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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Expedient Exaggeration..." - North By Northwest on BLU RAY And Which Issue To Buy?

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...
Published on 17 Nov 2009 by Mark Barry

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely entranced with the quality of this Blu-ray
[This review is for the Blu-ray + Ultraviolet version released by Warner 2013]

I won't bother with commenting on the merits of the film itself - as already attested by other reviewers, it is an excellent Hitchcock film for the period, originally shot on 70mm emulsion, and with a memorable musical score.

Also, we are dealing with a film produced in...
Published 14 months ago by Frank D

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars North By Northwest Blue-ray, 24 April 2010
Mr. M. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
Good film with some great scenes. Not Hitchcocks best film but in his top ten. Blue-ray quality is superb. Cary Grant is funny and charming as you would expect. Glad I bought this as I will watch it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'm really pleased., 10 Aug 2014
As described. I'm really pleased.
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5.0 out of 5 stars oldies are the best!, 16 Sep 2014
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What a classic film. Love this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Sep 2014
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A must see for Hitchcock fans
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bernard Herrmann lovers beware!, 7 Mar 2013
This review is from: North By Northwest Steelbook (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [1959] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I agree with the four reviews already posted that the film itself has never looked more splendid than on blu-ray and the steelbook is magnificent. However, previous blu-ray releases of this film (both in the UK and the US) have also featured an isolated track of Bernard Herrmann's magnificent score. Whilst all other extras are identical this latest edition does not have that feature. Why bother to re-press an already available title and leave something off? Very disappointing.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars North by Northwest [1959] [50th Anniversary Limited Edition DigiBook Packaging] [Blu-ray] [US Import], 10 July 2014
North by Northwest [1959] [50th Anniversary Limited Edition DigiBook Packaging] [Blu-ray] [US Import] A masterful mix of comedy and suspense from Alfred Hitchcock. Advertising executive Roger Thornhill [Cary Grant] is lunching in a restaurant with his mother when he mistakenly answers a page for one George Kaplan. He soon finds himself on the run across the country, being pursued by enemies of the government who are convinced that he is a secret agent. He finds a friend in Eve Kendall [Eve Marie Saint], who helps conceal him during a perilous train journey, but soon discovers that she is not all she seems.

Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Josephine Hutchinson, Philip Ober, Martin Landau, Adam Williams, Edward Platt, Robert Ellenstein, Les Tremayne, Philip Coolidge, Patrick McVey, Edward Binns, Ken Lynch and Malcolm Atterbury

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Producers: Alfred Hitchcock and Herbert Coleman

Screenwriter: Ernest Lehman

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

Cinematography: Robert Burks

Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [VistaVision]

Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono and Isolated Music-only track: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian, Italian SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Suomi, Norwegian and Swedish

Running Time: 136 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew's Blu-ray Review - At last! It took roughly about three-and-a-half years, but finally the first American Blu-ray release of an Alfred Hitchcock film has arrived. And though it may not be the title many of us expected (sorry, Norman Bates fans), it's nevertheless one of the director's finest and most revered efforts. In fact, when screenwriter Ernest Lehman first began collaborating with the Master of Suspense, he aspired to create "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures," and many would agree 'North by Northwest' is just that. The quintessential chase film, a blueprint for the modern action epic, and Hitchcock's personal homage to himself, this captivating transcontinental pursuit smoothly combines suspense, thrills, comedy, romance, and intrigue, and presents them with all the elegant artistry and brash innovation that has made Hitchcock one of cinema's most esteemed and admired directors.

Roger Thornhill [Cary Grant] is a successful, somewhat smug Manhattan advertising executive whose ordered life takes an out-of-control turn when he's abducted by a couple of thugs while lunching with clients at the Plaza Hotel. The ruffians believe him to be someone named George Kaplan, and despite Roger's vehement protests to the contrary, cart him off to a Long Island estate bogusly inhabited by suave Soviet sympathizer Phillip Vandamm [James Mason] for interrogation. Completely flummoxed over why he's been kidnapped, Roger is unable to provide the information his captors crave. He narrowly escapes their clutches, but can't convince the police or even his own mother [Jesse Royce Landis] the episode is anything more than a wild drunken escapade. Determined to clear his name, he tracks a lead to the United Nations, but when the diplomat he's questioning is murdered, Roger is framed for the crime, and quickly becomes America's most wanted man. All this sets up a frantic cross-country chase, as Roger tries to track down the real Kaplan, elude the authorities, and thwarts Vandamm and his henchmen, all with the help or hindrance of the sleek, sexy Eve Kendall [Eva Marie Saint], a mysterious woman he "coincidentally" meets on the train to Chicago.

