North by Northwest - Special Edition [VHS]
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Product Description

A strong candidate for the most sheerly entertaining and enjoyable movie ever made by a Hollywood studio (with Citizen Kane, Only Angels Have Wings and Trouble in Paradise running neck and neck). Positioned between the much heavier and more profoundly disturbing Vertigo (1958) and the stark horror of Psycho (1960), North by Northwest (1959) is Alfred Hitchcock at his most effervescent in a romantic comedy-thriller that also features one of the definitive Cary Grant performances. Which is not to say that this is just "Hitchcock Lite"; seminal Hitchcock critic Robin Wood (in his book Hitchcock's Films Revisited) makes an airtight case for this glossy MGM production as one of The Master's "unbroken series of masterpieces from Vertigo to Marnie." It's a classic Hitchcock Wrong Man scenario: Grant is Roger O. Thornhill (initials ROT), 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 sexy Stranger on a Train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most convolutedly choreographed kisses in screen history. And, of course, there are the famous set pieces: the stabbing at the United Nations, the crop-duster plane attack in the cornfield (where a pedestrian has no place to hide), and the cliffhanger finale atop the stone faces of Mount Rushmore. Plus a sparkling Ernest Lehman script and that pulse-quickening Bernard Herrmann score. What more could a moviegoer possibly desire? --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews:

  • How do I love NORTH BY NORTHWEST? Let me count the ways....
    1. Excellent shots "on location" (or not?)
    [Mount Rushmore, an "abandoned" cornfield in the infamous crop dusting scene, with a low flying plane, coming right at Cary Grant's unsuspecting character.]
    2. Wickedly sinister bad guys. [James Mason and Martin Landau]
    3. Wonderful music. [A score by the masterful Benard Herrmann.]
    4. Wonderful director [It's hard to go wrong with Alfred Hitchcock--though, there have been a couple of his films that have made us question this!]
    5. It's available on DVD! [It's about time!]
    What else can I say, but go see it today! ...more info
  • Intense
    "North by Northwest" is an in tense film made in the concept of the wrong man at the wrong time, just like in "The Man that Knew Too Much". Hitchcock is amaster ofdirection and he has chosen a brilliant cast to go with an equally briniant plot. The characters delelop well and Cary Grant offers an amazing perfomance of an innocent man chased all over the US in order to save his life and proove his innocence. Meanwhile romance is thrown in the plot with a mystirious but gorgeous Eva Marie Saint.
    A great addition to your collection. ...more info
  • DVD stops working 1/2 way through
    This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. Unfortunately the DVD that I bought from Amazon marketplace is defective. I didn't try to watch this until after the return period (so money spent was lost). Midway through the film, when Cary Grant is at the auction house, the DVD starts showing just pixels, skips, and nothing further can be seen even when trying to advance to other scenes. The DVD disc itself was brand new, no scratches, so there must have been something wrong with this batch. I hope Warner re-releases this soon....more info
  • Great Classic
    When Roger Thornhill is mistaken for a spy named George Kaplan and abducted by some very bad guys, no one believes his outrageous sounding story. His kidnappers are good at covering their tracks and even Thornhill doesn't realize that George Kaplan doesn't really exist! Thornhill (played by Carey Grant) must find out who Kaplan is, what the bad guys want with him and how to clear his own name in a murder he didn't commit. There are great 'one-liners' and an unforgettable plane/human chase that helps this movie stand out as one of Hitchcock's greatest thrillers.

