Friday, 12 September 2014


Films are always - at least to a certain degree - testimonies of their time. I suppose no swing dancer has not yet watched snippets from the old movies showcasing the wildest choreographies for inspiration.
I have been watching quite many old films lately, also to marvel on the style of the 40s and 50s, and while some have been very much in the vain of today's rom coms - watch and forget, others have struck a cord with me and impressed me with their actuality even almost 60 years after their release.
One of those impressive films was definitely Hitchcock's North by Northwest. I don't want to spoil it for you, because it is showing at Rice University's Media Centre tonight (Friday 12th) and tomorrow, so I only share a few trivia below... 

The political espionage thriller from 1959 follows a somewhat classical plot of an innocent victim mistaken for somebody else turns hero to prove his innocence. Cary Grant stars as advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill,  in a very well fitting grey suit (praised in epic lengths here), that indisputably served as inspiration for Mad Men.
Thornhill is kidnapped by villains, but manages to flee only to become more and more entangled in a maze of conspiracies. He sets to straight out things and is forced to take on the identity of the man he is mistaken for, further complicating things.
Fleeing from New York by train, he gets entangled with a mysterious yet attractive secret agent played by Eva Marie Saint. Because Hitchcock did not like her costumes proposed by the production company MGM, director and actress without further ado went on a shopping spree to Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
The big showdown is set at Mount Rushmore, with the protagonists dangling from Lincoln's nose.
The origins of the title are somewhat obscure. While some link it to a line in Hamlet, the director himself confessed "It's a fantasy. The whole film is epitomised in the title—there is no such thing as north-by-northwest on the compass." (source).

The trailer is a masterpiece of storytelling in itself, showing Hitchcock himself as travel agent advertising his trip.  

For Houstonians, the  Rice University's Media Centre is showing the film on a big screen on
Friday, Sept 12 and
Saturday, Sept. 13

at 7pm.

picture sources:  1. here  2. here 3. here,
4. here , 5. here

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