North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
Introduced by Allan Hunter
“Goodbye Mr Thornhill, wherever you are.”
A man wrongly accused of committing a serious crime and struggling to prove his innocence is a recurring figure in the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Suave advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) raises his hand at the wrong moment in a restaurant and is mistaken for a spy named George Kaplan. Thornhill is then pursued across the country by foreign spies and the police who believe him to be a murderer. Worse still, his mother wants him home for dinner. Thornhill hooks up with a stranger on a train, the achingly lovely Eve (Eva Marie Saint) and the two try to prove his innocence but can she be trusted? Everybody involved in the production brings their A-game. Ernest Lehman’s witty screenplay plays around with notions of identity and truth as well as being daringly suggestive for the times. Bernard Hermann’s score mixes suspense with romanticism. Hitchcock’s stunning use of set-pieces and spectacular locations lays down the template for the modern action movie blockbuster. For a film in which deception features so strongly there is nothing fake about Grant’s effortless charm or his onscreen chemistry with Marie Saint. North by Northwest is an action thriller with plenty of depth.
Film journalist for the Daily Express and Screen Daily, Allan Hunter is also the co-director of the Glasgow Film Festival, an event growing in stature every year. In 2010 Mr Hunter oversaw a retrospective of Cary Grant’s career at the GFF. An admirer of Grant’s work, Mr Hunter will introduce tonight’s screening and afterwards talk about the film.
Cary Grant – Roger O. Thornhill
Eva Marie Saint – Eve Kendall
James Mason – Philip Vanda
Jessie Reynolds – Clara Thornhill
Leo G. Carroll – The Professor
Martin Landau – Leonard
Screenplay by Ernest Lehman
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Running time 2 hrs 16 mins
Only wrote a brief introduction for this screening as a guest speaker was due to make an appearance. If you’d told me when The Station started screening movies that one night there would have been a full house laughing uproariously at a Ken Loach movie I would have thought you were mental.
‘malt whisky epitomises the inherent dichotomy of the Scottish psyche – at once passionate and rational, romantic and ironic, mystical and sceptical, heroic and craven, full of laughter and despair.’
Charles Maclean, Malt Whisky (1998)
Scottish cinema can generally be divided into two categories – gritty urban dramas (Trainspotting, Neds) or charming escapism (Local Hero). Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share manages to cover both territories with this tale of a young tearaway who finds redemption through a developing interest in Malt whisky. Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is a bright lad but never far away from trouble. Unable to extricate himself from a long-time feud with a local gang and hated by his pregnant girlfriend’s family he is running out of chances until kindly community services leader Harry (John Henshaw) takes him under his wing and introduces him to the pleasures of malt whisky. Loach and Glaswegian writer Paul Laverty have collaborated on fourteen other films several of which have been set in Scotlandincluding Carla’s Song (1994), My Name is Joe (98), and Ae Fond Kiss (2004). Always sympathetic to the plight of the underprivileged their work together particularly when dealing with Scots working class life has a great deal of humour present. The Angel’s Share is one of Loach’s warmest films, avoiding his tendency for didacticism but still managing to pass social commentary while being extremely entertaining.