    Chrissy K. McVay - Author...more info
  • Excellent film and transfer.
    It is marvellous that one of Hitchcock's greatest films has been so beautifully remastered. The colour is magnificent and the sound very good. Great extras as well. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Good thriller
    The addition of pretense can be a killer in a film. It is precisely the lack of such a quality that makes Alfred Hitchcock's two and a quarter hour long 1959 color thriller North By Northwest a better and more enjoyable film than his preceding film, Vertigo, even if the film comes nowhere near the excellence of his following film, Psycho. Whereas the two films that end in -o attempt to impose a deeper psychology into their screenplays, North By Northwest is a popcorn eaters gala pre-James Bondian Cold War thriller. It's no wonder the film was a popular smash while Vertigo was a financial flop.
    On a strictly logical level, little of the film makes much sense, but it's Hitchcock, after all. As example, what is contained on the microfilm that is the film's MacGuffin- inside the statuette, is meaningless and beside the point- which is action and thrills. That there is no logical reason for Cary Grant's character, Roger Thornhill- another Hitchcockian wrongly accused man, a Madison Avenue advertising executive, to be mistaken for the non-existent spy George Kaplan, is another problem. Yet, even though it is done in a rather unconvincing fashion- Thornhill summons a hotel attendant who is paging Kaplan, and the chase is on- few people will debate cause and effect in a film like this. The dopey bad guys see this brief moment and assume everything- a perfect example of the dumbest possible action propelling the plot, which is usually an artistic killer. However, on the plus side, this is one of Cary Grant's best and Cary Grantiest roles. He is charming, delightful, suave, and the fact that he never seems to get a hair out of place in assorted acts of derring-do, even when chased and dusted by that crop duster, in one of the film's most famed scenes, is not a problem, unless one just cannot let the formula silliness wash over them.
    On the negative side is the performance of Eva Marie Saint, as Eve Kendall- the lover/counterspy of James Mason's Soviet mole character, Phillip Vandamm. Saint is stiff and wooden, and even less convincing as a romantic lead than many of the other icy blonds that inhabit the Hitchcock universe. Yes, she's beautiful; second perhaps only to Grace Kelly in the Hitchcockian blond goddess pantheon, but she has absolutely no chemistry with Grant.... Technically, the film holds up much better than many of Hitchcock's other efforts, for the process screens are not always readily detectable, as they are in other of his films- save for the scene where Thornhill does not drive his car off a cliff that the bad guys want him to, and the sets constructed for some of the big chase scenes- especially the Mount Rushmore set, are fabulous, even by modern standards. While the cinematography by Robert Burks is solid, there are no eyepopping moments, and the score by Bernard Herrmann is one of his least memorable, especially considering what was just around the corner in Psycho.
    North By Northwest, whose title is both manifest- given the film's final setting, and obscure and of unknown provenance- although oddly linked to a supposed quote from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, is not a great film, but it is a terrific movie, and because it is such utter and unrepentant fluff it holds up much better than many other 1950s vintage films, including many of Hitchcock's own overrated `masterpieces', such as Rear Window and Vertigo. Yes, if you are the type who must go over everything with even a coarse toothcomb, the film simply will not work, but if you trust that the fun will leave your mind as unmussed as Cary Grant's coiffure, then watch it. After all, the perfect hair of Cary Grant is never something to be diminished.
    ...more info
  • So enjoyable
    You know from the moment you see Saul Bass's marvellous opening credit sequence that this is going to be a great movie. Add Bernard Herman's classic music score and you are immediately on a great rollercoaster of a film.

    Hitchcock gets his cameo role out of the way early then Cary Grant enters. At the time he was 55, but no-one ever look better at this age than Grant. Of course he is mistaken for somebody else and the film lifts off. James Mason, Eva Marie Saint and many others play great supporting roles. There are many famous sequences, the crop spraying, the fight on Mount Rushmore its all very well done, cleverly written and directed with Hitchcocks usual style and wit.

    This was the first film I ever saw on DVD and I was amazed by the quality of the film. The film dates from 1959 but doesn't show it.

    The extras are very good on this disc. There is full commentary by the screenwriter Ernest Lehman and a 39min documentary. In truth you could watch the film without the commentary, then with the commentary and then watch the documentary and start all over again.
    ...more info
  • One of the best ever....
    This film is truly iconic. The look of the cityscape, the beehive activity depicted from the opening frames is classic. People use to dress in those days and they actually cared how they looked. Grant's suit set the standard for decades.

    While this film is fantastic - from beginning to end, it angers me to see the lack of recognition over the last half-century for Bernard Herrmann's music. I've never heard a movie score so stimulating, from the moment the MGM lion leaves the screen to the ending scene - incredible.

