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22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Une adaptation Blu-Ray plutôt réussie
Je ne m'étendrai pas sur le film en lui même, classique incontesté dans la filmographie du "maitre du suspense" où Cary Grant est pris malgré lui, par des truands, pour un agent secret, inventé de toutes pièces par le FBI.
Niveau technique, la bonne surprise vient tout d'abord de la bande son remasterisée en Dolby True...
Publié le 9 novembre 2011 par Scaramenga

versus
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Et les sous-titres français pour les suppléments ?????
LA QUALITE D'IMAGES EST TRES BONNE MEME SI TOUT N'EST PAS PARFAIT : ENCORE PAS MAL DE FLOU , SUR LES VISAGES NOTAMMENT . ON DEVIENT , A JUSTE TITRE , DIFFICILE QUAND ON VOIT LA QUALITE DE "BEN HUR" , "AFRICAN QUEEN" , "LES 10 COMMANDEMENTS"(US) OU ENCORE "CASABLANCA"(US) .
CELA DIT , LE DVD EST DERRIERE EN PIQUE ET CONTRASTES........SAUF QUE LES SUPPLEMENTS SONT ,...
Publié le 19 avril 2012 par Dom 55


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22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Une adaptation Blu-Ray plutôt réussie, 9 novembre 2011
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Je ne m'étendrai pas sur le film en lui même, classique incontesté dans la filmographie du "maitre du suspense" où Cary Grant est pris malgré lui, par des truands, pour un agent secret, inventé de toutes pièces par le FBI.
Niveau technique, la bonne surprise vient tout d'abord de la bande son remasterisée en Dolby True HD 5.1 (pour l'Anglais uniquement, les autres langues étant en 1.0), vrai régal lorsque l'on écoute juste les musiques du film.
Au niveau de la présentation du blu-ray en lui même, Warner ne s'est pas trop foulé, ils se sont juste contentés de créer une jaquette française et d'y insérer le blu-ray anglais (menu en anglais)
Côté image, la remasterisation est quasi-parfaite. Si on le compare à Psychose, sorti chez Universal, ce blu-ray gagne haut la main. Ici, pas de traces de saletés ou de traits de pellicule comme chez Psychose. Les scènes en extérieur rendent magnifiquement. Seuls bémols, sur certains plans, on a l'impression que certains personnages n'ont pas été remasterisés. Celà se remarque notamment lorsque les personnages sont de dos (scène de la rencontre avec la femme de chambre) où quand ils sont sur plusieurs plans (scène lorsqu'ils reviennent chez Towsend, on peut voir que Jessie Royce-Landis apparait floue, où la scène de la gare avec Eva-Marie Saint). Conclusion : un blu-ray largement réussi et à conseiller !!!
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16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Impossible d'y trouver une incohérence : simplement parfait, 12 octobre 2003
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses (DVD)
North By Northwest est une pierre angulaire du cinéma. Un enchaînement de circonstances entraîne un homme a être pris pour un autre. Foisonnant, d’une infinie et inépuisable richesse, hautement jouissif et animé d’une énergie vitale qui contamine jusqu’au plus infime de ses constituants, seul un visionnage toujours renouvelé peut, à défaut d’en dévoiler les secrets, en révéler tous les enchantements. Accompagnée de la partition frénétique de Bernard Hermann (remixage fabuleux en 5.1), le film se laisse déguster. Malgré ses 44 ans!!! les images sont d'une finesse inouïe, on redécouvre un chef-d'oeuvre du film d'action avec 2 acteurs prodigieux : Cary Grant et James Mason. On trouve sur ce DVD un passionnant making-of commenté par l'actrice principale : la toujours jolie Eva Marie SAINT.
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11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Du pur plaisir cinématographique en HD, 30 décembre 2011
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Inutile d'en rajouter : ce Blu Ray est indispensable. Il est assez difficile à croire que ce film a plus de 50 ans quand on est devant son écran.
Pour le reste, Hitchcock "at the top of his game" (again) : des scènes cultes à foison, des acteurs en état de grâce, et une mise en scène d'une rigueur et d'une précision exceptionnelle. Bref, un film de tous les superlatifs, l'ancêtre du "Blockbuster" US, mais en version intelligente.
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un ribambelle de scènes d'anthologie, 7 juin 2013
Par 
Semper Victor "FB" (France) - Voir tous mes commentaires
(TOP 10 COMMENTATEURS)    (COMMENTATEUR DU HALL DHONNEUR)   
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses [Édition Collector] (DVD)
« La mort aux trousses » (« North by Northwest ») est un des plus grands classiques de l'histoire du cinéma. Son scénario, assez simple, laisse finalement peu de place au suspense (tout le monde comprend immédiatement qu'il y a méprise fortuite entre les personnes de Roger Thornhill et George Kaplan) pour privilégier des scènes aussi géniales que spectaculaires qui, elles, fourmillent de surprises.

