North By Northwest is considered by many one of Alfred Hitchcock's best films. However, the film has not been given the respect many feel it should by movie scholars. It was not nominated for an Oscar, as many felt it should, it is consistently left off "greatest film" lists, and the film reviews have been reserved. So why do many feel its great while others are not so sure? There are several possible reasons for this.
North By Northwest was released in 1959 and stars Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. The film is noted for its high-spirited humor, in which Grant's character, Roger O. Thornhill leads the way. Thornhill is an advertising executive who is mistaken for a federal agent and caught committing a murder. The film takes us on a roller coaster ride around the world, including one of the classic scenes which takes place at Mount Rushmore. North By Northwest is a humorous, adventure and love story all rolled together in one movie. The film has the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end. .
The first part of the film sets up the action for the entire film - neither the main character or the audience have any idea where the initial problem of the hero might lead next. Roger Thornhill comes out of the crowd wearing the suit that will accompany him on his journey throughout the film. Rushing to make it to a lucheon with his fellow businessmen, Thornhill comes off as well spoken, intelligent and self-confident. As he walks, he talks quickly to his secretary, Maggie, played by Doreen Land, about several notes to be sent out, including one to his ex-wife, in which he says "Oh well, put 'Something for your sweet tooth, baby, and all your other sweet parts.'".
In their rush to make it to the Plaza Hotel, which to many means material success and luxury, he lies about Maggie's health and takes away a taxi from another person waiting first. He later justifies what he did saying that he has made the man "a happy man.