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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

North by Northwest (1959)

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

Plot Summary: This classic suspense film finds New York City ad executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) pursued by ruthless spy Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) after Thornhill is mistaken for a government agent. Hunted relentlessly by Vandamm's associates, the harried Thornhill ends up on a cross-country journey, meeting the beautiful and mysterious Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) along the way. Soon Vandamm's henchmen close in on Thornhill, resulting in a number of iconic action sequences.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9

Novelty: 6

Classic-ness: 7.5

Significance/Impact: 5

Rewatchability: 8

Audience Score: 9.4

Recognition: Nominated for Film Editing, Art Direction, Original Screenplay, AFI #40/#55

Total: 44.9

Best Performance: Cary Grant (special mention: Martin Landau)

Best Scene: Auction House/Chase on Rushmore

Best Line: Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your various roles rather severely, Mr. Kaplan? First, you're the outraged Madison Avenue man who claims he's been mistaken for someone else. Then you play the fugitive from justice, supposedly trying to clear his name of a crime he knows he didn't commit. And now, you play the peevish lover, stung by jealousy and betrayal. It seems to me you fellows could stand a little less training from the FBI and a little more from the Actors Studio.

Most Indelible Moment: Crop Duster Scene

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