Dans les scènes de la poursuite en voiture, celle des Nations-Unis, celle (mythique) du carrefour désert et de l'avion ou encore celle du Mont Rushmore, Hitchcock déploie un savoir faire remarquable et une originalité dont il a le secret.

Cary Grant, cultive humour, classe, élégance et un brin de machisme dans un rôle taillé pour lui. Eva Marie Saint est également parfaite dans la peau de l'archétype de l'héroïne hitchcockienne. On appréciera Marin Landau (tout jeune) et Leo G. Carroll tout à fait remarquables dans leurs seconds rôles. Josephine Hutchinson est elle particulièrement drôle celui de la mère du héros. Le cocktail élaboré par Hitchcock est parfaitement réussi et joue sur habilement sur les codes des années 50 finissantes et flamboyantes, comme sur les couleurs « irréelles » et merveilleuses du Technicolor.
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1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
4.0 étoiles sur 5 L'un des meilleurs films du grand Hitch., 5 octobre 2014
Par 
Amazon clientèle "stronibein" (Conflans Ste Honorine) - Voir tous mes commentaires
(TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS)   
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses (DVD)
Immense film d'Hitchcock, peut-être son meilleur, en tout cas certainement son plus survolté et captivant. Le scénario d'Ernest Lehmann multiplie les rebondissements avec un brio et une intelligence exceptionnelle, culminant dans deux séquences devenues mythiques : l'avion dans le desert, et la poursuite sur le Mont Rushmore.

Hitchcock expérimente visuellement moins que d'habitude, s'appuie d'avantage sur son sens inné de la construction narrative, d'une perfection absolument époustouflante.

Et que serait North by Northwest sans Cary Grant? Hitchcock se sert à merveille de son extraordinaire charisme, de son ambiguité, et de son côté gentleman pince sans rire. Un personnage sympathique, fascinant, attirant, qui nous prouve une fois de plus que Cary Grant est bel et bien l'un des plus grands acteurs hollywoodiens classiques.

Face à lui, James Mason est machiavélique à souhait en méchant et Eva Marie Saint étale tout son charme - et tous ses charmes: la scène de séduction entre les deux personnages dans le wagon-restaurant est l'une des plus réussies du genre.

