October 5, 2010

#55: North by Northwest

Whenever I said I loved Hitchcock, I usually said I most loved North by Northwest, his 1959 mistaken-identity thriller with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. But then I went back to rent it on Netflix when it came up on this list, and there it sat with my rating of three stars. HUH? How can that be? Was I drunk? ... Could be. Did I think that scores like Bernard Herrmann's come along every day? Cause I'm here to report: they don't.

Company: Kecia, purveyor of gin; Marie, girl-on-the-go

Cuisine: seven-layer taco dip left over from Kecia's company picnic, gin and Squirt

Okay, here's what I'm going to do for this entry. I've noticed lately that the pictures I choose for these movies, chronologically placed, actually tell the story almost entirely. I've been tempted to just let the pictures speak for themselves, and then write a few words about the film. So let me just say: North by Northwest is a thriller at the most thrilling. Well cast, expertly directed and revolutionary. There. Now look at the pretty pictures! (I promise I won't do this again.)

God. Who composes shots like this anymore? No one, that's who. Although tonight I saw David Fincher's The Social Network, which could just be the Network of our generation. So maybe him? You never want to say Spielberg for the sake of sounding populist, or Lynch for the sake of sounding too eccentric, but both those guys know their business. But neither of them compare to Hitchcock. Thank God there's more of him to come on this list.

AH! Altman. Of course. Well, next up: M*A*S*H. The only film on the list with symbols. And the first of three films in a row from the 70s. I could ask for a worse decade.

1 comment:

  1. You couldn't ask for a _better_ decade. And you're right about those shots. The stills you put up speak HUGELY to composition, style, color, and most importantly, mood. Not many movies can convey all that, merely in stills.

    I'm suddenly an even huger fan of you.
    --your FU