North by Northwest: Paging Mr. George Kaplan

Released in 1959, North by Northwest is a film about an advertising executive, Roger Thornhill (played by Cary Grant), who is mistaken for a U.S. spy. This causes him to nearly be killed on a number of occasions by enemy spies led by Phillip Vandamm (James Mason). This paper discusses the theatrical themes found in North by Northwest, especially the “play within a play” motif. This paper also explores the importance of Cary Grant as its star. It discusses the true identity of George Kaplan, the spy Thornhill is mistaken for. Importantly, this paper also discusses the host of roles Thornhill assumes in his attempt to survive, clear his name, and save the spy he has fallen for, Eve Kendall (played by Eva Marie Saint). This paper cites the work of scholars such as Stanley Cavell and Robin Wood, whose textbooks are used in this class, as well as other Hitchcock analyzers like Leslie Brill and Richard Allen. North by Northwest, containing famous scenes such as the “crop duster sequence” and the “Mount Rushmore descent,” is considered one of Hitchcock’s greatest films, and this paper offers a view as to what makes it so great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *