North by Northwest (1959)

It’s good.  Maybe there was too much hype for it to live up to but it was good.

This is classic normal guy sucked into the spy world at it’s early finest.  It’s interesting to see the scope of it all, 2,000 miles across the country while keeping up the action and tension.  There were some tidy deus ex machina moments.  I wish I could say I loved it but I can’t, I just liked it.  It was a lot of fun watching Cary Grant try to deal with Eva Marie Saint, I swear there were moments when he just didn’t seem to know quite what to do with her.  She was a twist on the usual female character in these movies and there were moments that I was reminded of Heath Ledger’s effect on The Dark Knight.  It’s sort of a runaway character who threatens to usurp “the usual” and give us something quite new and unexpected.  They subvert the storyline so much that we become more interested in them than the lead and the change in focus twists the story a bit.  I think Hitchcock was too experienced to #1, let that happen too much and #2, be willing to take the chance on seeing where she’d go with it.

So yes, by all means put this on your list of spy movies to watch.  It’s got spies and secret identities, mistaken identities, femme fatales, the CIA, espionage and counterespionage, assassination, car chases and taxi chases and chases on trains and on planes, it’s got quite a bit of nice camera work, a pretty lady, some nice twists in the story, some decent bad guys and etc. and etc.

Maybe I just don’t like Cary Grant as much as he liked himself…

I did learn a new colloquialism however.  C’est guerre.  Movie wasn’t as good as you wanted?  C’est guerre…