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Cary Grant: The Complete Filmography - Watching All Of His Movies (1 Viewer)

Allansfirebird

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Sean, great to learn of your personal link to this film. Thanks for sharing.
It seems this was directed by a very young JJ Abrams ...those lens flares.

I credit the lens flares to an overzealous iPhone flash, haha.

Not to derail Josh's thread too much, but I'm fiercely proud of my grandpa's body of work. He was mostly a bit player, but he did a ton of work during the 50's and 60's: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0573005/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
He shared scenes with Marilyn Monroe and James Stewart, and was directed by Hitchcock, Hawks, Wilder, Bob Wise and John Ford. A lot of the reason I'm a classic Hollywood film fanatic is because of him.
 

Nelson Au

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Interesting post Lee. I was struck by your description that Donen's direction is sweet compared to how Hitchcock would have done it. I say that because there are so many brutal shots of the murder victims as those shots were shocking as they were meant to. But at the same time, I'm guessing you mean how the romance is developed between Regina and Peter.

Also, the way you listed the later Cary Grant films are prelude to Charade is almost how I approached Charade, Mink was the later film I had watched two nights prior and An Affair to Remember and Indiscreet are films I've seen many times. You're right in that Grant was playing characters who were doing things that are a little unpleasant. Though in Indiscreet, it didn't exactly feel that way because of the romance. So it was possibly fortuitous that I'm going with the later films that I see much less frequently to those I've not seen yet to see a version of Grant that's less ideal such as in Mink. So Father Goose being next will make sense.

I hate to digress a little, I am not a frequent Audrey Hepburn watcher. I still have the restored My Fair Lady to watch. And I've seen Breakfast and Tiffany's years ago. For some reason, I didn't connect to Tiffany's like so many. Similarly, her film with Albert Finny, Two For The Road I've seen on PBS a couple of times. I similarly wasn't able to really latch onto that one. Though I realized it's a bit experimental for 1967. What I really remember are the cars, especially the 1967 Mercedes 230SL. Because I liked Charade during this viewing, I might have to re-evaluate those Hepburn films. I did really like Roman Holiday and I bet like Charade, it was the chemistry she had with the leading man.
 

davidmatychuk

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I credit the lens flares to an overzealous iPhone flash, haha.

Not to derail Josh's thread too much, but I'm fiercely proud of my grandpa's body of work. He was mostly a bit player, but he did a ton of work during the 50's and 60's: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0573005/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
He shared scenes with Marilyn Monroe and James Stewart, and was directed by Hitchcock, Hawks, Wilder, Bob Wise and John Ford. A lot of the reason I'm a classic Hollywood film fanatic is because of him.

I'd be insufferable if any relative of mine had been in so many great movies. Check out that list! "Rebel Without A Cause", "Bus Stop", "The Thing From Another World", "War Of The Worlds", "The Day The Earth Stood Still", "Strangers On A Train", "I Was A Male War Bride", "Where The Sidewalk Ends", "Adam's Rib", AND "The Deadly Mantis"? And then all those TV appearances? They wouldn't be able to sew the buttons back on my shirts fast enough!
 

Josh Steinberg

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#26 - The Amazing Adventure aka The Amazing Quest Of Ernest Bliss (1936)
Viewed on April 7, 2016
Viewing Format: MOD DVD-R (Film Detective)

Of all the really early Cary Grant movies I've watched, The Amazing Adventure has been amongst the most enjoyable. It's a shame its only available in such compromised editions. Originally released at 80 minutes, it now circulates as a public domain 62 minute version that's been mercilessly hacked. I had good luck with the Film Detective's BD-R of the Bogart/Huston movie Beat The Devil, so I thought I'd give their version a try and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it was of pretty dreadful quality.

Despite the shortcomings of the transfer, the movie itself was great. In its somewhat ridiculous but charming premise, Grant plays a rich socialite who's grown bored with the rich life, despite living in a beautiful home and having a great butler. He makes a $50,000 bet with a doctor to live as a normal man for a year, supporting himself by whatever means he can and not touching his money or revealing his true identity. In that time, he discovers all that life really has to offer, and even falls in love. Loaned out from his Paramount contract to complete the film, many hints of the Grant persona shine through here, and it's a joy to see the young actor discovering his powers.

