North By Northwest’s Famous Plane Chase Could Have Been A Lot More Cartoony
As Time notes, the title of Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller, “North by Northwest,” seems to be a reference to flying north on Northwest Airlines, which we see Cary Grant’s protagonist and mistaken identity victim, Roger Thornhill, do as he leaves Chicago for South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore National Memorial toward the end of the movie.
There’s a much more famous scene involving Grant and a plane in “North by Northwest,” of course, but while Hitchcock and screenwriter Ernest Lehman were brainstorming for that scene, the movie itself almost flew right off course.In a 2000 interview with the journal Creative Screenwriting, Lehman explained how the classic scene of Grant’s character running across an open field in the middle of nowhere with a plane chasing him from behind first came together.
Hitchcock spoke elsewhere about how he wanted to upend cliches by putting his protagonist in peril in “the loneliest, emptiest
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