AFI Movie Club: NORTH BY NORTHWEST
In addition to ranking among the greatest American films of all time – on both the original list and the 10th Anniversary edition – NORTH BY NORTHWEST appears at #4 on AFI’s list of the art form’s greatest thrills. NORTH BY NORTHWEST comes from the master of suspense, AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Alfred Hitchcock (1979).
Movie Trivia about NORTH BY NORTHWEST
–DID YOU KNOW Alfred Hitchcock considered Jimmy Stewart for the role of Roger Thornhill but concluded that his demeanor was too serious? He ultimately cast Cary Grant in the part.
–DID YOU KNOW Cyd Charisse was considered for the character of Eve Kendall, but Hitchcock preferred Eva Marie Saint, who ultimately won the role?
–DID YOU KNOW the famous crop-dusting scene originated from Hitchcock wanting the opposite of standard espionage dramas? Typically, the hero in jeopardy is on a dark city street with danger behind every corner – but the character Roger Thornhill was instead placed in a completely open field, in broad daylight, with no avenue of escape or cover.
–DID YOU KNOW Alfred Hitchcock used hidden cameras to photograph Cary Grant and Adam Williams walking up the steps to the entrance of the U.N. building? The production designer was allowed to tour and sketch the inside of the building, but filming was prohibited in and outside of the U.N.
–DID YOU KNOW Cary Grant expressed confusion about the film’s plot, saying he found it unclear and implausible? He worried that the film was going to be a flop, but that changed when he saw the audience’s reaction to the movie.
–DID YOU KNOW the U.S. Department of the Interior was not pleased with the scenes of violence that take place at and around Mount Rushmore? They complained to MGM and the MPAA that the scenes were a violation of their agreement and requested that any acknowledgment of cooperation by the U.S. Department of the Interior or the National Park Service for these scenes be removed.
–DID YOU KNOW Alfred Hitchcock wanted a scene in which Roger Thornhill is hiding inside Abraham Lincoln’s nose on Mount Rushmore and is found out when he has a sneezing fit? Due to the objections of the U.S. government, they were not allowed to have anyone over the faces of Mount Rushmore, and the characters had to slide down the side of the heads.
Learn more at the AFI Catalog.
The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions
–Where does the title NORTH BY NORTHWEST originate from?
–Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? What happened?
–Have you experienced a situation where no one will believe you, even when you were telling the truth?
–Roger had been divorced twice. Do you think his relationship with Eve will be more permanent?
–We are never told what is on the microfilm – what do you think is on it?
–Do you know what a MacGuffin is?
–What influences do you think that NORTH BY NORTHWEST may have had on subsequent thrillers and action movies?
–What is it about films from Alfred Hitchcock that continue to resonate with audiences still today?
–How would you rate NORTH BY NORTHWEST?
In this exclusive AFI Archive video, director Alfred Hitchcock talks about making NORTH BY NORTHWEST:
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