If you actually read this blog, not just look at the pictures, you will know I LOVE Cary Grant. I also LOVE Alfred Hitchcock, so it should be no surprise that my favorite Archie/Alfie film is "North By Northwest". I also think that is is Hitchcock's best film.
Cary is Roger O. Thornhill (the O. was a nod to David O. Selznick, because in both cases, the O means nothing). Roger is an ad man by trade who loves his mother and needs his secretary to take taxi rides with him to jot down his thoughts.
Alfred makes his cameo very early on as he misses the bus.
"Take her back to where she came from."
Roger meets with some business men and gets identified incorrectly as George Caplan. Apparently Caplan is wanted dead because Roger is driven to a private mansion, and when refusing to give up "information" is given way too much bourbon and sent driving.
To the villain's surprise he is not killed but pulled over for a DUI. I love the scene where Roger is in the police station making his one phone call to his mother. He tells her the bad guys made him drink a whole bottle of bourbon and the replies, "No, they didn't give me a chaser!"
Roger then takes the police, and his mother, back to the mansion to investigate, and find that everyone there is playing dumb and make Roger look like he is nuts. He then tries to find the real George Caplan and ends up finding a man right before his murder. Cary is in a pickle when it looks like he did it!
He jumps on a train to escape and meets Eve Kendall, played by the beautiful Eva Marie Saint. She helps him get away from the police and they start to canoodle. She hides him in her top bed bunk and they eat lunch together.
At lunch they talk about how he is a fugitive but he didn't
do it. Must have been some conversation because that night they go all the way. They leave the next morning as Roger dressed as a luggage carrier. It works.
We learn that there is no real George Caplan and that Eve is a secret agent pretending to be dating the bad guys, but Roger doesn't know that yet. Eve makes a few phone calls and tells Roger to meet the real "George Caplan" in the middle of nowhere. So he does. The crop duster chases him, yada, yada, yada and he gets away when the plane crashes into the truck.
He meets up with Eve, very aware that she is also a bad guy at this point and she tries to play it off. They part ways only to meet again at an auction. Roger purposely gets arrested by being obnoxious to escape the villains once again. Eve is in love and feels bad, but can't blow her cover!
Roger is taken by an agent and learns the whole thing. Because Roger is so hot Eve is attracted to him and is throwing off her make-believe-bad-man-boyfriend. Roger must continue with being George Caplan to save her life. They go to Mt. Rushmore and Eve shoots Roger.
I love the gals tourist clothes!
Roger is rushed away and when Roger and Eve meet in the next scene we learn it was all a hoax to throw the bad guys off and think Roger is dead. If you haven't ever heard of the importance of this scene, it is because the boy in the background behind Eve plugs his ears before Eve shoots. Not a method extra!
Roger is to part ways and let the CIA do their job. But Roger wants to save Eve on his own. He sneaks out of his room and off to the bad guys lair, which is an awesome but real life faux house. He learns that the bad guys found Eve's gun with blanks in it and that she is a double crosser. They plan to fly out that night and throw her out of the plane!
I didn't know bad guys carried so many reading materials when they fly.
Roger gets to Eve and they escape, but the only way out is down the monument. This scene was done the on a sound stage. No image of the presidents is visible during the "violence". Alfred was classy.
The final act is a suspenseful one that ends with love.
Alfred hated the clothes that wardrobe chose for Eva so he went to Bergdorff's and bought her new ones. Cary didn't feel right playing this part because he was so much older than the character. His fictional mother was really only seven years older than him.