Abstract: North by Northwest

My paper argues that in the film North by Northwest, the leading man, Roger Thornhill, develops into a more well-rounded, mature individual in three major stages. Roger Thornhill’s character development is influenced by three major catalysts: being mistaken for George Kaplan, meeting Eve Kendall, and the Professor’s revelation over the true nature of the situation Thornhill has become embroiled in. North by Northwest provides insight into Hitchcock’s movie-making process by revealing connections between North by Northwest, Hitchcock’s earlier film, The 39 Steps, and John Buchan’s novel, The 39 Steps. The paper also provides clues as to why Cary Grant was chosen to play the role of Roger Thornhill and insight into Hitchcock’s personality. The film contains familiar motifs like the blonde female lead, innocent man being pursued, and the incompetence of the police. This is Hitchcock’s only film in which the female and male leads are clearly married by the end of the film. My paper emphasizes how Thornhill’s growing love and dependence on Eve Kendall allowed him to overcome his myriad of faults and become a more complete person in the process.

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