North by Northwest

North by Northwest (1959)

12 corrected entries

(8 votes)

Corrected entry: Cary says "Assembling the General Assembly" instead of "Addressing the General Assembly". I believe it's when he's with his mom, exploring Kaplans Hotel.

Correction: He says it as a joke. Like "Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department".

Corrected entry: "Logic is boring", said Hitchcock. Some things you still can't ignore, like the scene where Roger Thornhill is kidnapped in the very beginning of this film. What about those people Thornhill's having lunch with? Wouldn't they had wondered where their reliable business-associate disappears all of a sudden and later come forward and give some credit to his story on their part?


Correction: All they know is that he left the table and didn't return. How could they possibly add credibility to his story?

Corrected entry: The characters were supposed to be moving "North by Northwest." But there is no such direction (or compass point). There is North by West and Northwest by North, but North by Northwest doesn't exist. The title of the film is a factual error.

Correction: Roger Thornhill, Grant's character, flies north via Northwest Airlines.

Corrected entry: Cary Grant steals a redcap's uniform while he was sleeping, implying that the redcap had been on the overnight run. Redcaps didn't ride the trains; they worked in the stations.

Correction: The redcap is seen fingering the bribe that Thornhill gave him, just after telling the cops that his uniform had been stolen. He must have boarded the train upon its arrival and immediately been enticed by the ever-resourceful Thornhill.

Corrected entry: When the plane hits the gas truck and it catches on fire, instead of getting out on the passenger side, the passenger crawls out the driver's side.

Correction: How is this a mistake? The fire on the passenger side of the truck, not visible to the audience, could have been severe, or the wind blowing in that direction. Any number of possibilities exist; at worst, this is a character mistake only.

Corrected entry: In the hospital room, Thornhill puts on the clothes the Professor brought him while they talk. In one shot, Thornhill is putting on the shirt. Then the camera moves briefly to the Professor. When it returns to Thornhill, he has almost finished fastening the trousers, although too little time has elapsed for him to have picked them up from the bed and put them on. Seconds later, when he climbs out the window and walks along the ledge, he is also wearing shoes, which he could not have put on and tied that fast.

Correction: Cary Grant puts on his shoes (loafers) after the professor leaves the room. Therefore, he was correctly wearing shoes when he climbs out the window.

Corrected entry: In the English DVD subtitles throughout the film, anytime something is shown for the audience to read (the package in Townsend's home, Eve's note on the train) the text of the note is duplicated in the subtitles. This is extremely odd because subtitles are intended for those hard of hearing; nothing interferes with their ability to read. If they did have trouble reading, printing it twice on the screen for the same duration wouldn't help much.


Correction: It's not odd at all. A hearing-impaired viewer must constantly shift their focus from watching the action on the screen to reading the subtitles below. This does not give them much time to read anything else onscreen. Including it in the subtitles just makes it a little easier for those viewers to keep up with what's going on in the movie.

Corrected entry: It's now infamous that the scene of Thornhill ascending the steps to the United Nations building was done surreptitiously, without permission of the U.N. Watch as Cary Grant walks up the steps. As he does, one innocent passerby to screen left appears to recognise Grant.

Correction: In the context of the film, why can it not be someone who recognises Thornhill?

Corrected entry: The train is stopped to be boarded, but when the police are questioning Eva Marie Saint the window behind her is showing scenery rushing past, and there is a slight wobble in the camera to simulate train movement.

Correction: The train wouldn't be held on a siding, but would pick up the state police and then start again.


Corrected entry: County detectives in Glen Cove, Long Island, question a woman who impersonates the wife of a UN diplomat. Wouldn't they already have enough of a dossier on a man of his position to know that his wife had died several years ago?

Correction: No, county detectives (esp. in the 50's) would not have a dossier of personal information on a diplomat anywhere handy.


Corrected entry: Eva Marie Saint gives instructions to Cary Grant to take a bus to a rendezvous on an Indiana highway. He points out that he could rent a car. She says, "Mr. Kaplan said bus: he wants to make sure you are alone." How does this choice of transportation create any greater assurance that he will be alone?

Correction: Only reason he is told to come by bus is NOT to assure that he is alone but to leave him without a transportation and consequently more vulnerable to crop duster attack as he can not escape but on foot.

Corrected entry: When Cary Grant writes in the matchbook to warn Eva, the actor is writing with his right hand. Cary Grant was left handed.

Correction: Just because the actor is left-handed, doesn't mean the character is. It's only a mistake if we see him writing with his left-hand elsewhere in the movie.

Correction: No, but he punches with his left hand and also throws a rock at the window with his left hand.

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Trivia: In the scene when Cary Grant is going up the steps to the UN, Alfred Hitchcock shot it from a rug truck across the street. He wasn't allowed to shoot the front of the UN. If you look closely, you can see a security guard in the left corner.

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Chosen answer: The original title for the movie was "In a Northwesterly Direction", as it was originally detailing the flight of a man from New York to Alaska, according to writer Earnest Lehman. According to Alfred Hitchcock, however, he took the title from a line in Hamlet, another work of fiction that is concerned with the slippery nature of reality. It is also worth noting that North by Northwest is not a direction on the compass at all. The nearest to it would be Northwest by North.


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