And we’re back for another edition of “Tom Questions His Masculinity”, with your host: Cary Grant. This time, it’s not about drinking scotch or a deliberating monotone – this time, it’s about scathing witticisms in the face of life-threatening adversity, and going head to head with other men for the ultimate prize: Eva Marie Saint.
North by Northwest contains two of the most iconic scenes in cinema: the crop-duster attack scene has been parodied across mediums of all kind; the image of two distant figures attempting to scale Mt. Rushmore is one I’ve been aware of for as long as I can remember. But I’ve always questioned the choice to climb down Jefferson. Surely, Abraham Lincoln’s gnarled face would make for a more supported abseil.
An adventure that keeps the audience guessing, and moves across the United States at a breakneck pace, is destined to age well, and age well North by Northwest has, making amends for the somewhat awkward subplot – seriously, Miss Kendall is one of America’s greatest spies, but she doesn’t hold a candle to some bloke from Madison Avenue? I’m in marketing myself – we’re not as witty or daring as Hitchcock seems to believe. Out-dated, two-dimensional, and even ridiculous as the gender roles may be, North by Northwest recovers – highly entertaining, and an excellent lesson in well-paced drama.