The audacious Mount Rushmore chase is even more challenging to put over. Totally studio shot, the sequence relies heavily on suspension of disbelief, but Hitchcock masterfully blends gigantic backdrops and set pieces to fashion a seamless illusion only the most cynical viewer could reject. Aided by Bernard Herrmann's powerful score and a cast of committed actors, Hitchcock pushes the envelope as far as he can and fashions a thoroughly engrossing, edge-of-the-seat climax. Absurd, absolutely and definitely riveting. You bet.

Fifty years after its initial release, 'North by Northwest' remains one of Hollywood's most stylish, slick, entertaining, and expertly crafted thrillers, but it's perhaps best known for two brilliantly executed suspense scenes. The first involves Roger trying to evade a dogged attack by a sinister crop-dusting plane in a barren cornfield, and the second is the film's climactic chase across the sculpted stone faces of Mount Rushmore. Both illustrate Hitchcock's peerless command of high-voltage action and showcase his uncanny ability to not only build tension and provide a satisfying payoff, but also so fully enrapture his audience, they forget the preposterous nature of the situations they're watching. The crop-dusting sequence especially relies on carefully chosen camera angles that set mood and tone, meticulously choreographed action, purposeful editing, and the heightened use of subtle sounds. The result is an unforgettable stand-alone vignette that thrills the senses and fosters intense admiration for the talent on display.

To some, 'North by Northwest' might seem tame, even a bit dull by today's standards, especially adrenaline-rush standards. But if you stand Hitchcock up against some of the hacks making bigger, bolder, emptier movies today, there's no contest. Hitchcock wins hands down, and 'North by Northwest' is one of this legendary director's best, a droll, thrilling, romantic, altogether captivating work that's as much fun today as it was a half-century ago.

Blu-ray Video Quality - When Warner Home Video released 'North by Northwest' on DVD in 2000, it instantly became one of the preeminent classic movie transfers of the digital age, so expectations were understandably sky-high when the company announced a Blu-ray edition of Hitchcock's iconic chase film earlier this year. The restoration price tag reportedly topped $1 million, but it was money (very) well spent, as 'North by Northwest' comes closer to achieving perfection than any other 1080p classic movie transfer I've seen. The 50-year-old film looks so good; in fact, it puts many recent Blu-ray releases to shame.

Shot in VistaVision (a short-lived, higher resolution widescreen process developed by Paramount in the mid-1950s), 'North by Northwest' is a natural for a Blu-ray makeover, and its exquisitely balanced colour and contrast, along with its fine grain structure (a VistaVision staple), produce a crisp, dimensional, utterly pleasing viewing experience. Grain-haters will no doubt rhapsodize over the picture's sleek appearance, but the 1080p image never looks processed or digitally smoothed. A palpable filmic feel still prevails, and though a few brief scenes sport a hint more grain than most, the levels never seem out of whack.

The transfer's quality is evident from the film's opening frames. The fluorescent green background over which the credits roll is solid and vibrant, and as it gradually dissolves into the glass façade of a skyscraper reflecting Manhattan's teeming cityscape, the level of detail is striking. (It's a very tricky shot, and flawlessly rendered.) Background accents are always razor sharp, so whether Grant is navigating the Big Apple's jammed sidewalks, a dense Indiana cornfield, or the face of Mount Rushmore, the image is always packed with information, and its depth and dimension easily immerse us in the on-screen action. Hitchcock also employs a hefty amount of rear projection work (one of his few shortcomings, in my opinion), and though it's always apparent, it's well integrated into the whole.

Colour-wise, primaries pop, but never look synthetic or overly saturated, and though the film's palette often emits a sterile coolness, enough warmth permeates the picture to keep its temperature in check. Grant's heavily tanned skin rivals that of George Hamilton, yet it still appears natural, as do all flesh tones. Blacks are deliciously inky, but no incidents of crush drown out shadow detail. Close-ups are strong - despite the stylistic use of filters to shave a few years off Grant's age and soften Saint's facial features - and textures, such as the weave of various suits, wall coverings, leather upholstery, even the coarse hair on Grant's knuckles, are clearly discernible.

