Today I caught North by Northwest, the 1959 Hitchcock thriller about Roger Thornhill, an advertising executive who gets mistaken for an undercover agent. My expectation going into this viewing was low, save for the rave reviews it has gotten during its lifetime. I try not to allow those types of reviews cloud my judgment, though.
Spoiler alert: My impression of the film immediately after watching it? Good, but it ran pretty long. There’s something about that dialogue that feels stilted. It’s easy to tell the actors were reading a script, but it also felt like they moved through those parts quickly to get to more interesting events. I especially liked the auctionhouse scene where Thornhill evades capture from the bad guys by getting captured by the police, instead.
For being such a classic film, I was a bit disappointed to notice no major points of the movie that became pop culture references. It’s always interesting to me when watching older movies to find those “Ah, so THAT’S where that came from” moments. Alas, aside from a Family Guy episode (North by North Quahog), there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of classic moments, save for the climax on Mount Rushmore.
So that’s North by Northwest! From the perspective of a modern young, unwashed movie watcher, it was pretty good! Some parts of the movie dragged a bit behind slow dialogue, and the script itself was only ok, in my mind. The vernacular and technology of the day was at times a bit foreign (red caps in a train station, using operators to trace calls, etc.), but there was not much that was totally out of my comprehension. All in all, a good film. I would not watch it again in short order since it felt a bit like a slog, but I would recommend you catch it if you like suspense.