North by Northwest

"I’m an advertising man, not a red herring.”

When it came time to cast the lead for his new film North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock found himself in a pickle. He had already discussed the film with James Stewart, the star of the film he just wrapped up – Vertigo – and Stewart wanted the role. Hitchcock had another actor he’d worked with in mind – Cary Grant. Too embarrassed to tell Stewart that, Hitchcock had to put off the filming of the movie until Stewart was locked in with his next film before he told him. That way, Stewart would be forced to turn it down due to his prior commitments and Hitchcock could go along and cast Grant, the actor he’d wanted from the start. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Cary Grant series with Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest.

We talk about why this film works so well and how it’s such a strong representative of the ‘wrongfully accused man on the run’ trope. We chat about the actors Hitchcock cast in the film with Grant – Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau, and more – and what they bring to the table. We look at how well constructed the film is, from the largely quiet crop duster scene to the climax hanging from the edges of Mt. Rushmore. And we chat about Robert Burks’ cinematography, Robert Boyle’s production design, and of course Bernard Herrmann’s score and how they contributed to the picture.

It’s a top notch thrill ride and we have a great time talking about it on this week’s show. Check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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