Today, I went to a screening of my favourite film North By Northwest at the Prince Charles Cinema in London.
I first watched it as a teenager; sucked in by the story when it was shown on TV late one night, and having to stay up until the end. It's a masterpiece of tight screenwriting that's as witty as it is gripping; subtly acted by an exceptional cast under the eye of an iconic director. Cary Grant gives a pitch-perfect performance that predates the suaveness of Bond, except his wisecracks are actually funny; even if he sounds alarmingly like Tony Curtis' impression of him in Some Like it Hot.
It doesn't matter how many times I see the film, it's twists, turns and set-pieces are still exciting; whether you're watching the characters stumble around the faces of Mount Rushmore or watching planes dust crops where there ain't no crops. The only weak bit is the final sequence, which suddenly cuts from Eve Marie Saint dangling from a mountain to her being pulled into a train compartment bed by Cary Grant; still, what's a couple of cheesy lines between friends when the rest of the script is so good. I would have loved to have been in it, if only it didn't predate me by twenty-two years. Oh well; you can't be alive for everything.