Film d'espionnage brillamment réalisé qui captive de bout en bout, visuellement magnifique, inoubliable, la Mort aux trousses n'a pas volé son statut de chef d'oeuvre hitchcockien
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1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Une source inconnue ?, 8 novembre 2014
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses (DVD)
Je ne referai pas les louanges de ce film, le meilleur de Hitchcock. Tout a été dit. Je voudrais seulement mentionner une curieuse ressemblance.
On connaît l'image finale, que son évident symbolisme a rendue célèbre. Presque 10 ans avant ce film, j'ai vu dans un cinéma de Paris une collection de courts-métrages, dont un excellent dessin animé russe et une illustration de la chanson de Mireille et Jean Sablon "Puisque vous partez en voyage". La chanson est accompagnée par les évolutions d'un train modèle réduit. Sur la phrase finale "Je pars avec vous" on voit le train entrer dans un tunnel.
On trouve d'intéressantes ressemblances comme cela. Un film maintenant indisponible montrait un jeune Esquimau du nom de Poochook qui voudrait bien rentrer chez lui et qui, en attendant, est hébergé par une famille américaine. Est-ce que cela ne vous rappelle pas quelque chose ?
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent drame policier, 10 juin 2012
Par 
Christelle (Amiens (80)) - Voir tous mes commentaires
(TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS)   
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses (DVD)
J'ai eu la chance de voir ce film au cinéma dernièrement et je peux dire que c'est un excellent thriller dans la lignée des "Oiseaux" ou de "Psychose" (mon favori). Sur la thématique de la confusion d'identité, de l'espionnage, nous entrons dans une véritable épopée où nous restons à la fin à bout de souffle, tant l'intrigue est palpitante et ne nous laisse pas un instant de battement ou d'ennui. Le rythme est haletant, les découvertes surprenantes et la psychologie toujours aussi aiguisée.

Je trouve les deux acteurs principaux- Cary Grant et Eva Marie Saint- époustouflants. L'actrice, à la façon de Grace Kelly dans "Fenêtre sur cour", possède cette sensualité et cet eros un peu inquiétant qui bouleverse tout, en permettant à l'intrigue d'avancer tambour battant. Sa beauté fascine, mais cache-t-elle quelque chose de plus troublant? Serait-elle la nouvelle Eve moderne, cette Eve Kendall inquiétante qui flirte avec la mort et les hommes aux moeurs dissolues? Mais pourquoi joue-t-elle plusieurs rôles? Comment percer les différentes facettes de la psychologie humaine? Nous échapperont-elles toujours?

Un film inquiétant, angoissant, mais à l'esthétique parfaite. Un excellent thriller qui n'a pas pris une ride. L'art, le vrai, serait-il intemporel? Le tableau est de surcroît pimenté par une touche d'humour et des paysages américains splendides (le mont Rushmore).

Je me demande cependant pourquoi avoir choisi "La Mort aux trousses" comme traduction de "North by Northwest", intrigant...
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10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Et les sous-titres français pour les suppléments ?????, 19 avril 2012
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
LA QUALITE D'IMAGES EST TRES BONNE MEME SI TOUT N'EST PAS PARFAIT : ENCORE PAS MAL DE FLOU , SUR LES VISAGES NOTAMMENT . ON DEVIENT , A JUSTE TITRE , DIFFICILE QUAND ON VOIT LA QUALITE DE "BEN HUR" , "AFRICAN QUEEN" , "LES 10 COMMANDEMENTS"(US) OU ENCORE "CASABLANCA"(US) .
CELA DIT , LE DVD EST DERRIERE EN PIQUE ET CONTRASTES........SAUF QUE LES SUPPLEMENTS SONT , EUX , SOUS TITRES EN FRANCAIS .
CAR , SUR CE BLU-RAY , CONTRAIREMENT A CE QUI EST NOTE SUR LE SITE , AUCUN ( je dis bien AUCUN ) DES SUPPLEMENTS N'EST SOUS-TITRE EN FRANCAIS !!!!; CE QUI EST UN COMBLE CAR IL Y A DE L'ANGLAIS , DE L'ITALIEN , DE L'ALLEMAND , DE L'ESPAGNOL ......ET D'AUTRES ( dont FRANCAIS ) QUI SONT SIGNALES MAIS QUI N'EXISTENT PAS . UN GRAND MERCI A L'EDITEUR POUR CET OUBLI (?) ET BRAVO POUR LE RESPECT DES VACHES A LAIT.
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11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Toujours aussi indispensable, 25 novembre 2011
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : La Mort aux trousses [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Après l'avoir vu x fois à la TV , avoir acheté à sa sortie l'édition DVD je ne peux que recommander de l'avoir en HD, la qualité est à la hauteur de mes espérances
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 NORTH BY NORTHWEST [1959] [50th Anniversary Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook Packaging] [Blu-ray] [US Import], 5 janvier 2015
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : North By Northwest [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
NORTH BY NORTHWEST [1959] [50th Anniversary Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook Packaging] [Blu-ray] [US Import] A masterful mix of comedy and suspense from Alfred Hitchcock. Advertising executive Roger Thornhill [Cary Grant] is lunching in a restaurant with his mother when he mistakenly answers a page for one George Kaplan. He soon finds himself on the run across the country, being pursued by enemies of the government who are convinced that he is a secret agent. He finds a friend in Eve Kendall [Eve Marie Saint], who helps conceal him during a perilous train journey, but soon discovers that she is not all she seems.

