north by northwest

north by northwest

North by Northwest is a suspenseful film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1959.

The male character = an advertising executive who finds himself mistaken (innocent man) as a United States spy and must uncover the hidden truth.

Director Alfred Hitchcock captures the suspense perfectly.


A. Continuity editing techniques

- create both smoothness and suspense.

ex1) Establishing shot - Whenever a new scene occurs, Hitchcock utilizes an establishing shot to provide overview to a scene. 

1. After Mr. Vandamm’s associates kidnap Roger Thornhill, there are numerous establishing shots providing an overview of the location Roger is being taken to, Townsend Mansion.
(7:33, 7:53, 8:03)

2. When the movie progresses and locations change, Hitchcock utilizes establishing shots at the United Nation’s complex, the Chicago bus stop, and Mount Rushmore. (35:02 - UN, 38:35 (Character looks small),

Why good?

1. These establishing shots allow audience members to understand what is going on and where the succeeding scene is occurring.

2. In a film where the location of key characters change frequently, it is important to incorporate establishing shots to ensure audience members know what is going on. 

ex2) the reverse shot pattern - The reverse shot pattern allows the viewer to see the reaction of the character’s faces more closely, which adds suspense to the film. If a master shot was used, the viewer would feel more distant from the story and the suspense would be lacking.

1. When Roger Thornhill first encounters Phillip Vandamm, Alfred Hitchcock uses the reverse shot pattern throughout the conversation. (9:40 - 11:00)

ex3) use of match editing - creates a smoothness effect and can frequently be seen in North by Northwest. This smoothness effect lets the scene cuts seem more natural which keeps the viewer engaged to the story....

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