    Then it struck me: Philip Glass is a an out-in-out thief. He ripped Herrmann off - completely. Glass is a total fraud. Herrmann's composition and arrangement in this movie has been cannibalized and stolen by Glass in many of his supposed "classic" offerings. A true crime.
    ...more info
  • Review of North by Northwest
    This movie may be old by now, but it is still good. It is a clean suspense story with classic actors and interesting locations. It will hold your attention and you won't be disappointed....more info
  • Cary Grant goes to Mount Rushmore--not just for the sight-seeing!!

    Movie`s hero: "My wives divorced me."
    Movie's heroine: "Why?"
    Hero: "They said I lived too dull a life."

    The above dialogue is found near the end of this classic suspense movie that is even today unparalleled in producing an optimal combination of plot, humour, action, mystery, and intrigue without resorting to clich¨¦s. It was directed by "The Master of Suspense," the great Alfred Hitchcock.

    Look for Hitchcock's characteristic brief cameo appearance after the opening credits. Some say that there is a second cameo.

    Briefly, our hero in this movie, mid-mannered advertising executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), is plunged into the bizarre world of spy (James Mason), counterspy (the heroine in this movie played by Eva Marie Saint), is kidnapped, framed for murder, chased, and even crop-dusted. I should also mention that he "visits" Mount Rushmore and gets up-close to the faces of former U.S. presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln) carved on the mountain.

    The debonair Cary Grant effectively carries this movie. (This was Grants fourth and final teaming with Hitchcock.) Kudos must also go to the terrific supporting cast of Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau (who plays the spy's main henchman), Jesse Royce Landis (who plays Thornhill's mother where in real-life Landis was only eight years older than Grant) and Leo G. Carroll (who plays the head of the C.I.A.).

    Another key ingredient of this movie is its background music. This fantastic orchestral score was composed by Bernard Herrmann. It effectively adds to each scene.

    Where does the movie's title come from? There are actually many theories for its origin. Personally, I think it comes from the fact that as the movie proceeds, Thornhill travels north on Northwest Airlines. (One of the original titles for this movie was "The Man in Lincoln's Nose.")

    Finally, the DVD (the one released in 2004) is perfect in picture and sound quality. It has eight interesting extras.

    In conclusion, this is one of those movie gems that, in my opinion, deserves to be called a "classic." Roger Thornhill's ex-wives were wrong. He definitely does not have a dull life!!

    Recommendation: watch this movie on as large of a screen as possible.

    (1959; 2 hr, 15 min; wide screen; 46 scenes; colour)


    ...more info
  • Colorized classic
    An unfortunate aspect of growing up in America is that the turnover in culture is so fast that many older classics are almost unknown to the modern generation. This is especially so with old movies, which, outside of holiday fare like the Ten Commandments or The Sound of Music, do not make comebacks once a decade or so, unlike clothing fashions. This is why so many young people have never seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie. For the longest time, I was one of the ignorant masses, until my mother told me about this great movie-maker. I picked this up at the local library and watched it, and was amazed. This is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen. Part thriller, part romance, part suspense and part action, this movie presaged modern Hollywood fare such as The Fugitive, National Security, and Enemy of the State for example. There is gunfights, chase scenes, set-ups, cliffhangers (literally), and of course the famous cover shot of Cary Grant getting chased by an airplane in an open field. And like many modern action movies, this one has the climax right at the very end, followed immediately by a cut to the closing kiss of hero and heroine.

    This DVD restoration is great. The film and audio quality is flawless. The special effects are also top-notch and comparable to anything seen on network TV today. And most importantly, a great storyline. I highly recommend this movie....more info
  • Is this Roger Thornhill or Bond, James Bond?
    This 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film was the fourth and last "spy" film that he did with Cary Grant. The others are Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), and To Catch a Thief (1955).

    I realize that Hitchcock was a close friend of Albert Broccoli (James Bond films)and Cary Grant was the original pick by Albert Broccoli to play James Bond, but the character in this film, Roger Thornhill, reminded so much of James Bond, that I had a hard time trying to convince myself that this isn't a "Bond" film. I realize that Dr. No (the first Bond film) came out in 1962. BUT, was Bond's film character patterned on this wonderful movie? The resemblance is so great, Thornhill even had a martini!