FILM FACT: `North by Northwest' was nominated for three Academy Awards® for Best Film Editing (George Tomasini), Best Production Design (William A. Horning, Robert F. Boyle, Merrill Pye, Henry Grace, Frank McKelvy), and Best Original Screenplay (Ernest Lehman) at the 32nd Academy Awards ceremony. Two of the three awards went instead to `Ben-Hur' and the other went to Pillow Talk. The film also won a 1960 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay, for Ernest Lehman.

This is one of several Alfred Hitchcock films with a music score by Bernard Herrmann and features a memorable opening title sequence by graphic designer Saul Bass. This film is generally cited as the first to feature extended use of kinetic typography in its opening credits.

Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Josephine Hutchinson, Philip Ober, Martin Landau, Adam Williams, Edward Platt, Robert Ellenstein, Les Tremayne, Philip Coolidge, Patrick McVey, Edward Binns, Ken Lynch and Malcolm Atterbury (uncredited)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Producers: Alfred Hitchcock and Herbert Coleman

Screenplay: Ernest Lehman

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

Cinematography: Robert Burks

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [VistaVision]

Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono and Isolated Music-only track: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian, Italian SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Suomi, Norwegian and Swedish

Running Time: 136 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: "I want to do a Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures" is the comment screenwriter Ernest Lehman made to Alfred Hitchcock one day in 1957. With ‘North by Northwest’ [1959] the ultimate Alfred Hitchcock picture is exactly what they produced. All of Alfred Hitchcock's trademark themes are here in the story of an everyday man [Cary Grant] caught up in a swirl of mysterious events like spies and chasing microfilm, while being helped by a beautiful blonde [Eva Marie Saint]. There's a gripping, imaginative chase scene and the entire film wraps up at an unexpected public landmark like Mount Rushmore.

‘North by Northwest’ came into existence when Alfred Hitchcock and writer Ernest Lehman hit a brick wall while working on the nautical thriller, ‘The Wreck of the Mary Deare’ [1959] [Metrocolor and in CinemaScope]. They messed around for a few weeks while telling the studio the project was going great until one day Lehman thought of creating a pure Alfred Hitchcock film. The director could never resist a challenge and immediately clicked with the idea, especially since he'd longed to use Mount Rushmore as a location but never had an appropriate project. So while Alfred Hitchcock was filming ‘Vertigo’ [1958] the two would get together and thrash out the script and further plans for a film that was then called In a Northwesterly Direction. (Oddly enough it was also briefly titled ‘Breathless’ which a year later would be the English title of the debut feature from Jean-Luc Godard, a rabid Alfred Hitchcock fan.) The resulting screenplay was tight, balanced and intricate; Alfred Hitchcock later told Francois Truffaut that "In this picture nothing was left to chance." The script also made liberal use of the MacGuffin, Alfred Hitchcock's name for a device that keeps the story in motion even though in itself it's practically meaningless. The key MacGuffin in ‘North by Northwest’ is the secret information sought by James Mason's sinister operation even though we never learn why it matters. This was Alfred Hitchcock's personal favourite, one he said had "been boiled down to its purest expression: nothing at all!"

