“Now you listen to me, I’m an advertising man, not a red herring. I’ve got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don’t intend to disappoint them all by getting myself “slightly” killed.”
Alfred Hitchcock does it again by giving us a thrilling ride with the suspense that we only see mirrored today. He was a genius of his time, giving us stories that actually mattered.
What’s the plot of this fine movie? …This classic suspense film finds New York City ad executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) pursued by ruthless spy Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) after Thornhill is mistaken for a government agent. Hunted relentlessly by Vandamm’s associates, the harried Thornhill ends up on a cross-country journey, meeting the beautiful and mysterious Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) along the way. Soon Vandamm’s henchmen close in on Thornhill, resulting in a number of iconic action sequences.
The score was done by Bernard Herrmann and the film kept a suspense throughout the scoring of the film. North by Northwest is essentially one long chase, and Bernard Herrmann devised his raucous and rhythmically taxing Main Title… “to kick off the glorious rout to follow”. The composer adroitly spins his thematic material into an intricate musical web, each reiteration of the spare opening motif gaining in complexity, in eccentricity, the elaboration born mainly of outlandish orchestration – effecting, in essence, a supremely bizarre masque. Although the prelude fairly erupts with molten energy, “Conversation Piece” represents a sedate hiatus; having hidden aboard a train Roger Thornhill is befriended by the mysterious Eve Kendall in the restuarant car, and the two sneak away to enjoy a sensual liasion – Bernard Herrmann’s music simmering with sexual tension and complemented by a subtle rhythmic undercurrent reproducing the motion of the train itself. This is taken from the notes on the scoring from the collection album “Psycho: The Essential Alfred Hitchcock.”
You can find the score on Amazon.
You can also find it on ITunes.
Would you like some clips?
Here you go…
Crop duster Scene
Well that’s all for today. See you thursday for Mad Max Fury Road. Happy Listening!