    Briefly, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a U.S. undercover agent, abducted, framed for murder, nobody believes his story so he's on the run. He meets a counter spy (Eva Marie Saint) and has one of the longest on-screen kisses with her.

    This movie has so many great scenes. Among them are the stabbing at the United Nations (where Thornhill was framed for murder), A crop dusting plane that attacked our running hero (which incidently was the influence for the helicopter scene in From Russia With Love---again, Bond) and the great chase around the presidents' faces at Mt. Rushmore.

    This film also starred James Mason and Martin Landau.

    This is one cinema masterpiece! Watch and enjoy, especially if you like James Bond films, but remember it's not......more info
  • Buyer Beware
    My son (34) requested this for his Christmas gift. When he received it the DVD was defective, freezing up about half-way through. He then ordered one on his own, and this one did the same thing. Amazon is very good about refunds, but apparently there is a problem with this DVD. I hope Amazon gets this worked out with its supplier, saving customers the hassle of shipping it back....more info
  • now this is entertainment!
    It's the story of a man, who through a series of misunderstandings and coincidences becomes a victim of a spy and espionage set-up. When you first watch North By Northwest you may think, it's a very entertaining movie and nothing beyond that. Actually it is an extremely entertaining story and nothing beyond that. And it is one of the greatest examples of the genius of Hitchcock! He's the only director I know who could take a story as trivial and create such a mood of place and character, that every scene is successful in tone, mood and creative scene development. I feel like I've been put in a slight hypnotic state every time I see it. It is the bible of narrative for the action and spy genre. And I believe set the tone for the Bond films, which have never equalled it! ...more info
  • North by Northwest,suspense at its best!
    Right next to The Birds, I would rate this as one of Alfred Hitchcock's best thrillers! Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint are superb in their talented roles of the wrong man at the wrong time. From New York, to Chicago, to Indiana to Mt. Rushmore,it is over two hours of great suspense and scenery. By the way if you live and encounter a crop dusting plane be careful! You will be on the edge of your seat with this classic!...more info
  • This is the movie for people who love movies...
    A case of mistaken identity sends a charming advertising executive on a cross country adventure filled with terror, murder and, believe it or not, love. Yes, `North by Northwest' is Alfred Hitchcock at his finest. Engrossing, deceptive and visually stunning; this is the type of `no holds bar' entertainment that keeps you glued to your seat throughout and begging for more upon the roll of the credits.

    The ever so dapper Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a man mistaken to be a undercover agent by enemy spies. When they fail to kill him he winds up getting himself in deep with the feds as his story about kidnapping and spies seems as preposterous as it is convoluted. Roger has to then take maters into his own hands in order to save his own life. This is when he meets the beautiful Eve Kendall, and as soon as sparks begin to fly his whole world gets flipped upside down.

    I don't want to give away too much, but the great thing about Hitchcock is being able to experience it the way he intended; knowing very little. The more you know the less you can truly be surprised by everything that Hitchcock has in store for you; and believe me, he has a lot in store with this one.

    From the stunning sets to the brilliantly choreographed stunts, this is a complete package; a marvelously crafted action thriller that actually has substance. It doesn't trim away the intelligence to deliver a half hearted spectacle but balances the two brilliantly, as do most of Hitchcock's films. The film is clever as all get out, which makes watching Roger get himself in and then out of trouble so much fun. The performances are also very good here. Cary Grant is an actor I am not very familiar with, but general consensus of his work is that he is more charm than depth. I found him a perfect balance of both here, able to fluctuate effortlessly between his emotions and his characters grasp of his situation. James Mason is amazing as the sinister Phillip Vandamm and Eva Marie Saint is stellar as Roger's love interest Eve. She has this sensuality that permeates her scenes and draws us into her mystery.

    LOVE IT!