The transfer from Film Detective is not good. The element used looks worn and dupey, with contrast all over the place and plenty of dirt and damage. The audio is equally poor; at times its difficult to understand what the characters are saying. Even worse, there's some sort of weird encoding thing going on with the disc where even though everything is playing back normally, the framerate somehow looks wrong. It looks like badly encoded video, and nothing like film. It would be great if some brave distributor could dig up a copy of the full length version and save this movie from this awful edition.

I very much recommend Amazing Adventure, despite the fact that you'll almost certainly be viewing it in poor quality. But if you're able to look past that, there's a lot to enjoy here.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#27 - Mr. Lucky (1943)
Viewed on April 8, 2016
Viewing Format: MOD DVD-R (Warner Archive)

Mr. Lucky is a delightful romance-drama-comedy teaming Cary Grant with director H.C. Potter, who would later go on to direct Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. In the movie, Grant plays a grifter and gambler who gets drafted into World War II. Assuming a dead partner's identity, someone who had been declared ineligible, Grant gets out of service. But he must find a source of money to bankroll the gambling operation he wants to start. He cons his way into helping the local war relief agency, despite the suspicions of one of the socialites who helps run the organization (Laraine Day). The agency had been used to failing in its efforts, but with Grant's con man charm, he is able to help them achieve many of their goals. Along the way, he and Day begin to fall in love, and he begins to have second thoughts about his gambling scheme. The film is a delightful character study, and Grant excels in the title role. Of the hidden gems in his filmography, this one is well worth seeking out.

The DVD-R from Warner Archive is a better effort than Crisis and Dream Wife, and at least as good as Once Upon A Honeymoon. Although it lacks subtitles, the transfer is generally clean and the audio is clear. Though it's clearly an older transfer likely made for cable or VHS, it's fine for what it is and is a decent look at a movie that might not otherwise be available. That said, if Warner Archive wanted to take a crack at this for Blu-ray, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.

Mr. Lucky is a sweet and endearing movie that deserves a second look today. The release by Warner Archive is serviceable and worth seeking out, especially if you can get it during one of their periodic sales.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#28. Born To Be Bad (1934)
Viewed on April 8, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Fox)

Born To Be Bad is an early drama Cary Grant made during his contract years on loan to Fox, where he gives support to the lead, Loretta Young. Young plays an escort (though prerelease cuts obscure that somewhat) with a young son, constantly looking for a better offer. One day, her son is accident hit by Grant's milk truck, and though the boy isn't injured, his mother has him fake it so that she can sue Grant. In court, her deception is revealed, but Grant and his wife offer to take the boy in. Young initially agrees to the arrangement, but ultimately attempts to sabotage it by seducing the married Grant in an effort to get his money and custody of her son. Running just an hour, the movie presents actors who are more cliches than characters, and nothing here works terribly well. Were it not for Grant's involvement, this lesser known titles would be even more obscure today.

The DVD from Fox is of better than expected quality for a movie that's over eighty years old. Picture quality is reasonably good, audio is understandable, and the disc includes subtitles. This isn't demonstration material, but the presentation is fine.

This was one of the movies included in the Fox/MGM Cary Grant 7-Film Collection set. Taken as part of the set, which I got for about $15, it was worth the investment, but I would not recommend this title for a blind buy as a stand-alone purchase. This is probably for completists only. Though Grant made 72 pictures in his career, he only counted 68 in his own personal listing, and this was one of the ones he excluded. After watching it, it's easy to see why.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#29 - Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)
Viewed on April 9, 2016
Viewing Format: MOD DVD-R (Warner Archive)

Every Girl Should Be Married proved to be a prophetic title for the stars of this romantic comedy, as Cary Grant and Betsy Drake were married not long after finishing the movie. In this by-the-numbers movie, Grant plays a famous pediatrician, and Drake is a department store clerk who falls for him after he visits her store. But much to her surprise, despite Grant's image as a romantic family man, he's actually a bachelor who has no desire to get married and actually can't stand kids. So Drake learns everything she can about him, and comes up with one unsuccessful scheme after another to trick him into falling love with her. Although nothing she tries works, he finds himself falling for her. When he finally does begin to show interest, she suddenly seems to lose interest. Has she moved on, or is it just another scheme? Will they end up together? Watch and find out!

