[This post is part of the Greater Good Blogathon, hosted by: Self-Dtyled Siren, Ferdy on Films, and This Island Rod. Please donate to film preservation.]
North by Northwest broke my Hitchcock cherry. I can't remember how young I was on my first viewing; but, for a time, my wowed self certainly considered this the be-all and end-all of thriller pictures. Ain't nothing could get better than this movie. So, although North by Northwest is no longer my favorite Hitchcock picture, it will always hold a special place for me.
As I'm sure I've mentioned multiple times on the blog, I didn't grow up cultured. I didn't grow up knowing the things one must know to be in the know among those who know a lot. I never saw a foreign film until I went to college. But I did see a lot of older movies when I was a kid—not because my parents were trying to get us all cultured and shit but because older movies were safe: no swearing, nudity, or gore.
And, growing up as I did on older movies and TV shows, I became acquainted with Hitchcock rather early on. Of course, how was it possible not to know of this guy? Such a consummate filmmaker, such a personality. Indeed, even before I saw North by Northwest, I was actually quite aware of him from his TV show. But I was never much interested in watching the stories; I just really dug his intros. So, for me, Hitchcock was more of a personality, a showman; not a director (whatever my young self assumed directing to mean).
So I suppose it's fitting that Hitchcock entered full on ham mode for the trailer to North by Northwest (much in the same way he would with the Psycho trailer). Standing behind a travel agent desk, Hitchcock presents the movie as a carefree travelogue...of murder. Yes, a cheeky little trailer this; Hitchcock deliciously savors all of his cliched tourist film lines—the thrilling North by Northwest footage, meanwhile, intercut throughout. Enjoy your vacation...of murder.