating itself so deeply into the heart and spirit of the movie.
Whether that is the case, or whether North by Northwest developed a character that is uniquely its own isn’t actually all that important.
What is important is that the personality or character is there at all, radiating from the screen in a way that ensures North By Northwest earns every accolade and every word of praise it has ever received.
A true masterpiece of a film and the one that turned this writer into a die-hard devotee of ‘The Master of Suspense.’
North by Northwest is film number 5 on my list of the Top 12 Greatest Films of All Time. Other entries in this list include: