North by Northwest

The pairing of Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant for the thriller North by Northwest is electric. Add in a smooth performance by Eva Marie Saint (one of Hitchcock’s cool blonds) and a multilayered script by Ernest Lehman (who, it’s been said, wanted to write the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures), and the result is a film that’s both stylish and frightening.

Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a charming New York City advertising executive who spends much too much time in chic bars. He’s mistaken for a spy and becomes the target of a gang of thugs who set out to kill him.

In the film’s signature scene, Thornhill is standing on a desolate road when, in the distance, like a buzzing fly, comes a tiny airplane. Thornhill watches as it approaches, realizing almost too late that it’s coming after him. As bullets fly and Thornhill tries desperately to find cover, the audience is plunged into the moment. With unknown assailants after him and nowhere to hide, Thornhill quickly realizes that being innocent isn’t nearly enough to get him out of danger. 6:45 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse, Mason Park, 531 South Mason Road. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit $7.
Sun., April 24, 6:45 p.m., 2011

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