This is one of Hitchcock’s most famous films, and rightly so, since it’s one of the best. It takes the formula that Hitchcock loved so much, that of an ordinary man in a situation that’s completely out of his league, and injects it with suspense, romance, action and humor into what can only be called a perfect film. Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, an advertising executive who gets confused with a secret agent by a group of international spies led by a Mr. Van Damme (James Mason, not the OTHER one). Soon he’s in all sorts of trouble, from accused of murder to involved with a woman (Eva Marie Saint) who’s working for the evil side. Or maybe not?
My favorite aspect of this film is how funny it is. Cary Grant, who was always a master comedian, injects every line he says with a dash of humor. The best humorous scene has to be the auction scene, in which he acts like an asshole to get himself arrested. Speaking of scenes, this movie’s full of legendary and famous ones. From the train to the crop-dusting airplane sequence that has been imitated and homaged many times to the third-act sequences in Mount Rushmore, it’s all classic. The romance angle works as well, with Eva Marie Saint being the typical pretty blonde Hitchcock always cast. She’s funny and smart and always kind of horny, making her very appealing. The fact that she’s a double agent brings even more romantic tension.
If there is one thing that I don’t like in this film, though, it the fact that Grant seems to get away too easily. I mean, he gets accused of murdering a man in the United Nations, then he sneaks into a train without a problem, and then he escapes from the hospital. I don’t think Hitchcock had a lot of trust in the police. Other than that, this movie is pretty much perfect.