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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that North by Northwest is a Hitchcock classic that includes suspenseful scenes such as a forced drunken car chase on windy roads and a crop duster chase with shooting and an explosion. Typical of the era, there's drinking of hard liquor and smoking, with a seductive lighting-up featured in one scene. More seductive elements include forward sexual banter and some kissing -- the clothes stay on but there's a mention that the main characters slept together in their train car. It's also worth noting that the main character undergoes a big transformation, from fast-talking and unscrupulous ad exec to a man who risks his own life to find out the truth that will exonerate him.
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Is it any good?
Sure to entertain viewers with even the most diverse of tastes, the film is a true cinematic pleasure with an impressive pedigree. North by Northwest is consistently light and comic. Some sort of silly comment or joke relieves even the tensest scene. Cary Grant is superb as Thornhill. The character demands large tonal shifts, from mama's boy to suave sophisticate, from terrified man on the run to indignant pawn of the government, and Grant pulls it all off convincingly. Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is a perfect foil for Thornhill's man under pressure. She's cool and mysterious, leaving Thornhill unsure of whether to trust her for much of their time together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lasting appeal of Hitchcock movies like North by Northwest. What makes this film a classic? What are some techniques that he uses that you've seen used in other movies?
Talk about who Roger Thornhill is at the beginning and the end of this movie. Has the experience made him a better person? What is the underlying message of the movie?
- In theaters: July 17, 1959
- On DVD or streaming: September 7, 2004
- Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Classic
- Character strengths: Courage, Integrity, Perseverance
- Run time: 131 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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