The DVD-R from Warner Archive is the best of the Grant ones I've seen so far. Although it's not marked as being remastered, it looks more on par with regular Warner DVD releases than the Archive's DVD-Rs. The credits are windowboxed the way newer Warner transfers are. The picture and audio quality are pretty good. I wonder if Warner had been planning another Grant set at some point and then abandoned it. Whatever the reason, this is a better than expected disc.

Though it's not one of Grant's best movies, Every Girl Should Be Married is still an enjoyable comedy, with Grant's effortless charm elevating the otherwise generic material. If Betsy Drake isn't quite up to the high standards set by past leading ladies like Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers, she and Grant do have a certain chemistry that works for the movie. This might not be worth a purchase at full price, but if you can catch it as a rental or on cable or during a sale, its still worth taking a look at.
 

RMajidi

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I credit the lens flares to an overzealous iPhone flash, haha.

Not to derail Josh's thread too much, but I'm fiercely proud of my grandpa's body of work. He was mostly a bit player, but he did a ton of work during the 50's and 60's: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0573005/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
He shared scenes with Marilyn Monroe and James Stewart, and was directed by Hitchcock, Hawks, Wilder, Bob Wise and John Ford. A lot of the reason I'm a classic Hollywood film fanatic is because of him.

Josh / Sean,

Along the way, I became aware from your posts elsewhere on HTF that you were significantly younger than the majority here, and was much impressed with your depth of knowledge and especially your affinity for classic film. Now within the space of a few posts you have both provided some precious insights into how that came to be.

Thank you for being generous with your personal stories. It is greatly appreciated.
 

davidmatychuk

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Josh's fun and insightful reviews consistently point to an interesting fact about Cary Grant's stardom. The more you know about his life and his career, the more you'll notice how modern and self-aware he was as an on-screen personality.
As Pauline Kael observed in her classic essay "The Man From Dream City", there was a duality to his performances that was entirely his; he regularly suggested another, opposite side to his characterizations as a kind of ironic commentary on them. But let's not forget that Cary Grant went independent of the studio system very early in his career, in the late 1930's, after he constructed the "Cary Grant" character while trying out various aspects of that character in a series of (mostly) Paramount pictures. The "Cary Grant - The Vault Collection" DVD box set (it's a great set) offers 18 such examples of Cary Grant inventing himself, trying out and discarding scraps of persona while learning his craft, and finding out what kinds of roles meshed with his ample natural talents and hard-earned skills.
Once his independent stardom was confirmed, he became very canny about using his image, and playing against it in various self-referential ways. The "Jerry the nipper" line in "Bringing Up Baby", and the "Archie Leach" and "Mock Turtle" references in "His Girl Friday" are obvious examples, and the "My Favorite Wife" casting of Randolph Scott, his close friend (so close that the rumor mill hasn't stopped grinding to this day), was a particularly amusing and clever merging of real life and movie reality. And his speaking voice remained remarkably consistent and highly distinctive from the start to the finish of his long career. You always heard "Cary Grant", no matter what character he was playing, to such an extent that the exaggeration of his Cockney accent in "None But The Lonely Heart", so close to the accent of his upbringing, stands out in his filmography as the most altered variation on the Cary Grant sound he ever tried.
Though he was independent of the studio system's machinations, he was every bit as canny about building and maintaining his own image as any studio mogul would have been. I think that Cary Grant even beat them at their own game.
 
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davidmatychuk

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And that fantastic background score by Henry Mancini. Yes, the title song was Oscar-nominated, but the score itself also deserved a nomination. I played the Charade LP to death when was growing up (Henry Mancini could do no wrong, and I had most of his score albums to films). The actual soundtrack album to Charade was only released a few years ago on CD, and a dear friend gifted me with a copy which I truly treasure.

