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North by Northwest [DVD] [1959]

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Product details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Ernest Lehman
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Jun. 2006
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056BB8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,236 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

DVD Special Features:

39 Minute Behind-the-Scenes Documentary Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North By Northwest hosted by Eva Marie Saint and featuring Martin Landau, Screenwriter Ernest Lehman, Patricia Hitchcock and others involved in the film
Feature length audio commentary by Ernest Lehman
Music-only Audio Track showcasing Bernard Hermann's Score
Production Stills Gallery
TV Spot
Interactive Menus
Scene Access
Language in Dolby Digital 5.1: English
Language in Mono: French
Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, German, English for the hearing impaired.


A strong candidate for possibly the most entertaining and enjoyable film ever made by a Hollywood studio, North by Northwest is positioned between the much heavier and more profoundly disturbing Vertigo (1958) and the stark horror of Psycho (1960). In the corpus of Alfred Hitchcock films it shows the director at his most effervescent in a romantic comedy-thriller that also features one of the definitive Cary Grant performances. Which is not to say that this is just "Hitchcock Lite". It's a classic Hitchcock Wrong Man scenario: Grant is Roger O Thornhill (initials ROT), an advertising executive who is mistaken by enemy spies for a US undercover agent named George Kaplan. Convinced these sinister fellows (James Mason as the boss and Martin Landau as his henchman) are trying to kill him, Roger flees and meets a sexy Stranger on a Train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most convolutedly choreographed kisses in screen history. And of course there are the famous set pieces: the stabbing at the United Nations, the crop-duster plane attack in the cornfield (where a pedestrian has no place to hide) and the cliffhanger finale atop the stone faces of Mount Rushmore. With its sparkling Ernest Lehman script and that pulse-quickening Bernard Herrmann score, what more could a filmgoer possibly desire? --Jim Emerson,

On the DVD: This wide-screen print of the movie looks remarkably fresh, preserving the vivid depth of the original's VistaVision cinematography. The main extra feature is a new and entertaining 40-minute documentary hosted by Eva Marie Saint in which most of the surviving cast and crew give their insights into the making of the picture (we learn for example that canny Cary Grant charged 15 cents per autograph). Screenwriter Ernest Lehman provides an audio commentary and on a separate audio-only track Bernard Herrmann's masterful score can be heard in its entirety. There's also a stills gallery and trailers. --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Nov. 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase

As you watch the credits of Hitch's 1959 masterpiece "North By Northwest" roll up on the screen in all their resplendent VistaVision Technicolor glory - the shiny, cold and aloof glass panelling of a New York skyscraper acts as their backdrop.

It's a brilliant touch - because combined with Bernard Herrmann's staccato score - it ratchets up the tension - and also subliminally suggests to the viewer that some poor John Doe is about to get rightly and royally screwed by big business and big Government - or both. And of course - mistaken for a UN diplomat called George Caplin - our hapless hero George Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) - does just that. Then when the opening credits end and Cary exits the lift with his secretary (Doreen Lang) all suited-n-booted and looking dapper enough to lick - another element kicks in - the extraordinary picture quality...

State-of-the art frame-by-frame Lowry Digital restoration has taken place here and the result is that the print is just BEAUTIFUL. I raved in a UK Listmania list some 3 years ago about how good the DVD looked - well this BLU RAY is way better - and at times just jaw-dropping to look at. Icing on the cake is that this 50th Anniversary BLU RAY reissue (Nov 2009) also adds on some superlative new features which are just as good as the film itself.

Here's the full list:
1. Commentary by Ernest Lehman (Original Script-Writer)
2. New 2009 Documentary "The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style"
(over 50 minutes - featuring comments from directors Martin Scorsese, Curtis Hanson, Frances Lawrence, Guillermo del Toro and many more)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By robert stirling TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 April 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Hitchcock"s films were made for their time and hugely successful they were too.Only the very great directors can claim that their works can still generate tension , thrills and quality decades later(were they still alive). Hitch is in that select band.
Music,screenplay,production,acting and all crafts brought together by the man still combine today to give such excellent enterainment.
Certain words or phrases used date the film i.e. "making love" and "gay" (which are used in a different context today), but thats nit-picking: this film stands up to the test of time remarkably well.
The DVD includes plenty of extras for enthusiasts such as audio commentary,music tracks and behind-the-scenes documentary with comments by the actors etc. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. O'Leary on 4 Jan. 2010
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
There's not much point in commenting on this 50 year old classic except to say that it may be Cary Grant's finest hour (what! no Oscar again?), is certainly one of Alfred Hitchcock's finest efforts, and obviously cinematic perfection from the moment Saul Bass's superb title sequence hits the screen right through to the thrilling Mount Rushmore finale.

What's more important is how good a job Warner Brothers have done in bringing Hitchcock to Blu-Ray for the first time, and I can happily report that this first of hopefully many Hitchcock releases is very satisfying indeed.

There's a stack of new docs and features for a start off. The full length Cary Grant Biography is the best I've ever seen, and this alone makes the disk essential for any fan. There's also two other new (and again quite lengthy) docs discussing the film's influence and Hitchcock's career, with a fair bit of input from some current directors (although apart from William Friedkin and Guillermo del Toro they're a little "B" list). For completion, the disk also includes the Eva Marie Saint hosted "making of" from the original DVD release (actually the second best of the docs after the Cary Grant Bio). That was enough to keep me occupied for a whole afternoon (I've not heard the commentaries yet).

There appears to be a lot of enthusiasm for the image quality in the other reviews here, and rightly so, but I believe it to be merely excellent rather than perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stampy on 29 Oct. 2008
Format: DVD
Roger Thornhill (Grant) is mistaken for another man by a group of foreign spies and after a few unfortunate events, finds himself on the run.

North by Northwest is recognized as one of Alfred Hitchcock's finest films and with the adrenaline soaked narrative and a great central performance it is easy to see why.

Cary Grant (Charade) delivers a sensational portrayal of advertising executive Roger Thornhill, a simple man who is mistaken for someone else. Thornhill is wonderfully sarcastic, very charismatic and plaudits must go to Grant who has created an original hero, an ordinary man who turns himself into an action hero within a short space of time in Alfred Hitchcock's wonderfully realistic world.

Hitchcock's action styled direction is picture perfect for this fast moving thriller. The British director cements the realism down to the ground with his cutting edge close shots and the fast sweeping direction, most noticeable in the landmark plane scene in the fields.

It is easy to overdo action in modern day films and Hitchcock has expertly managed to balance the action alongside the everyday events of the protagonists.

This film is close to resembling a Bond styled genre, though obviously was made before Bond films were. The cocky yet sophisticated Thornhill is well directed by Hitchcock to create the ultimate action hero in a sharply written narrative that is more realistic and entertaining than the Bond spy genre.

The reason this 1959 thriller works is down to all the genres it covers.
Through Hitchcock's action and realistic direction, viewers are thrust into action sequences, romantic moments and crime sequences to, providing viewers with the ultimate adventure.
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