Classic Film - North By Northwest

The refurbished viewing room in the Paramount building in Surrey Hills, Sydney has a swanky new small bar attached and a coffee shop upstairs.  Most importantly it is showing a combination of classic films and new independent films.  This Golden Age cinema recently showed North By Northwest, Hitchcock's masterpiece from 1959.  It was fabulous to see it on the big screen, well bigger than a TV screen, it IS a converted viewing room.  

North By Northwest is a typical mistaken identity thriller, but what makes it different from the others is the fantastic performance by Cary Grant, the light tone and the great visuals (for the day) that conjured up that classic scene. James Mason and Eve Marie Saint are also very good and the style of the picture is still felt today.  According to a panel of fashion experts convened by GQ in 2006, it was not the clothes worn by Eve Marie Saint that had the impact, but Cary Grant's grey suit.  It is "the best suit in film history, and the most influential on men's style, stating that it has since been copied for Tom Cruise's character in Collateral and Ben Affleck's character in Paycheck."  Who knew?

Fashion aside, the film does manage to delight as it scrambles across the US on planes, trains and automobiles.  It makes train travel sexy and has the biggest chase scene across Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, both things I am not sure would be in a movie these days.  Many things have been written about this movie, from cinematography techniques to narrative structure to the role of women in films, all tell us about the importance of this film, but that is its legacy.  Like any great movie, it is better just to see it and If you get the chance to watch this movie on the big screen, I recommend it.