Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Phillip Vandamm: Do you intend to cooperate with us? I’d like a simple yes or no.
Roger: A simple no. For the simple reason I simply don’t know what you’re talking about!
Roger Thornhill (Grant) is just an average advertising man who, via a case of mistaken identity, gets roped into a world of espionage and danger. After surviving an attempt on his life by Phillip Vandamm (Mason) and his men, Thornhill is framed for murder and must go on the run from the police in addition to Vandamm’s henchmen.
Another great Hitchcock movie, though this one is more expansive than usual. There are an assortment of locations, train rides, plane trips, big cities, flat open fields, and even a trip to Mt. Rushmore. The story might be a little hard to swallow at times, but that’s okay because it’s such an enjoyable ride.
Some of the best moments are between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint on the train. There’s some seriously suggestive dialogue which is just fun to listen to. For example:
Eve: It’s going to be a long night.
Eve: And I don’t particularly like the book I’ve started.
Eve: You know what I mean?
Roger: Ah, let me think. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
They’re both really good, as are the rest of the performances, including an early, effectively creepy performance from Martin Landau as one of the henchmen.
My only real complaint about the movie – aside from a slightly lackluster ending – is that Hitchcock decided to include an odd scene with the FBI agents (or whoever they were) sitting around a table spouting exposition about all the goings on, as a way to fill the audience in on various details. They explain and explain, over and over, to make sure everything is clear. It seemed completely unnecessary, and actually spoiled what would have been an interesting twist to learn later in the movie. It reminded me of the final scene in Hitchcock’s next movie, Psycho, where a psychiatrist is paraded out at the end to explain everything just in case the audience is confused.
Other than that, I enjoyed this movie thoroughly, and it further cemented Alfred Hitchcock on my list of all time favorite directors.
10 – .7 for that odd scene I mentioned – .5 for a somewhat lackluster ending = 8.8