From the beginning, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman planned on casting Cary Grant as their innocent leading man even though James Stewart showed extreme interest in the project despite his ignorance of the plot. Thanks to Cary Grant's contractual percentages and a daily pay rate that kicked in when the film took longer than expected for completion, the actor made quite a bit of money from his participation in ‘North by Northwest.’ It was his fourth and final Hitchcock film and Cary Grant brought his usual debonair charm and a genuine sense of confusion and bewilderment to the part. During shooting Grant said to Alfred Hitchcock, "It's a terrible script. We've already done a third of the picture and I still can't make head or tail of it." The comment greatly amused Alfred Hitchcock because, far from being a flaw, that exactly mirrored what Cary Grant's character was feeling as well.

For the role of the woman spy there was some minor conflict. Cary Grant pushed to have Sophia Loren because he at one time had romantic interest in her but she left to film ‘Two Women’ in Italy, but the studio wanted Cyd Charisse. Alfred Hitchcock of course preferred one of his trademark blondes and gave the part to Eva Marie Saint (‘On the Waterfront’), even personally picking out most of her on-screen wardrobe. By the way, see if you can read Eva Marie Saint's lips during her line "I never discuss love on an empty stomach" since the audio was supposedly dubbed over the original line "I never make love on an empty stomach."

While the story covers a wide span of the United States, filming was mostly brief location shots and extensive studio work. Alfred Hitchcock and cast started in New York in August 1958. A hidden camera was used to film Grant entering the United Nations building but they weren't able to film in the real UN lobby because it had been used somewhat inappropriately in an earlier film so all films were forbidden there. Instead they filmed on a studio set that had been recreated as accurately as possible. (Alfred Hitchcock had gone through the real lobby with a still photographer while pretending to be a tourist and getting numerous snapshots.) The director ran into a similar problem at Mount Rushmore. The Department of Interior, which operates the monument and not only wouldn't allow filming on the actual sculpture but they also wouldn't give permission for actors to crawl over a reproduction either. A compromise was reached where the actors went between the faces instead of over them, but except for a few exteriors the whole Mount Rushmore scene was filmed at the M-G-M studios. (Perhaps it's a good thing that Alfred Hitchcock gave up his plan to have one of the characters erupt in a sneezing fit while hiding in a statue nose.)

The famous scene of Cary Grant being chased through a cornfield by a crop duster is an example of Hitchcock at his best. It came about because he had noticed that when most directors try to make a suspenseful scene they use tight alleyways, shadows barely visible through the gloom and the slow building tension of the approaching menace. So Alfred Hitchcock did exactly the opposite: full daylight, completely open space and a very fast machine. Similarly, most directors gradually shorten each individual shot in such a scene as a way of increasing the tension, but Hitchcock kept his shots fairly uniform so that a viewer gets a better idea of how far and where Cary Grant is running. The finished scene lasts around seven minutes with no dialogue and is as remarkable as the shower scene he devised for ‘Psycho’ a year later. The studio, however, wasn't quite so appreciative. They wanted to cut the film thinking that at 136 minutes it was too long. But Alfred Hitchcock's contract prevented that, and he insisted that some of what they were trying to cut was in fact vital to the film.

On release, ‘North by Northwest’ proved Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing, when it turned out to be a big hit, breaking records at Radio City Music Hall in New York and going on to become the sixth highest grossing film for 1959 (tied with ‘Anatomy of a Murder’) which made up for the commercial disappointment of ‘Vertigo.’ The New York Times and National Board of Review chose it as one of the ten best films of the year. There were three Oscar© nominations for Best Editing, Best Art Direction and for Ernest Lehman for Best Original Screenplay. As a sort of post script, years later Ernest Lehman would work with Alfred Hitchcock on ‘Family Plot’ [1976], one of Alfred Hitchcock's biggest commercial successes, and another script that was never filmed.

