Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"What does the O stand for?"

Why do I find myself incapable of ever falling madly in love with North By Northwest? I've seen Hitchcock's 1959 flick probably a dozen times or more; I've read all the back-stories and rave reviews that are out there. But still, as much as I do enjoy it, I never feel as if it holds a dear place in my heart.

It's an odd statement to make, this being a Cary Grant film, but I think it could be that NbNW is so much less queer than my favorite Hitch flicks. Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho... they're all awash in sexual depravity and degradation. I mean, sure, NbNW ends with that lovable Freudian sight-gag of the train entering the tunnel, but otherwise it's, well, just not fucked up enough for me.

Like Notorious, NbNW does involve a lady using her intimate parts in service for her country, but unlike Notorious Cary Grant's cruelness to his intended paramour ends once he knows what she's doing, where in Notorious that's where his cruelty (and the fun!) begins.

All this ricocheted around in my mind this weekend when I caught some of the flick on TV. Like most Hitch-flicks, it's impossible for me to change the channel once I come upon them, so I hunkered down and gave in the film's many pleasures. And there are many, many, many upon many. (I feel the need to reiterate here, lest I get shit, that I am not calling this movie any less than a masterpiece. It's just never connected personally to my happy-zone like other Hitch-flicks.) But as for the film's pleasantries, watching it this time I was struck by the beauty of some of the shots. It shouldn't come as a shock, but this is a marvelously good-looking film. And so I decided to grab some frames to give us something pretty to look at on a dreary Tuesday. (And keep your eyes peeled for the sheer abundance of lines built into the mise-en-scène that head (you guessed it) north-westernish. It's ridiculous, and I didn't even post the most egregious offenders.) Enjoy!

And I never realized until grabbing these frames how much of the enjoyment I take from this movie is due to architecture porn, and Eva Marie Saint's Edith Head-designed wardrobe (That red and black dress! My god).


Matt Kilgore said...

i agree completely. "North by Northwest" is a beautifully shot masterpiece, but I don't think it would even fit in my top 10 Hitchcock films.

Hugh Man said...

I Can't believe you didn't mention Rope in the depravity section! oh goodness!

Jason Adams said...

I wasn't listing all the depraved films Hitch has done there, just name-dropping the first couple that came to mind. If I'd named all his depraved films it would've swallowed the post whole. But yes, of course Rope is depraved! Delightfully so. Mmm Farley.

J.D. said...

I just saw this for the first on Saturday! Sure, it's not like, top-tier Hitch, but I pretty much loved every second. And Saint, randomly.

OMG Farley. I saw Rope and Strangers on a Train like, really close together, and I'm pretty sure I fell in love or something. Dayam.