    Anyways, I totally recommend this one. Like I said, I fear for saying too much so I'm cutting this one short. It is totally worth it though, for any film fan. It is just a great film, no matter which way you look at it. Even those who are not fans of Hitchcock (like my wife) can enjoy this film. If you love movies, you'll love this....more info
  • The elegant thriller, as invented by Hitchcock
    When I first saw this movie, I wasn't worldly enough to appreciate the final shot (train plunging into tunnel). After all, I was only 12 years old. I wandered into a neighborhood theatre one afternoon and saw this picture, probably lured by the poster showing Cary Grant being chased by a biplane. This was when neighborhood movie houses showed big-screen movies on a big screen. It was real moviegoing then. The screens have gotten smaller and so have the movies.

    I was enthralled from start to finished. I resolved to be suave & debonaire like Grant when I grew up. I missed the mark, by just a little. I thought Eva Marie Saint was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on. The scene where they meet in the dining car is amazing. Any fan of movie romance shouldn't miss it.

    I think Sean Connery studied this movie when he got the James Bond part....more info
  • One of Hitchcock's Best
    Hitchcock and Grant in one of the great suspense movies of all time. Has 2 of the most famous scenes in movie history and is a must-see for any movie buff. Ideally, this movie is seen on the big screen, but not really practical for most of us. Absolutely recommended.......more info
  • North by North West Dvd
    Awesome work with adding color to a B&W movie. It is very seamless and beautiful....more info
  • "The Man Who Sneezed in Lincoln's Nose"

    *** This comment may contain spoilers ***

    Alfred Hitchcock knew a recipe for a perfect thriller because he had made many but among his films, "North by Northwest" (1959) stands out as a great combination of suspense, sex, and humor. The film is based on a case of mistaken identity that in a course of a few days makes a likable (even if slightly arrogant) Manhattan ad-man Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) the object of a cross country spy hunt. Having no clue what is happening to him, Thornhill will be kidnapped by the spies, brought to an unknown mansion and after the questioning forced to get drunk. He will get arrested for a stealing a car and drunk driving of which he has no recollection. It is just the beginning. Next, he finds himself in the UN building talking to a man who drops dead in the middle of the conversation in front of hundreds of people. The worst part - the man is murdered and Thornhill has the murder weapon, the knife in his hand. Both, the police and the spies are on his trail and his only hope is to escape NYC by train where a very sexy blonde named Eve (Eva Marie Saint) is ready to help him. Their encounter leads to one of the sexiest scenes ever filmed without any sexual act involved.

    The film is packed with the witty and funny dialogs and one- liners as well as with artful and imaginative set pieces including Grant running for his life across the prairie from an evil crop-duster and the climatic chase on Mount Rushmore. Hitchcock who always wanted to make a film with two scenes - a chase on the face of a president and the attempt to wake up the Peru Ambassador during the assembly in UN who turned to be dead, had his dreams fulfilled with "North by Northwest" which he suggested should be called "The Man Who Sneezed in Lincoln's Nose". Among many of film's pleasures are Eva Marie Saint as sexy stranger on a train and James Mason and young Martin Landau as a duet of villains with a complicated relationship.

    ...more info
  • Cary Grant at his best!
    This is by far one of Cary Grant's best films. We now own the collection of most Alfred Hitchcock movies and actually play a game while watching them, for invariably he appears during his films. We watch and see who can spot his cameo appearances... my favorite is when Mr. Hitchcock is part of a portrait... so we had a devil of a time finding him during the movie.

    North by Northwest was produced in 1959 and it has a recipe of romance, intrigue, thrilling action, and mystery that produces a brilliant performance by Cary Grant.

    Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, an advertising executive who is erroneously kidnapped by enemies of a certain George Kaplan, supposedly a United States undercover agent. Mr. Thornhill is drugged but escapes and a fascinating series of events start to shape the plot. During this film, we see the appearance of great actors from Mission Impossible, the Man from Uncle, and other shows, which keep us at the edge of our seat with their mystery, thrilling action, and romance.

    Eva Marie Saint plays the part of the woman Cary Grant falls for. She is sexy, elegant, poised... and the two engage in some of the most interesting dialogue, which at some point, culminates in the most interesting of romantic kisses ever produced by Hollywood.