Cary Grant, a veteran member of the Alfred Hitchcock acting varsity, was never more at home than in this role of the advertising-man-on-the-lam. He handles the grimaces, the surprised look, the quick smile, the aforementioned spooning and all the derring-do with professional aplomb and grace. In casting Eva Marie Saint as his romantic vis-à-vis, Mr. Alfred Hitchcock has plumbed some talents not shown by the actress heretofore. Although she is seemingly a hard, designing type, she also emerges both the sweet heroine and a glamorous charmer.

Jessie Royce Landis contributes a few genuinely humorous scenes as Mr. Grant's slightly addle-pated mother. James Mason is properly sinister as the leader at the spy ring, as are Martin Landau, Adam Williams, Robert Ellenstein and Josephine Hutchinson, as members of his malevolent troupe. And Leo G. Carroll is satisfyingly bland and calm as the studious intelligence chief.

Overall, ‘North by Northwest’ receives my high marks in numerous ways and gives us a “colourful and exciting route for spies, counterspies and lovers.” Part of this “colourful and exciting route” can be explained through the cross-cutting technique. In nearly all of the suspenseful scenes, including the drunken car chase, the police chase in the train station, and the climatic Mount Rushmore scene, the rapid scene change from Mr. Thornhill to those in pursuit creates a heightened level of suspense. I also found the rapid pace of North by Northwest to be extremely engaging. Nearly every scene, the viewer is learning more about the truth behind Roger Thornhill. Each scene provides a small piece of evidence and the pace of the film made me eager to learn about the next clue.

‘North by Northwest’ is an engaging film that combines a wide range of genres ranging from suspense to humour. The continuity techniques of establishing shots, reverse shots, and match editing allows the viewers to experience a suspenseful, yet smooth story. The importance of each scene keeps the viewer engaged in all of the details. The constant feeling of suspense, as well as using both continuity and discontinuity techniques made ‘North by Northwest’ is an extremely suspenseful and worthwhile experience.

Blu-ray Video Quality – When Warner Home Video released 'North by Northwest' on DVD in 2000, it instantly became one of the preeminent classic film transfers of the digital age, so expectations were understandably sky-high when the company announced a Blu-ray edition of Alfred Hitchcock's iconic chase film earlier this year. The restoration price tag reportedly topped $1 million, but it was money very well spent, as 'North by Northwest' comes closer to achieving perfection than any other 1080p classic film transfer I've seen. The 50-year-old film looks so good; in fact, it puts many recent Blu-ray releases to shame.

Shot in VistaVision (a short-lived, higher resolution widescreen process developed by Paramount in the mid-1950s), 'North by Northwest' is a natural for a Blu-ray makeover, and its exquisitely balanced colour and contrast, along with its fine grain structure (a VistaVision staple), produce a crisp, dimensional, utterly pleasing viewing experience. Grain-haters will no doubt rhapsodise over the picture's sleek appearance, but the 1080p encoded image never looks processed or digitally smoothed. A palpable filmic feel still prevails, and though a few brief scenes sport a hint more grain than most, the levels never seem out of whack.

The transfer's quality is evident from the film's opening frames. The fluorescent green background, over which the credits roll is solid and vibrant, and as it gradually dissolves into the glass façade of a skyscraper reflecting Manhattan's teeming cityscape, the level of detail is striking. (It's a very tricky shot, and flawlessly rendered.) Background accents are always razor sharp, so whether Cary Grant is navigating the Big Apple's jammed sidewalks, a dense Indiana cornfield, or the face of Mount Rushmore, the image is always packed with information, and its depth and dimension easily immerse us in the on-screen action. Alfred Hitchcock also employs a hefty amount of rear projection work (one of his few shortcomings, in my opinion), and though it's always apparent, it's well integrated into the whole.

Colour-wise, primaries pop, but never look synthetic or overly saturated, and though the film's palette often emits a sterile coolness, enough warmth permeates the picture to keep its temperature in check. Cary Grant's heavily tanned skin rivals that of George Hamilton, yet it still appears natural, as do all flesh tones. Blacks are deliciously inky, but no incidents of crush drown out shadow detail. Close-ups are strong, despite the stylistic use of filters to shave a few years off Cary Grant's age and soften Eva Marie Saint's facial features and textures, such as the weave of various suits, wall coverings, leather upholstery, even the coarse hair on Cary Grant's knuckles, are clearly discernible.