Despite its being a hit, I think Charade never got the credit it deserved during its initial run. Looking at it now, it's a near masterpiece in my eyes. I was also privileged to review the Criterion Blu-ray release, and it's one of the discs I most prize in my collection. I only wish the bonus feature content was tripled.

I agree, I agree, I agree!

The Donen/Stone commentary is a classic, though. Those men are Hollywood classics.

This is a nice "Charade" piece, from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/dec/13/charade-audrey-hepburn-cary-grant
 

Josh Steinberg

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#30 - North By Northwest (1959)
Viewed on April 10, 2016
Viewing Format: Blu-ray (Warner)

If someone were to say, "I've never seen a Hitchcock movie before, what's all the fuss about?", you could easily show them North By Northwest. (Psycho and Vertigo might be better individually, but North By Northwest is the better representation of everything Hitchcock has to offer, a sort of greatest hits reel for the master.) If someone asked you the same of Cary Grant, you could give the same answer. So when my fiancé said she wanted to watch another Cary Grant movie after Charade, and mentioned she had never seen North By Northwest, it was an easy choice. I've seen North By Northwest many times before, starting with Warner's first DVD. Back when that came out, I remember an excellent column from Robert Harris on the Digital Bits about how the yellow layer of the film negative had faded away, and that they'd never be able to make another print to show in theaters. He was impressed by how the DVD was able to fix this problem in the video realm, saying that the DVD looked better than the film itself did now. When I saw that DVD, I was amazed. You'd never know it was a problem film. Flash forward a decade or so, and thanks to the latest in restoration technology, the movie can be shown in theaters again. I got to see it at the Film Forum in New York City with my mother, who had inexplicably never seen it before. (I also got to eat pizza at Spunto which is around the corner from the Film Forum, and if you're in the area, you should do the same. They have the most amazing thin crust pizza I've ever had. Seriously, what they're able to do with such thin crust should be impossible by the laws of physics, and yet, it's perfection.)

North By Northwest is the most fun of Hitchcock's wrong man thrillers, and Grant plays the part of the ad-man mistaken for spy brilliantly. It's such a ridiculous role in such in an insane caper that only Grant could play it. Jimmy Stewart wanted the part, and as much as I love Stewart, Grant was born to play this part. Eva Marie Saint brings the right blend of intrigue and heat to the role as the mysterious girl. James Mason is a first class villain, and Martin Landau brings unexpected depth to his role as Mason's henchman. Ernest Lehman's script gives us some of the best lines in both Hitch's and Grant's careers and does a great job of juggling when to keep the audience in suspense and when to pull back the curtain. Hitchcock's direction easily runs from playful to suspenseful and back again, and throughout the movie, he always strikes right tone in each moment. I've always thought the movie was maybe a tad too long; at 136 minutes, there are a few scenes that could have probably been trimmed a little more, but it really doesn't matter in the end. It's a delight from start to finish.

The Blu-ray, made from a new restoration, is stunning to behold. After watching so many Grant movies in less than stellar condition, or even watching ones in good condition but in standard definition, to see a large format VistaVision movie in HD was nothing short of astounding. The Blu-ray carries over all of the DVD bonus features and I think adds some new ones. There's a stellar feature-length documentary on Grant called A Class Apart included here that's well worth watching (it can also be found on the two disc Bringing Up Baby set).

In every respect, North By Northwest is a winner, and the presentation on the Blu-ray is equal to the movie's brilliance. Whether on its own, or as part of Universal's Hitchcock set (which, for all of its flaws, is still pretty great), this comes with my highest recommendation. (As does the pizza at Spunto.)
 

