North by Northwest

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

Jack's Revenge

Trivia: Cary Grant was born on January 18th, 1904, and the actress playing his mother, Jessie Royce Landis, was born on November 25th, 1896, making her just seven years older than Cary. According to commentary on the DVD, it was thought that casting Landis as Cary Grant's mother would make Cary look young enough to be a believable love interest for Eva Marie Saint.

Trivia: After Eva Marie Saint snatches the sculpture containing the microfilm from James Mason, Cary Grant remarks, "I see you got the pumpkin." This was evidently a reference to the Alger Hiss case, in which Whitaker Chambers testified that Hiss had given him government secrets that had been hidden in a scooped out pumpkin in a pumpkin patch in Hiss' back yard.

Trivia: In the auction gallery, Cary Grant says to Eva Marie Saint, whom he sees with the spies for the first time, "The three of you together: here's a picture only Charles Addams could draw." This referred to a New Yorker cartoonist who specialized in macabre and grotesque characters. The reference would probably have been lost to Italian viewers, but the dubber did his homework, and the translation was, "The three of you together: just like something out of Dracula and Frankenstein."

Trivia: Thornhill is looking up at the Mount Rushmore sculptures, using the fixed, standing binoculars for tourists, and he exclaims: "I don't like the way Teddy Roosevelt is looking at me." The thing is, Theodore Roosevelt, the third from left to right, is the only one of the four heads to be looking as much away from him as could possibly be. I wonder why the screenwriter, Ernest Lehman, made this particular choice? Perhaps he was having a joke on the perceived ignorance of the contemporary cinema-going public at the time. Either that, or it was just sloppy writing. My guess is he just asked some underling: "Who are the four presidents represented on Mount Rushmore?", and then picked one at random.


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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.


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.

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