North By Northwest – Part 2

Podcast Episode

North By Northwest – Part 2

Join Dan and Tom as they are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Today they navigate through part 2 of the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

Join Dan and Tom as they dive deeply into Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 “monumental” spy thriller, North by Northwest.  Some have called this the first Bond movie!  From New York City to Chicago to Mount Rushmore, the thrill is on!

We look at scenes, comparisons to other spy movies, actors and insights into the key scenes and backstories!    Fun stuff for one of the best spy films ever created, with one iconic scene that everyone knows, the Crop Duster scene!

This is part 2 of a 2 Part North by Northwest podcast.

Related Content

This 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic is one of the great spy movies.
In part 2 of this podcast, we’ll examine:
  • The Crop Duster Scene
  •  How the Crop Duster Scene influenced a scene in the movie From Russia With Love
  •  How did they get to that address in Chicago
  •  The Auction Scene
  •  The double pursuit
  •  Roger’s death
  •  Roger’s influence on women
  •  Mount Rushmore
  •  The last train ride

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North By Northwest – Part 1

Podcast Episode

North By Northwest – Part 1

Join Dan and Tom as they are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Today they navigate through part 1 of the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

Join Dan and Tom as they dive deeply into Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 “monumental” spy thriller, North by Northwest.  Some have called this the first Bond movie!  From New York City to Chicago to Mount Rushmore, the thrill is on!

We look at scenes, comparisons to other spy movies, actors and insights into the key scenes and backstories!    Fun stuff for one of the best spy films ever created, with one iconic scene that everyone knows, the Crop Duster scene!

This is part 1 of a 2 Part North by Northwest podcast.

Related Content

This 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest,  is one of the great spy movies of all time.

In part 1 of this podcast, we’ll examine:

  • The overall plot of North by Northwest
  • Is this really the first James Bond movie (albeit without James Bond)?
  • Roger’s unfortunate case of mistaken identity
  • How two early scenes may have influenced On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    • Let’s all sit in the back seat and I’ll joke around
    • Is that how you hold a cigarette?
  • Where the line “Pay the 2 dollars” originated
  • How Hitchcock got the shot of the United Nations building
  • The sexual conversations Eve and Roger have on the train
    • Including one word that had to be overdubbed
  •  A reference to David O. Selznick

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A Case of Mistaken Identity

Roger Thornhill gets mistaken for someone named George Kaplan.  This simple mistake will cause Roger many problems.   Notice how he is put in the back seat of the car between two henchmen.   We've seen in another movie - On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Listen to our podcast on North by Northwest where we go into more detail about this car ride.

Mr. Townsend’s Death

In this scene, Roger learns that Mr. Townsend is not the man he thinks he is. Roger (Cary Grant) finally meets the real Mr. Townsend and realizes he's been duped. In this clip, we see the meeting at the United Nations building and what happens to Mr. Townsend.  Pay attention to the camera angles - fantastic - especially the last one!

Now this is a train scene

Most Erotic Conversation!  Of all the train scenes we've seen in spy movies, this clip shows one of the most erotic conversations ever.  It puts any conversation between James Bond and a Bond Girl to shame.  And this is in 1959! The quips between Eve and Roger are amazing.  They even had to dub out a line that was too risqué. Watch Eve's lips in the clip and see what you think!  Listen to our podcast to hear our take on this scene!

North By Northwest (1959)

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller, North by Northwest is a movie about an advertising executive who gets caught up in the world of spies. A case of mistaken identity early in the movie sets Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and the audience up for a thrilling journey across America.

In this curation (and in the podcast), we examine things beyond just the scope of the movie, and its interrelationship with other movies and events:

  • A crafty, yet charming villain, much like Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill
  • Suspense on a train
  • How the henchmen put Thornhill in the car which foretells a scene in James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
  • An unknown criminal organization – Can you say Spectre or Quantum?
  • Stars from the television shows “Get Smart” and Man From U.N.C.L.E. are the good guys in this movie year’s before their tv spy-dom
  • A joke that is told is based on an old vaudeville routine and first showed up on film in the 1945 movie Ziegfeld Follies
  • Airplanes trying to run the hero down, a la James Bond in From Russia With Love
  • And many others

RELATED CONTENT:


It’s a crop duster – look out!

One of the Most Famous Scenes in ANY Movie: Check out this scene that foretells something similar in From Russia With Love.  It's a crop duster, Roger - DUCK or you'll lose your head.  Fabulous photography and directing here.  You can feel the tension and fear.  As Hitchcock once said, "I just want to scare the hell out of people."  This is one of his most famous scenes, ever, to do just that.

Getting Out Of A Bad Situation

We've seen auction scenes in spy movies since North by Northwest (think Octopussy), but we can't think of one before this movie.  In this scene, Roger must use his wits and create a diversion to get out of a bad situation at an auction. The way he does this is both funny and brilliant.  We want-to-be spies must remember this scene when we're up against it.

The Precursor To Bond’s Appeal To Women?

This scene is short but impactfully funny.  Roger is trying to escape and ends up cutting through this woman's room.  At first, she's aghast.  Then she sees Roger and changes her tune. She only utters the same word twice.  Both times have very different meanings.   Roger's reaction is wonderful. This movie came out four years before the James Bond movie Dr. No, but Roger's sex appeal to women here sure carries over to the Bond series.

When the girl shoots the hero

Will Eve Shoot Roger?  This scene in North By Northwest was shot on location at the Mount Rushmore restaurant.   Another fabulous scene, where Hitchcock builds up suspense for a big finish to this scene.   Little things, like Leonard (Landau) straightening his tie as he walks over to Eve and Philip Vandamm  Also,  pay close attention to the boy behind Eve - so natural and perfect.

Mount Rushmore

A great spy movie needs great scenery.  Check out this clip of Roger & Eve as they try to escape Leonard (Martin Landau) on Mount Rushmore.  Again, great tension, great anticipation, great photography - the hallmarks of a Hitchcock film, and this spy film!  We will see lots of Bond films with great fight scenes taking place in perilous places - some of that began here.

All’s well that ends well

The movie ends with Roger and Eve on Mount Rushmore.  He's just proposed but Leonard is still pursuing them.   More tension, and then a great Hitchcock cut takes us to the final scene.   Train through the tunnel . . . concludes the film that Hitchcock mastered as a very sensuous movie in 1959!  We will see many spy movies to come, where the spy and the woman unite at the end!

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