North by Northwest

This is a film, which received favorable reviews at the time that it was produced in 1959 by Alfred Hitchcock using VistaVision , starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason.  It’s a suspenseful, spy thriller that has an innocent man is wrongfully accused of crimes who then becomes an everyday hero, and that has many elements commonly seen in Hitchcock films.  This paper will address some of these themes, character usage and filming techniques which enhance the film to make North by Northwest the masterpiece that it is. Some of the common elements we see are the usage of phobias, the usage of clothing to shape our perception of characters, an untrustworthy female, and a dysfunctional mother-son relationship.  All of these elements can be seen in other Hitchcock films such as Psycho or Vertigo, so that will also be addressed in this paper.  In addition to this, it will look at the way certain aspects of the film were shot, including a specific scene (the famous crop-dusting plane scene) and the scenes where famous American sites are filmed.  The paper will talk about all these elements that come together to make the film so excellent.

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