Let’s Go North By Northwest

George Got No EarsI was in high school. It was Saturday night. I’d been watching old B movies on the TV. It was ‘way past my bedtime.

I was getting ready to go to bed. But then channel four said that they were about to broadcast Alfred Hitchcocks’s classic film North by Northwest.

I waited up just to take a look. The screen turned green, Leo the Lion roared, and three hours later I finally fell asleep. The movie is not quite that long, but even at 2am they had plenty of commercials.

A couple years ago it was NxNW‘s 50th anniversary. They released a clean print on Blu-Ray. So much prettier than I remember. And I’d never seen it in WIDESCREEN before. Fullscreen always left out so much that I’d never even known about.

If you have not seen this movie, watch it on Blu-Ray just as soon as you can manage it.

It may not be a perfect movie, but it’s a perfect Alfred Hitchcock movie. Which is even better. He’s firing on all 12 cylinders and had phenomenal production values. MGM paid like $4M for this thing, and that was back when $4M was a lot of money.For his next film, Hitch couldn’t come up with enough cash to pay for an orchestra to play the music. He could only afford a few violins. That’s also why Psycho is in Black & White.

For some reason, by this time in his career, folks just weren’t buying his movies any more. Vertigo didn’t go over as well as everyone hoped, and the studio blamed it on Jimmy Stewart being too old. Things just got worse. Topaz had to be re-edited because test audiences laughed at the big duel ending. Family Plot was filmed on grainy film stock. What a way to go.

The weird thing is, all his stuff was great. People just quit appreciating it.
So watch all these originally under-appreciated films, and be awed.

About Lyle Verbilion

I'm just wanderin' around lookin' at things. Wow.
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