North by Northwest

Factual error: When Cary Grant is attacked by the crop duster, he is supposed to be between Chicago and Indianapolis. Unfortunately, northwest Indiana looks nothing like this. The scene in the movie has miles and miles of treeless landscape. Even in the flattest farmlands of Indiana, there are many visible groves of trees.

Factual error: In New York, a newspaper headline reads, MANHUNT ON FOR UN KILLER, with a smaller headline below reading "Nixon promises West will remain in Berlin". The next night Eva Marie Saint reads the crop-duster plane story in the Chicago Sun-Times. Since the Sun-Times was a morning paper and the accident occurred in the afternoon, she must have been reading the following morning's edition. But a smaller headline underneath carries the same story: "Nixon promises West will remain in Berlin"; two days later, it's old news.

Factual error: The date shown on the newspaper after Cary Grant is accused of stabbing the diplomat at the U.N. is Nov. 25, 1958. The subsequent outdoor scenes clearly show leaves on the trees and people dressed for warmer weather.

Factual error: At the end the couple are supposed to be returning from Rapid City, SD, to New York by train. The last shot shows a locomotive of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The word "Pacific" on the two locomotives has been covered over (but not on the baggage and four passenger cars visible before fade-to-black). The consist is a mix of SP paint schemes, all of which identify the railroad regardless of names on the side. It would have been easy for them to obtain SP train equipment in LA, but it seems odd that they would have bothered to modify the railroad name on the locomotives, particularly since it changes the name to the name of a another real railroad that didn't serve the US north of Cincinnati and Washington D.C.: the Southern Railway.

Factual error: The address of the art auction is 1212 N. Michigan. Michigan Avenue only extends north to the 900 block.

Factual error: The 20th Century Limited train, where Grant and Saint first meet, is supposed to be heading west in the afternoon, past the Great Lakes which should be on the right side of the train, but the lakes are visible through the windows on the left, so the views were shot heading east, and the supposed lowering late afternoon sun would in fact be the sun soon after sunrise.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The fact that you can see the far shore of the "Great lake" tells me this isn't Ontario, Erie, or Michigan. I always assumed it must be the Finger Lakes, but I'm not familiar with the topography there. Just an assumption based on the knowing the Great Lakes and knowing that's not what was out the window.

Factual error: In the final escape scene on top of Mt Rushmore 3 of the Presidents are shown, but in the wrong order. They are shown in the movie, left to right, Washington, Roosevelt and then Jefferson. On Mt Rushmore in real life, left to right, it's Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: I watched the scene and never saw them out of order. Before they climb down, we see Mt Rushmore in full and the order is correct. They even climb down between Washington and Jefferson.

Bishop73

More mistakes in North by Northwest
More quotes from North by Northwest
North by Northwest trivia picture

Trivia: Alfred Hitchcock's cameo comes at the end of the opening credits. He can be seen missing the bus.

Jack's Revenge

More trivia for North by Northwest

Question: Several times in the movie one character is able to ascertain in which hotel room another character is staying simply by asking the front desk for the room number. Was this realistic at the time the movie was made? Today, a hotel would never divulge a guest's room number to a stranger, since such information could potentially be used by burglars and/or predators to gain access to hotel rooms. Was security really that lax in the 1950s?

Answer: Not really. You could (and at some hotels are still able to) keep your room number private or you could not - i.e. you could ask the hotel staff to keep your number secret from strangers, or you could ask them to tell anyone who might ask. Not having seen this movie, I don't know how likely it would be in the situations you speak of that the hotel guest would choose the latter option- it might be a mistake.

Blibbetyblip

Answer: Yes, security was that lax in the 1950s and beyond. People could acquire all kinds of information about individuals from various types of businesses. Not all were so careless, but many were or they naively didn't see a concern. In the late 1980s, I was a student at a university where a non-university person obtained his ex-girlfriend's class schedule simply by requesting it in-person from the registrar's office. Using that information, he was able to locate and fatally shoot her on campus.

raywest Premium member

More questions & answers from North by Northwest

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.