    The filming in New York City allows the audience to travel through Manhattan in the 50's and it is amazing how it all remains the same, and yet due to security... it is all so very different, especially with regards to visiting the United Nations, where there is a stabbing not to be missed for it is something that could not take place in today's terms.

    The end of the movie is a classic cliffhanger that takes place atop the stone faces of Mount Rushmore! Do not miss this movie! Cary Grant at his best!...more info
    I read the bad reviews on the disc and there was a few complaints about the disc's failing. There may have been a bad batch out there but I didn't get one. Out of all the thousands sold Amazon only got about 8 or 9
    complaints, it almost swayed me not to buy it but I took a chance and came out o.k.. Watching this movie in the widescreen format is the only way to watch it....more info
  • North byNorthwest
    The video quality of this DVD is excellent. Though the package doesn't say that it has been remastered, it is better than my previous DVD version. To me, it was worth the cost to upgrade.

    It was by reading the amazon reviews that I chose the latest versions of "North by Northwest" and "To Catch a Thief." I want to thank those of you who submitted the previous reviews, and commented on the quality of the video images....more info
  • One of Hitchcock's best
    Have watched this movie several times over the years and it never gets old. The usual Hitchcock suspense and drama are present, but the combination of Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant is superb. Great flick....more info
  • Masterpiece
    One of the great movies of all time. One of Hitchcock's best. rather than go for the boxed set - which includes a few of his lesser lights - decided to cherry pick a gem. North By Northwest is a classic. AFI Top 100. Anyone who's a fan of Hitchcock - or just suspense in general - or great movies specifically - you cannot miss with this one....more info
  • the best classic film ever!
    What can I say? This movie is great. It has everything, from intense action and mystery that is built up by the amazing score, to the perfect actors and actresses portraying well written and witty, and sometimes sexy, dialogue. As well as the exoticly filmed locations and that 50-60's style. Recommended for everyone....more info
  • This is why he is Cary Grant and you are not
    If any film can be timeless, this is it. A government agency with no regard for our civil liberties, a man whose single minded pursuit of booze and babes leads to his undoing, and a hot blonde chic who never makes love on an empty stomach... and James Mason as a bad man with class. Hitchcock eases Cary Grant through this role with such cool believability, it make me want to take the train....more info
  • great seller but incomplete dvd
    I received this dvd and was disappointed that it only went to scene 32. When I emailed the seller, they immediately offered a prepaid return and sent me another dvd. They never received my return in the mail, but sent a replacement anyway. The new DVD, brand new and in the wrapper, also only went to scene 32. While I am very satisfied with the response of the seller and rate them a 5/5 stars, I think I will write to the company, warnervideo, and ask them to replace the DVD....more info
  • No hotter love scene anywhere...
    A good film and a great film...

    No spoilers here. Simply mentioning things not mentioned (much) in other reviews, here:

    The frenetic music as Manhattan traffic is reflected in one of the anonymous AKA boring glass International Style skyscrapers. Hitch's hymn to the worst of modern life. Doreen Lang as Maggie, Grant's cute and long-suffering secretary and their dialogue from the lobby throughout the taxi ride. No hotter love scene anywhere, in any film, ever made, than when Cary Grant ends up at Eva Marie Saint's table in the dining car. Scorching! Grant's line "I've never been in Pittsburgh!" Hitch loves cars and the juxtapositions of them are fun throughout--some of the best and worst models ever made are clustered in this film. Old Westbury looks nice on film. Jessie Royce Landis' lines in traffic court ("Roger, pay the two dollars!") and in the elevator ("You boys aren't really trying to kill my son?"). The auction scene scene. The sunglasses scene. The shaving scene. The female patient's "Stop!...STOP!" classic double take when Cary Grant appears in her hospital room. The pseudo Frank Lloyd Wright hideout. Every detail is dead on. In Summary...

    This is without any argument or exception one of the top ten films of all time and Hitchcock's best, bar none.
    ...more info
  • Arrived damaged
    The DVD arrived damaged and I had to return it for a refund, a replacement was not an option....more info