U.S.A • 1959 • COLOUR • DOLBY STEREO • 136 MIN

Herrmann’s widow once told me what she thought was the secret behind the success of the Hitchcock-Herrmann partnership: ‘They had the same sense of humour.’ This had been evident in their first collaboration, the macabre yet witty Trouble with Harry (1955), but it reaches its peak with North by Northwest, where an advertising man (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a secret agent and pursued by saboteurs and police across the length and breadth of America. Musically, MGM had envisaged something along the lines of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’; Herrmann instead came up with a Spanish fandango, to reflect, he said, Cary Grant’s ‘Astaire-like agility’ and to evoke the ‘crazy dance about to take place between Grant and the world.’ It works a treat.—Neil Sinyard.
Musician Cora Venus Lunny will introduce this film.

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