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Mistaken for a secret agent by a deadly spy ring, a Madison Avenue adman is pursued from New York to Chicago to an Indiana cornfield to the face of Mount Rushmore in Hitchcock's supremely entertaining comedy-thriller.
"When I spoke of the unbroken series of masterpieces from Vertigo to Marnie, I had not forgotten North by Northwest."—Robin Wood, Hitchcock's Films Revisited
Hitchcock's supremely entertaining comedy thriller offers some of cinema's most enduring images of murderous pursuit in iconic Americana settings: a crop duster on a killing mission in the vast emptiness of a sun-baked Illinois corn field, and a lethal chase across the stony presidential faces on Mount Rushmore. In one of Hitchcock's most amusing and scary instances of misrecognition, a smug New York adman, Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant), is mistaken for a CIA agent by foreign powers, and finds himself framed for murder. Fleeing for his life on a cross-country train, he is aided by elegant blonde Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), whose Edenic first name suggests a treacherous imperative to seduce. She first invites Roger into her sleeper compartment, and then into deadly terrain. As one of Hitchcock's most ominous villains — a Brit director using a Brit actor to signify malevolence in the heartland of America! — James Mason employs his impeccable grooming to make dapper synonymous with danger. And need it be said that this most eye-filling, cliff-hanging of films must be seen on the big screen?