North by northwest

United States, 1959

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Alfred Hitchcock nominated this literal cliff hanger as the film that most epitomised the elements of his years of making thrillers. Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is a smug but successful Madison Avenue advertising executive who is plunged into the world of espionage when he his mistaken for mythical agent George Kaplan who US intelligence has created to flush out spies. Matters are further complicated when he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Saint-Marie) who further jeopardises his life while being romantically involved with him. Kidnapped by spies, Thornhill escapes but is then accused of killing a UN diplomat. He is pursued by both spies and the police and desperately flees across country, buzzed by a crop duster plane in one of the films most memorable scenes. His meeting with arch spy James Mason on the Mount Rushmore monument provides the heart-stopping climax as the pair fight it out on the giant sculptures of former US presidents.

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