Alfred Hitchcocks North by Northwest

Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest

This movie was pretty interesting. At first, I didn’t look forward to completing this
assignment, but once I started watching, I was very interested. The dialogue was clever,
but the music was a little bold. I would say it was cheesy but that probably isn’t the way to
say it artistically. I noticed there were strong beats and drums for climatic and intense
parts such as the fight scenes. Softer music for the calm, don’t-worry-everything-is-safe
scenes. I think sound played a major part in the scene were Robert Thornhill(Cary Grant)
is out in the field waiting for Mr. Caplin. Waiting for the sound of the cars to get louder,
which means they are close brings impatience. And then when the plane comes into the
scene, the increasing sound is not desired because we know it’s after our hero. It’s one of
those scenes where you don’t know what the hero should do since he’s incredibly
vulnerable all out in the open with virtually no where to hide. Also, that scene is important
because it makes the love interest, Ms. Eve Campbell(Eva Marie Saint), look like an
accomplice to murder.
Lighting and viewpoint played big roles in determining the mood for this movie as
well. I noticed that the lighting gets very soft and misty when there’s a romantic scene. It
is often low in the mysterious scenes as well. The scene where Thornhill is spying on the
bad guys is an example. The view point is from the lower corner. This gives the viewer a
feeling of mystery. Also, the actor’s face if often very illuminated. This draws your
attention to their facial expressions to help you understand their feelings.
Another place where the camera leads the eye is at the train station. Campbell is in
the phone booth and the camera moves down to show that one of the bad guys is in a booth
also talking on the phone. Then he gets up and leaves. She steps out right afterwards. This
confirms that she is in cahoots with the bad guys. One more thing I noticed was how
having other things going on can draw the viewer’s attention. For instance, at the auction,
the viewer knows that the bad guy has bidded and bought a piece of artwork but because
there is an important confrontation going on, we don’t think of its significance.