Thursday, 26 February 2015

(Older review) North by North West (1959) Film Review

North by North West (1959) 
Fig 1. Film Poster

North by Northwest, another Hitchcock great and has taken critics attend by storm. It has received ratings as high as 8.4 on many websites and is the story of Roger, who is mistaken to be a government agent and falls on the radar of a group of forefingers. We follow his journey as he attempts to escape the group and as AMCC quotes in his review, “North by Northwest (1959) is a suspenseful, classic Alfred Hitchcock caper thriller. The box-office hit film is one of the most entertaining movies ever made and one of Hitchcock's most famous suspense/mystery stories in his entire career” (AMCC, unknown). 

Camera angles play an important part in this movie, throughout the film we see many establishing shots covering the environment. This allows the audience to full immerse with what Roger can see. This sort of shot can be seen when the two protagonists are attempting to run away from the villains while they are on the face of the monument. (See Fig 2.). This shot shows how their escape route is riddled with impossibility, they could slip and fall or get stuck with no actual way of escape. This scene creates a feeling of tension for the audience and it is clear that no matter how obvious they will almost perish, the audience seem to react. 
Fig 2. Movie Still. 

Ufilm explains in acute detail that “An establishing shot is used in nearly every scene, allowing the audience to have a broader view of the environmental composition where the scene is taking place and showing where and how the main characters are interacting within the environment.”(Ufilm analysis blog, 2013). A shot played well in a movie can have a variety of impacts on the world that watch it.

Fig 3. Dust cropper.
It's not just the camera that is played well in this film, but also the set design. Very successful and inviting, especially during the crop dusting scene, it can be said however, that Hitchcock had the film created on sound stages, but the crop dusting scene was too much action and props required. So, “Thornhill must repeatedly dodge the plane's low swipes, as the pilot opens fire while bringing his wheels almost in contact with the ground. Since there was no way this could convincingly be created inside, Hitchcock took the production outdoors.” (Berardinelli, 2015). It seems that Hitchcock is able to create a world where the sets are ever so realistic that its believable and can convince the viewer that the actors were really in that specific place. (See Fig 3.)

In conclusion, with the age of film making that it was back then, North by Northwest is defiantly a interesting watch and a pleasure to the eye, even if it seems that this is a darker twist to his stories. But it's nicer to experience a little mix up in the way a director approaches his job.


AMCC, (unknown) At: [Access on 26/02/2015]
UFilmanalysisblog, (2013) At:  [Accessed on 26/02/2015]
Berardinelli, J (2015)    At: [Accessed on 26/02/2015]

Image List:
Fig 1 Film Poster 1959. [Accessed on 26/02/2015]
Fig 2 Movie Still 1959. [Accessed on 26/02/2015]
Fig 3. Dust Cropper 1959. [Accessed on 26/02/2015]

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