No. No, Mother, I have not been drinking. No. No. These two men, they poured a whole bottle of bourbon into me. No, they didn’t give me a chaser.
This is a thrilling adventure about an unsuspecting advertising executive (Cary Grant) who gets caught up in espionage, which makes for a tense and exciting story! There’s spies, romance, action, and some humour thrown in too so what’s not to like?! One of my favourite Hitchcock films, this is a film that should be seen if you enjoy adventure and good cinema!
Roger Thornhill (Grant) is the man at the centre of the action, as he finds himself being pursued by enemy agents, led by Phillip Vandamm (James Mason), who believe him to be a governement agent trying to stop their espionage plans. Despite his denials that he is not this agent called ‘George Kaplan'(who unbeknowst to the enemy does not exist) it is to no avail and he only escapes the agents with difficulty (and funny consequences as nobody believes his story). He soon gets caught up again and the chase is on as he gets dragged deeper into the mess as murder becomes involved. Thornhill meets an attractive woman called Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) and she helps him, though we then see her working with the enemy, leaving us suspicious of her allegiances. The film then basically shows Thornhill getting dragged deeper and deeper into the situation as he then actively helps the government in their plans. The film has a thrilling final part, as the drama, intrigue, and action escalates further and further and reaches an exciting climax!
This film really does grip you from start to finish as it moves along at a good pace with various incidents along the way, and the tension and drama escalating with each moment. These incidents are dramatic (the scene at the UN), action packed (the scene with the plane in the desert), and also humourous (the scene in the auction room- this is really good!). The film never plateaus, it introduces new dimensions as more is revealed about the agents and what is actually happening, though it never gets too complicated. The climax of the film is gripping as Thornhill and Kendall are both in danger and try to escape the enemy, and it makes for a suitable finale to the film.
The actors are good in their roles, I can’t think of faults with any! Grant was good as the perplexed and determined Thornhill as he came to terms with events and what he had got himself into. Eva Marie Saint was also fab as Kendall. She was alluring yet mysterious and this carried over well. The viewer is not 100% sure of her motives until part way through the film, and by the end you really can root for her, as well as Thornhill, which is credit to both the actors. Mason was also good at playing the smooth and hard enemy agent. Though his character was never fully developed he, and the other agents that were tasked with dealing with Thornhill; played their roles well. Leo G. Carroll was also good in his role as The Professor (a government agent) when he tried to take charge of the situation with Thornhill. Overall, I can’t criticise any of the actors, they contributed to a great film!
As it is an older film, the effects are not as amazing as in modern films. The scenes when Thornhill is drunk in the car, and various other points in the film would no doubt look better if they were filmed now, but this barely detracts from the film. The scenes are still thrilling, especially the plane scene, and unlike some more modern films which have too much action that it becomes boring, this film has a perfect balance. There’s enough drama and action to raise tension and keep interest, but it never detracts from the overarching story. The balance is spot on and makes it even more enjoyable!
Overall, this film is a true classic and one of the must sees. It’s not a standard action/thriller (they aren’t usually my kind of genres) so don’t be put off if you don’t normally watch them! It is a great film that everyone can appreciate and enjoy. A riveting story, plenty of action, tension, romance, and humour, which means there is never a dull moment. There is something for everyone in this film and it really is memorable. This has become one of my (admittedly many) favourite films and I shall definitely be watching it again and I would recommend you to do the same!