An advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent and finds his life threatened by a ruthless spy ring.
North By Northwest contains many of Hitchcock’s favourite ingredients, including the innocent protagonist in over his head in a world he doesn’t entirely understand, mistaken identity, a beautiful femme fatale and a cross country race against time. In many ways it is like an early James Bond film where Bond hasn’t actually got a clue what he’s doing and it makes a refreshing change from the infallible, indestructible hero common to many spy movies; think of it as the anti-Taken. Cary Grant makes a very likeable hero – although he cannot resist playing some of the scenes for laughs which doesn’t always sit well with the tone of the story – and it always looks glorious; the style of the film is surely a huge influence on popular TV series Mad Men.
Blending elements from The 39 Steps, Vertigo and The Man Who Knew Too Much, North By Northwest is not Hitchcock’s weightiest effort but fans will find its charm, humour and intrigue irresistible.