Simply put, this is a stunning gorgeous A+ effort that perfectly represents this Hitchcock masterwork. Once again, Warner proves just how brilliant classic movies can look on Blu-ray, and this impeccable transfer more than whets our appetite for the riches yet to come.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a fine upgrade from the DVD's previous Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, but doesn't quite achieve the same wow factor as the video. First of all, don't be afraid to pump up the volume; I found the track to be surprisingly quiet at first, yet after two or three sizeable increases above my normal settings, I finally reached a comfortable listening level. (Warner's TrueHD classic movie tracks always seem to be mixed a little on the soft side, but handle augmented volume extremely well.)

Surround sound elements are understandably faint throughout most of the film, but boy do those rears come alive during the crop-dusting sequence, as the plane makes its dipping and diving passes over Grant, the cornfield, and my living room sofa. (It's hard to imagine a 50-year-old film competing sonically with today's action epics, but 'North by Northwest' tries its best during this one classic scene.) When the surrounds are silent, the front channels pick up the slack with some distinct stereo separation that lends the audio welcome scope. Dialogue is well prioritized and always easy to understand, even when spoken in hushed tones, and Bernard Herrmann's highly recognizable score sounds terrific. Though it doesn't wrap around us as much as we'd like, its fullness of tone and enhanced fidelity make almost every instrument distinguishable. The screeching strings always resist distortion, and the low-end horns and percussion lend great weight to select scenes. (For those who truly want to experience and revel in Bernard Herrmann's marvellous score, a music-only track can be accessed through the disc's special features.)

Details are always crisply rendered, from the subtle use of hedge-clippers early in the film to the gravel beneath Grant's shoes as he shuffles his feet while awaiting the crop-duster's surprise attack. And the one big bass moment doesn't disappoint, as the subwoofer pumps out a hefty rumble during a memorable crash and subsequent explosion. Best of all, the track is as clean as a whistle, with no errant pops, static, or hiss betraying the movie's advanced age and of course sound is an essential Hitchcockian element, and the superior audio on this disc does the film proud.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Commentary by Screenwriter Ernest Lehman: The late screenwriter Ernest Lehman was a spry 84 years old when he sat down to record this commentary in 2000, and his crystal clear memories of his close collaboration with Hitchcock and detailed chronicle of the creative process behind penning the 'North by Northwest' script make for a fascinating listen. He also recalls how composer Bernard Herrmann introduced him to Hitchcock, how he and the director hoodwinked MGM into letting them develop 'North by Northwest' instead of work on a previously arranged project, and how he visited all the various locales prior to writing - and that included climbing halfway up the face of Mount Rushmore! Lehman starts slowly, but after 20 minutes or so picks up steam, and his insights will enlighten even diehard Hitchcock fans.

Cary Grant: A Class Apart [Documentary] [1:27:12] Originally broadcast on PBS as part of the network's acclaimed 'American Masters' series, this incisive 2004 documentary (previously included in the Cary Grant DVD box set that contains 'North by Northwest') takes an in-depth look at Grant's screen persona and how it shaped and affected his private life. Reminiscences from close friends, two wives, and noted critics provide fascinating perspective on the actor's professional and personal relationships, his difficult upbringing, stellar work ethic, and underrated talent. Film clips galore, from Grant's first role in 1931 to his last in 1966; illustrate his versatility, magnetism, and iconic style. Though his contributions to cinema dominate this excellent profile, Grant's five marriages, his controversial relationship with fellow actor Randolph Scott, experimentation with LSD, affair with Sophia Loren, and lifelong struggles with intimacy are also explored with integrity and good taste. This is required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in this beloved Hollywood legend.

The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style [Documentary] [57:32] Myriad aspects of Hitchcock's inimitable technique are scrutinized in this probing, well-produced piece that shows how the director's personal idiosyncrasies influenced his work. A host of fellow directors, from Martin Scorsese to John Carpenter, as well as Hitchcock himself (care of an archival interview) comment on such topics as visual storytelling, subjective point of view, editing, and building suspense. We also learn about the fascinating villains Hitchcock often employed, the sense of humour that pervades his films, his selective use of sound, impeccable sense of style, and, of course, his penchant for blonde heroines. Clips from such classics as 'Dial M for Murder,' 'Strangers on a Train,' 'Stage Fright,' 'The Wrong Man,' 'I Confess,' and 'North by Northwest' illustrate the various points. This top-notch documentary is another must-view that will captivate both Hitchcock junkies and those just discovering the master's work.

Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North by Northwest [Documentary] [39:27] Eva Marie Saint hosts this thoughtful look back at the film's production, which was included on the previous DVD release in 2000. Saint takes us through the film's shooting chronologically, and along the way relates personal anecdotes, spills secrets, identifies one notable gaffe, and recalls some on-set buffoonery. Martin Landau, Ernest Lehman (whose remarks on the commentary track were largely - if not totally - lifted from his interview here), and Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia, also share their memories of the director and his technique.

North by Northwest: One for the Ages [Documentary] [25:29] This all-new, absorbing documentary allows directors Curtis Hanson, Francis Lawrence, Guillermo Del Toro, and William Friedkin, along with screenwriter Christopher McQuerrie, the chance to honor, analyze, and dissect this Hitchcock masterwork. Among other things, the quintet identifies the various classic Hitchcock elements present in the film, discusses the script's surprising depth, and provides an in-depth examination of the crop-dusting scene.

Stills Gallery [5:52] [HD] Forty-three stills in both black-and-white and colour are included in this gallery, which features on-set production shots, a selection of poster art, and photos of notable personnel (Saint, Lehman, and Patricia Hitchcock) during the shooting of interviews for the DVD's special feature package in 2000.

TV Spot [1:02]

A Guided Tour with Alfred Hitchcock [3:14] A tongue-in-cheek overview of the film with the director, presented as a travel promotion for the films locations.

Theatrical Trailers [6:00] In addition to a black-and-white re-release TV spot and full colour re-release trailer, there's the amusing theatrical preview, 'A Guided Tour with Alfred Hitchcock,' in which the master himself hypes 'North by Northwest' as if he were a travel agent hawking a cross-country vacation.

Music-only Track: Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, the switch to the track is apparent, lacking much of the sound options smoothness and dynamic range. Though it's somewhat disappointing, the score is such a strong component of the film that in this case there's really not much benefit to the isolated track. Forced to choose between isolation and higher resolution, I recommend the latter.

Digibook Packaging: This 43-page full-colour DigiBook contains two short essays, actor/director/screenwriter bios, and lots of great publicity stills, behind-the-scenes photos, and one-sheets.

Finally, Hitchcock fans, rejoice! The master's first American high-def release hits the ball out of the park. 'North by Northwest' may be 50, but this immortal action-comedy thriller doesn't look or sound anywhere near that old on Blu-ray. Superb video and audio immerse us in Roger Thornhill's desperate, madcap plight, while a fantastic array of extras puts Hitchcock, Grant, and this wildly entertaining film in their proper perspective. The attractive DigiBook packaging adds an extra bit of panache to one of the year's classiest classic releases. One to own and replay it often, as one never gets tired of this Hitchcock stunning masterpiece. I know a lot of people hate the actor Cary Grant, well I find that totally negative, as he I absolutely superb in this film especially and again this DigiBook Blu-ray package is outstanding and cannot be beaten and I am so proud to add it is to my Alfred Hitchcock Blu-ray Collection. VERY HIGHLY RECCOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hitchcock film to end all Hitchcock films, 3 Dec 2004
This is quite simply the best of Hitchcock's "wrong man films" rolled into one. It takes the best bits of films like The 39 Steps and Saboteur and adds colour, humour and glamour in abundance. From the opening scene to the last this film cannot be faulted. If you have never seen a Hitchcock film then watch this one, you will be hooked.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 2 Oct 2014
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Great movie.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good dvd, great film, 7 Dec 2003
I only know two hitchcock dvds which have an audio commentary, Vertigo and this.
The dvd of this film is good, there is a trailer, tv spot, documentary, commentary and more.
The film is just magnificent, not as good as Saboteur, which has the same type of idea. Cary grant is really good as a man who gets mistaken for a spy and framed for a murder, Eva marie saint is beautiful and talented as the girl who helps him and James mason is a great villain.
There are so many classic bits like the crop duster (everyone talks about that)and the showdown on mount rushmore.
If you gave this film 5 stars then you know your right, if you gave it 4 stars I could cope with it but anything below 4 stars then your reviewing the wrong film.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watching Hitchcock's films on blu-ray is great!, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: North By Northwest Steelbook (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [1959] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This great release for North By Northwest is a must-have item for any film collector! Nice cover (enhanced by this special Steelbook edition), quite good HD video transfer and funny extras also.
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