One of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, this fast-paced thriller stars Cary Grant as a Madison Avenue executive who is mistaken for someone else, a certain Kaplan, and kidnapped by a group of international spies led by James Mason. After a hair-raising escape, he is framed for a murder he didn't commit and goes on the run. Famous for its wild plane attack and the harrowing climactic chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore, this movie is quintessential Hitchcock.
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Roger O. Thornhill
Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman were first brought together by M-G-M to make a film of Hammond Innes's best-seller The Wreck Of The 'Mary Deare', but, after a lot of thought, they both decided the novel could not be turned into a successful film and told M-G-M so. Despite these expert deliberations, the company went ahead with plans to film the Innes book, and a movie version was in cinemas within a few months of North By Northwest's opening. Directed by Michael Anderson, The Wreck Of The 'Mary Deare' was, as Hitchcock had predicted, not a success.
Eve Kendall: You're supposed to be critically wounded.
Roger O. Thornhill: I never felt more alive.
Eve Kendall: I'm Eve Kendall. I'm twenty-six and unmarried. Now you know everything.
Roger O. Thornhill: Tell me, what do you do, besides lure men to their doom on the Twentieth Century Limited?
Clara Thornhill: You gentlemen aren't really trying to kill my son, are you?
Roger O. Thornhill: I don't think I caught your name.
The Professor: I don't think I pitched it.
Philip Vandamm: Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your various roles rather severely, Mr. Kaplan? First, you're the outraged Madison Avenue man who claims he's been mistaken for someone else. Then you play a fugitive from justice, supposedly trying to clear his name of a crime he knows he didn't commit. And now, you play the peevish lover, stung by jealousy and betrayal. Seems to me you fellows could stand a little less training from the FBI and a little more from the Actors' Studio.
Roger O. Thornhill: Apparently, the only performance that's going to satisfy you is when I play dead.
Philip Vandamm: Your very next role. You will be quite convincing, I assure you.
The Cartoonist: It's all so horribly sad. Why is it I feel like laughing?
Man On Road: That plane's dustin' crops where there ain't no crops.
Woman Bidder: [to Roger, after he has disrupted the auction]: One thing we know - you're no fake. You're a genuine idiot.
Clara Thornhill: Roger... pay the two dollars!
The Professor: War is hell, Mr. Thornhill. Even when it's a cold one.
Roger O. Thornhill: [illegally searching an hotel room with his mother]: Bulletin. Mr. Kaplan has dandruff.
Clara Thornhill: In that case, I think we'd better leave.
Leonard: Call it my woman's intuition if you will, but I've never trusted neatness.
Roger O. Thornhill: I'm an advertising man, not a red herring. I've got a job, a secretary, a mother two ex-wives and several bartenders waiting for me me, and I don't intend to disappoint them all and get myself slightly killed.
Eve Kendall: [last lines of film]: Ah, Roger, this is silly.
Roger O. Thornhill: I know. But I'm sentimental.