The film begins with advertising businessman Roger Thornhill, played by Cary Grant, busy explaining various matters to his secretary, but in the end there is still something wrong: the secretary can't call his mother who is playing bridge. After arriving at the hotel, Thornhill was hijacked by two strangers to the study of a big house. After a while, Mr. Townsend, the owner of the house, appeared, and Che kept calling him Mr. ****/news/index/116.html
There’s a superabundance of sparkling, often marvellously terse one-liners (when asked what the “O” stands for, Thornhill’s resigned and emotionally relevant answer is, “Nothing”) – and, my, how wittily Grant delivers them.
Hitchcock breezes through a tongue-in-cheek, nightmarish plot with a lightness of touch that’s equalled by a charming performance from Grant (below), who copes effortlessly with the script’s dash between claustrophobia and intrigue on one hand and romance and comedy on the other.
Not only a commercial success, Hitch used his family of technicians - Robert Burks on camera, Bernard Herrmann soundtrack and George Tomasini cutting - to create one of cinema's greatest chase movies of all time.
Another excellent film by Alfred Hitchcock.
Personally, this is not one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, although it is one of the most acclaimed and one of the most interesting. The script revolves around a confusion of identities, where an ordinary citizen is mistaken for a spy and ends up in a tremendous confusion with gigantic repercussions on his personal life and national security.
The script is quite good and the story has no dead moments. It entertains the audience in a perfect way until the end and makes us curious to know what is really going on, curiosity being an important part of what keeps us stuck in the film (and one of the reasons I prefer to hardly talk about the plot). The main character, played by Cary Grant, was so well thought out that we quickly established an affective and sympathetic link with her, caring about what will happen to her. It goes without saying that, although the cast is very good, it is really Cary Grant who stands out here. Eva Marie Saint is good, but she never leaves the shadow of the male protagonist. Another actor that deserves a positive note is Martin Landau.
Technically, it is an impeccable film, to the taste of director Hitchcock. It is full of symbolic scenes or with more than one meaning, some of them bordering on the dreamlike. Some of the scenes are truly striking, like those that were shot on Mount Rushmore. The camera and film work is excellent and cinematography perfectly harmonizes color, light, shadow and contrast, resulting in a visually elegant film, although with the characteristics of a film of its time, of course. The soundtrack is also quite good, as are the sets and costumes.
Ok, I'll be a hater. I didn't really care for it. I felt the story was too predictable and the pacing uneven. It was a rather boring watch for me and I had a hard time finishing it, let alone actually being interested in what I was watching.
On a failli y croire... pendant à peu près trois quarts d'heure : le rythme est satisfaisant, la curiosité est de mise, Cary Grant est à la fois élégant, cynique et opiniâtre... assez drôle aussi ! mais c'est Cary Grant. Puis arrive le train... et le traintrain d'un film qui tout-à-coup tel un vieux tortillard n'arrive plus à grimper les côtes...
ça coïncide avec l'apparition de la poupée blonde Eva Marie Saint... et même si elle incarnait le retour de la madone en personne, elle ne peut certainement pas remplacer l'autre égérie blonde de Hitchcock, pleine de grâce, Grace Kelly. On me dira cependant que même Grace n'aurait pas pu effacer l'ennui d'un coup de baguette magique et on aura raison. Mais tout de même.
Voici donc que le film s'époumone à tous les niveaux et pédale comme un hamster asthmatique : les dialogues deviennent aussi bêtes qu'interminables et le scénario en chute libre dévoile son vrai visage de série B, écrit à la va-comme-je-te-pousse, de plus en plus téléphoné à l'avance... Même l'inquiétant personnage de l'excellent James Mason ne parvient pas non plus à ressortir le film de son marasme...
La fin enfonce le clou et sombre dans le burlesque hollywoodien le plus échevelé et invraisemblable... Certes, la musique pleine d'entrain de Bernard Herrmann tente de réveiller régulièrement tout ça. Une musique de bien meilleure qualité que l'ensemble du film, assurément !