RMajidi

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Josh's fun and insightful reviews consistently point to an interesting fact about Cary Grant's stardom. The more you know about his life and his career, the more you'll notice how modern and self-aware he was as an on-screen personality.
As Pauline Kael observed in her classic essay "The Man From Dream City", there was a duality to his performances that was entirely his; he regularly suggested another, opposite side to his characterizations as a kind of ironic commentary on them. But let's not forget that Cary Grant went independent of the studio system very early in his career, in the late 1930's, after he constructed the "Cary Grant" character while trying out various aspects of that character in a series of (mostly) Paramount pictures. The "Cary Grant - The Vault Collection" DVD box set (it's a great set) offers 18 such examples of Cary Grant inventing himself, trying out and discarding scraps of persona while learning his craft, and finding out what kinds of roles meshed with his ample natural talents and hard-earned skills.
Once his independent stardom was confirmed, he became very canny about using his image, and playing against it in various self-referential ways. The "Jerry the nipper" line in "Bringing Up Baby", and the "Archie Leach" and "Mock Turtle" references in "His Girl Friday" are obvious examples, and the "My Favorite Wife" casting of Randolph Scott, his close friend (so close that the rumor mill hasn't stopped grinding to this day), was a particularly amusing and clever merging of real life and movie reality. And his speaking voice remained remarkably consistent and highly distinctive from the start to the finish of his long career. You always heard "Cary Grant", no matter what character he was playing, to such an extent that the exaggeration of his Cockney accent in "None But The Lonely Heart", so close to the accent of his upbringing, stands out in his filmography as the most altered variation on the Cary Grant sound he ever tried.
Though he was independent of the studio system's machinations, he was every bit as canny about building and maintaining his own image as any studio mogul would have been. I think that Cary Grant even beat them at their own game.

"That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out..."
(Fred Gwynne - My Cousin Vinny)
 

davidmatychuk

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#30 - North By Northwest (1959)
Viewed on April 10, 2016
Viewing Format: Blu-ray (Warner)

I've always thought the movie was maybe a tad too long; at 136 minutes, there are a few scenes that could have probably been trimmed a little more, but it really doesn't matter in the end. It's a delight from start to finish.

On this point I will disagree for once (and only this once) with my esteemed colleague Josh Steinberg. Whenever I start watching "North By Northwest", I'm happy to be seeing it again, I'm sorry that it's over so soon, and I'm glad that, thanks to the fantastic Blu-Ray, I'll be able to delight in it for the rest of my tad-too-long life.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Josh / Sean,

Along the way, I became aware from your posts elsewhere on HTF that you were significantly younger than the majority here, and was much impressed with your depth of knowledge and especially your affinity for classic film. Now within the space of a few posts you have both provided some precious insights into how that came to be.

Thank you for being generous with your personal stories. It is greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for the kind words, and for reading, and for participating. You guys are making this a lot more fun than it already was.

Josh's fun and insightful reviews consistently point to an interesting fact about Cary Grant's stardom. The more you know about his life and his career, the more you'll notice how modern and self-aware he was as an on-screen personality….
The "Cary Grant - The Vault Collection" DVD box set (it's a great set) offers 18 such examples of Cary Grant inventing himself, trying out and discarding scraps of persona while learning his craft, and finding out what kinds of roles meshed with his ample natural talents and hard-earned skills.
Once his independent stardom was confirmed, he became very canny about using his image, and playing against it in various self-referential ways...
Though he was independent of the studio system's machinations, he was every bit as canny about building and maintaining his own image as any studio mogul would have been. I think that Cary Grant even beat them at their own game.

I agree with everything here. It's one of the things I've become more aware of and kept an eye on while watching these movies. I've started on that set with the 18 Paramount titles (I'll catch up to them in reviews soon enough I hope), and watching them, there's a real difference from the finished persona. I've seen critics refer to The Awful Truth as the first movie where the fully fledged persona was on display from start to finish, and that does seem about right. Watching some of those early Paramounts (or the ones he did for other studios on loan), you can see how certain things just don't work for him. In Born To Be Bad, he's ultimately weak and ruins his marriage falling prey to Loretta Young's seduction, and it doesn't really work. Clark Gable can do forbidden and faithless love, but it doesn't suit Grant. His newsman in Thirty Day Princess is a pale early attempt compared to His Girl Friday. He's too vain in Kiss And Make Up and Ladies Must Listen, and that gets dialed back afterwards. He made more than 25 films before The Awful Truth, and thats a huge number, but it was in just four or five years worth of time, so against the total arc of his career, it's a tiny period. The movies from that period are often more enjoyable as representations of their respective studio styles from those days more than as Grant vehicles. But it is fascinating to see him forming that identity. And I think in that first wave of movies after he figured it out, from Awful Truth to the late 40s, he's playing that part. But I think what we see somewhat in his last wave of movies before he retired for good is that he's actually become that person. He's not just putting on an accent, that's how he's speaking, and he's not just playing dress up, he's got real style. What was once an effort becomes effortless. It's an amazing thing to witness.
 