Simply put, this is a stunning gorgeous A+ effort that perfectly represents this Alfred Hitchcock masterwork. Once again, Warner Bros. proves just how brilliant classic films can look on Blu-ray, and this impeccable transfer more than whets our appetite for the riches yet to come.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a fine upgrade from the DVD's previous 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, but doesn't quite achieve the same wow factor as the video. First of all, don't be afraid to pump up the volume; I found the track to be surprisingly quiet at first, yet after two or three sizeable increases above my normal settings, I finally reached a comfortable listening level. (Warner Bros. TrueHD classic film tracks always seem to be mixed a little on the soft side, but handle augmented volume extremely well.)

Surround sound elements are understandably faint throughout most of the film, but boy do those rears come alive during the crop-dusting sequence, as the plane makes its dipping and diving passes over Cary Grant, the cornfield, and my living room sofa. (It's hard to imagine a 50-year-old film competing sonically with today's action epics, but 'North by Northwest' tries its best during this one classic scene.) When the surrounds are silent, the front channels pick up the slack with some distinct stereo separation that lends the audio welcome scope. Dialogue is well prioritised and always easy to understand, even when spoken in hushed tones, and Bernard Herrmann's highly recognizable score sounds terrific. Though it doesn't wrap around us as much as we'd like, its fullness of tone and enhanced fidelity make almost every instrument distinguishable. The screeching strings always resist distortion, and the low-end horns and percussion lend great weight to select scenes. (For those who truly want to experience and revel in Bernard Herrmann's marvellous score, a music-only track can be accessed through the disc's special features.)

Details are always crisply rendered, from the subtle use of hedge-clippers early in the film to the gravel beneath Cary Grant's shoes as he shuffles his feet while awaiting the crop-duster's surprise attack. And the one big bass moment doesn't disappoint, as the subwoofer pumps out a hefty rumble during a memorable crash and subsequent explosion. Best of all, the track is as clean as a whistle, with no errant pops, static, or hiss betraying the film's advanced age and of course sound is an essential Hitchcockian element, and the superior audio on this disc does the film proud.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Commentary by Screenwriter Ernest Lehman: The late screenwriter Ernest Lehman was a spry 84 years old when he sat down to record this commentary in 2000, and his crystal clear memories of his close collaboration with Hitchcock and detailed chronicle of the creative process behind penning the 'North by Northwest' script make for a fascinating listen. He also recalls how composer Bernard Herrmann introduced him to Hitchcock, how he and the director hoodwinked M-G-M into letting them develop 'North by Northwest' instead of work on a previously arranged project, and how he visited all the various locales prior to writing and that included climbing halfway up the face of Mount Rushmore! Ernest Lehman starts slowly, but after 20 minutes or so picks up steam, and his insights will enlighten even diehard Alfred Hitchcock fans.

Documentary: Cary Grant: A Class Apart [480i] [1:27:12] Originally broadcast on PBS as part of the network's acclaimed 'American Masters' series, this incisive 2004 documentary (previously included in the Cary Grant DVD box set that contains 'North by Northwest') takes an in-depth look at Cary Grant's screen persona and how it shaped and affected his private life. Reminiscences from close friends, two wives, and noted critics provide fascinating perspective on the actor's professional and personal relationships, his difficult upbringing, stellar work ethic, and underrated talent. Film clips galore, from Cary Grant's first role in 1931 to his last in 1966; illustrate his versatility, magnetism, and iconic style. Though his contributions to cinema dominate this excellent profile, Cary Grant's five marriages, his controversial relationship with fellow actor Randolph Scott, experimentation with LSD, affair with Sophia Loren, and lifelong struggles with intimacy are also explored with integrity and good taste. This is required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in this beloved Hollywood legend.

