North by Northwest (Hitchcock, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.10pm
Martin Landau, star of North by Northwest will be in conversation tonight in NFT 1 at 6.10pm.
Here is Landau talking about his role in the film.
Time Out review: 'Fifty years on, you could say that Hitchcock’s
sleek, wry, paranoid thriller caught the zeitgeist perfectly: Cold War
shadiness, secret agents of power, urbane modernism, the ant-like bustle
of city life, and a hint of dread behind the sharp suits of affluence. Cary Grant’s
Roger Thornhill, the film’s sharply dressed ad exec who is sucked into a
vortex of mistaken identity, certainly wouldn’t be out of place in ‘Mad
Men’. But there’s nothing dated about this perfect storm of talent,
from Hitchcock and Grant to writer Ernest Lehman (‘Sweet Smell of Success’), co-stars James Mason and Eva Marie Saint, composer Bernard Herrmann and even designer Saul Bass, whose opening-credits sequence still manages to send a shiver down the spine.
breezes through a tongue-in-cheek, nightmarish plot with a lightness of
touch that’s equalled by a charming performance from Grant (below), who
copes effortlessly with the script’s dash between claustrophobia and
intrigue on one hand and romance and comedy on the other. The story is a
pass-the-parcel of escalating threats, all of them interior fears
turned inside-out: doubting mothers, untrustworthy lovers, vague
government handlers, corrupt cops. Within minutes of the film’s opening,
shady strangers in a hotel lobby mistake Thornhill for a ‘George
Caplin’ and from there we sprint from country house to the United
Nations, from the ticket hall of Grand Central Station to Mount Rushmore
in South Dakota. Thornhill’s ignorance of his fate and complete lack of
control offer Hitchcock a brilliant blank canvas on which to experiment
with a story that would sound ludicrous on paper, yet it feels like
anything’s possible in Lehman’s playful script. ‘I’m an advertising man,
not a red herring,’ says Thornhill. He couldn’t be more mistaken.' Dave Calhoun
Here is the trailer.