Keith Cobby

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#30 - North By Northwest (1959)
Viewed on April 10, 2016
Viewing Format: Blu-ray (Warner)

If someone were to say, "I've never seen a Hitchcock movie before, what's all the fuss about?", you could easily show them North By Northwest. (Psycho and Vertigo might be better individually, but North By Northwest is the better representation of everything Hitchcock has to offer, a sort of greatest hits reel for the master.) If someone asked you the same of Cary Grant, you could give the same answer. So when my fiancé said she wanted to watch another Cary Grant movie after Charade, and mentioned she had never seen North By Northwest, it was an easy choice. I've seen North By Northwest many times before, starting with Warner's first DVD. Back when that came out, I remember an excellent column from Robert Harris on the Digital Bits about how the yellow layer of the film negative had faded away, and that they'd never be able to make another print to show in theaters. He was impressed by how the DVD was able to fix this problem in the video realm, saying that the DVD looked better than the film itself did now. When I saw that DVD, I was amazed. You'd never know it was a problem film. Flash forward a decade or so, and thanks to the latest in restoration technology, the movie can be shown in theaters again. I got to see it at the Film Forum in New York City with my mother, who had inexplicably never seen it before. (I also got to eat pizza at Spunto which is around the corner from the Film Forum, and if you're in the area, you should do the same. They have the most amazing thin crust pizza I've ever had. Seriously, what they're able to do with such thin crust should be impossible by the laws of physics, and yet, it's perfection.)

North By Northwest is the most fun of Hitchcock's wrong man thrillers, and Grant plays the part of the ad-man mistaken for spy brilliantly. It's such a ridiculous role in such in an insane caper that only Grant could play it. Jimmy Stewart wanted the part, and as much as I love Stewart, Grant was born to play this part. Eva Marie Saint brings the right blend of intrigue and heat to the role as the mysterious girl. James Mason is a first class villain, and Martin Landau brings unexpected depth to his role as Mason's henchman. Ernest Lehman's script gives us some of the best lines in both Hitch's and Grant's careers and does a great job of juggling when to keep the audience in suspense and when to pull back the curtain. Hitchcock's direction easily runs from playful to suspenseful and back again, and throughout the movie, he always strikes right tone in each moment. I've always thought the movie was maybe a tad too long; at 136 minutes, there are a few scenes that could have probably been trimmed a little more, but it really doesn't matter in the end. It's a delight from start to finish.

The Blu-ray, made from a new restoration, is stunning to behold. After watching so many Grant movies in less than stellar condition, or even watching ones in good condition but in standard definition, to see a large format VistaVision movie in HD was nothing short of astounding. The Blu-ray carries over all of the DVD bonus features and I think adds some new ones. There's a stellar feature-length documentary on Grant called A Class Apart included here that's well worth watching (it can also be found on the two disc Bringing Up Baby set).

In every respect, North By Northwest is a winner, and the presentation on the Blu-ray is equal to the movie's brilliance. Whether on its own, or as part of Universal's Hitchcock set (which, for all of its flaws, is still pretty great), this comes with my highest recommendation. (As does the pizza at Spunto.)

Hitchcock's best, Grant's best, Saint's best, Mason's best - and my best.
 

Robert Crawford

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Frankly, I think North by Northwest is overrated. It's an excellent film, but I'm not in love with it like I am with Psycho, Rear Window or even To Catch a Thief. IMO, both North by Northwest and Vertigo are in that same boat of excellent films, but a little overrated by my personal taste.
 

Matt Hough

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I hate to keep bringing up these scores (sound like a broken record - pun intended), but Bernard Herrmann's score for North by Northwest is simply amazing, keeping this propulsive thriller careening ever forward into new dangers and intrigues. He wrote really memorable music for many Hitchcock classics, and his contributions must never be forgotten.
 

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