Documentary: The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style [480i] [57:32] Myriad aspects of Alfred Hitchcock's inimitable technique are scrutinized in this probing, well-produced piece that shows how the director's personal idiosyncrasies influenced his work. A host of fellow directors, from Martin Scorsese to John Carpenter, as well as Hitchcock himself (care of an archival interview) comment on such topics as visual storytelling, subjective point of view, editing, and building suspense. We also learn about the fascinating villains Hitchcock often employed, the sense of humour that pervades his films, his selective use of sound, impeccable sense of style, and, of course, his penchant for blonde heroines. Clips from such classics as 'Dial M for Murder,' 'Strangers on a Train,' 'Stage Fright,' 'The Wrong Man,' 'I Confess,' and 'North by Northwest' illustrate the various points. This top-notch documentary is another must-view that will captivate Alfred Hitchcock junkies and those just discovering the master's work.

Documentary: Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North by Northwest [480i] [39:27] Eva Marie Saint hosts this thoughtful look back at the film's production, which was included on the previous DVD release in 2000. Saint takes us through the film's shooting chronologically, and along the way relates personal anecdotes, spills secrets, identifies one notable gaffe, and recalls some on-set buffoonery. Martin Landau, Ernest Lehman (whose remarks on the commentary track were largely, if not totally lifted from his interview here), and Alfred Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia, also share their memories of the director and his technique.

Documentary: North by Northwest: One for the Ages [480i] [25:29] This all-new, absorbing documentary allows directors Curtis Hanson, Francis Lawrence, Guillermo Del Toro, and William Friedkin, along with screenwriter Christopher McQuerrie, the chance to honor, analyze, and dissect this Hitchcock masterwork. Among other things, the quintet identifies the various classic Hitchcock elements present in the film, discusses the script's surprising depth, and provides an in-depth examination of the crop-dusting scene.

Stills Gallery [1080p] [5:52] Forty-three stills in both black-and-white and colour are included in this gallery, which features on-set production shots, a selection of poster art, and photos of notable personnel (Eva Marie Saint, Ernest Lehman, and Patricia Hitchcock) during the shooting of interviews for the DVD's special feature package in 2000.

TV Spot [480i] [1:02]

A Guided Tour with Alfred Hitchcock [480i] [3:14] A tongue-in-cheek overview of the film with the director, presented as a travel promotion for the films locations.

Theatrical Trailers [480i] [6:00] In addition to a black-and-white re-release TV spot and full colour re-release trailer, there's the amusing theatrical preview, 'A Guided Tour with Alfred Hitchcock,' in which the master himself hypes 'North by Northwest' as if he were a travel agent hawking a cross-country vacation.

Music-only Track: Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, the switch to the track is apparent, lacking much of the sound options smoothness and dynamic range. Though it's somewhat disappointing, the score is such a strong component of the film that in this case there's really not much benefit to the isolated track. Forced to choose between isolation and higher resolution, I recommend the latter.

Digibook Packaging: This 43-page full-colour Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook contains two short essays, actor/director/screenwriter bios, and lots of great publicity stills, behind-the-scenes photos, and one-sheets.

Finally, Alfred Hitchcock fans rejoice! The master's first American high-definition release hits the ball out of the park. 'North by Northwest' may be 50, but this immortal action-comedy thriller doesn't look or sound anywhere near that old on Blu-ray. Superb video and audio immerse us in Roger Thornhill's desperate, madcap plight, while a fantastic array of extras puts Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant, and this wildly entertaining film in their proper perspective. The attractive DigiBook packaging adds an extra bit of panache to one of the year's classiest classic releases. One to own and replay it often, as one never gets tired of this Alfred Hitchcock stunning masterpiece. I know a lot of people hate the actor Cary Grant, well I find that totally negative, as he is absolutely superb in this film especially and again this DigiBook Blu-ray package is outstanding and cannot be beaten and I am so proud to add it is to my Alfred Hitchcock Blu-ray Collection. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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