Sunday, 4 December 2011

North By Northwest : When You Are Not 'You'

Just imagine one fine day, somebody kidnaps you and keeps calling you by a different name and doesn't accept that you are you. You make clear to him your name, profession and everything you can do at that time which would include showing your id cards or anything else. But what if they still don't believe and keep referring you to be that someone else and even turn out violent.

Sure that would piss you off, but what would bother you even more is that who is this person, by whom they are referring me? If you are a movie buff you might draw some conclusions that you have a look alike or even more that someone has put on your face mask.

Such is the movie North By Northwest by the great master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. It was released in 1959 and the screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman.

North by Northwest starts with Roger Thornhill, a twice-divorced Madison Avenue advertising executive who is mistaken for a spy named "George Kaplan" by the henchmen of a Vandamm, a foreign spy. Roger tries hard to convince them that he is not Kaplan but they just don’t listen. Finally after finding Kaplan non co-operating they make him drunk by force and try to kill him by leaving in a car which is to fall from a cliff into the sea.

Roger survives the accident and runs away in the car only to be caught by police who don’t believe his story of getting kidnapped and being attacked due to mistaken identity. Even his mother doesn’t believe him and thinks that it’s the influence of alcohol that made him come up with such a story.

The next day Roger, his mother and some detectives visit the house where he was kidnapped earlier but to his surprise the interiors and placement of things in the house don’t match up with Roger’s description. The police discard the case, and blame Roger. But still Roger tries to find this man George Kaplan on his own but he is not successful. Then Roger goes to meet the owner of the house where he was kidnapped at the United Nations, since the latter is a United Nations diplomat.

One of Vandamm’s henchmen kills the diplomat there and Roger is framed for his murder. Roger runs away from there and then the mystery begins.

The movie progresses ahead with Roger running as a fugitive, a strange lady he meets on train, the search of real George Kaplan and also the actual intentions of Vandamm.

Alfred Hitchcock convinces the audience that even after more than 50 years, he still remains to be the master of suspense and thrillers.


  1. Wow looks like a movie that I would love to watch.

  2. Yeah, it's worth a watch. :)

  3. The Anand brothers, Goldie (Vijay) and Dev, had taken the same basic idea of mistaken identities and woven a wonderful crime thriller about it in Navketan films' "Jewel thief". Their twist to the Hitchcockian mystery was ingenious. With Dev saheb's death yesterday, it is appropriate to remember him as well :)

  4. Thank you sir, I am afraid I have to say I haven't watch much of Dev Sahab's work.
    But as the saying goes 'It's never too late', in fact as I am typing this I have already ordered a copy of it now. :)

  5. I will watch it sometime, looks like quite an entertainer...

  6. Very good movie:). Keep it up:)