Abstract

A plot focusing on two leads, one male and one female, and their relationship is a very classic cinema structure, and one which clearly appears in North by Northwest‘s focus on Cary Grant as Roger O. Thornhill and Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall.   Even outsides of the focus on the relationship between Kendall and Thornhill, North by Northwest‘s plot is clearly derivative of earlier Hitchcock films, such as The 39 Steps, The Wrong Man, and Strangers on a Train.  Despite these lack of originality in terms of Plot, North by Northwest is made complex and thematically rich by the two main characters.  Both Kendall and Thornhill being viewed as objects of lust generates a complexity in the role of gender stereotypes in the films, with Grant’s objectification breaking the male stereotype and Kendall’s supporting female stereotypes.  Kendall’s role as a female spy using seduction as an espionage technique also creates an interesting theme of women taking charge of their lives in terms of employment and sexuality, which relates the film to political events in the women’s liberation movement around the time of the film’s release.  Overall, this paper focuses on analyzing how the two main characters allow North by Northwest to transcend its conventional plot structure and become more thoughtful and thematically meaningful.

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