North By Northwest (Faber Classic Screenplay Series)
Publish Date: 2000-04-15
Author: Ernest Lehman
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The first publication of the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's romantic thriller
Made in 1959, North by Northwest is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most beloved thrillers, an enticing cocktail of suspense, comedy, eroticism, and danger. In the film, Cary Grant is a suave but stiff-necked executive who finds himself mistaken for a United States intelligence agent and, as a result, is forced into a series of life-threatening encounters with the villainous James Mason. Grant's consolation is that he also becomes involved with the elegant female spy played by Eva Marie Saint. But the game of international intrigue is played for high stakes --and in high style: in the film's classic sequences, Grant is chased across cornfields by a crop-dusting plane and, later, is forced to climb the slopes of Mount Rushmore's National Memorial to escape his pursuers.
The screenplay is the work of one of the most versatile and successful American screenwriters, Ernest Lehman, who provides an Introduction that explores the process of collaborating with Hitchcock on the film. Also the author of the screenplays for such different films as Sweet Smell of Success and The Sound of Music, Lehman managed in this work to combine witty wordplay and thoughtful suspense in such a way that North by Northwest stands as the epitome of Hitchcock's elegant, entertaining thrillers.