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Hitchcock and the Censors$
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John Billheimer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177427

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.001.0001

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North by Northwest (1959)

North by Northwest (1959)

Chapter:
(p.227) 31 North by Northwest (1959)
Source:
Hitchcock and the Censors
Author(s):

John Billheimer

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.003.0032

North by Northwest chronicles a cross-country chase in which Cary Grant is mistakenly identified as a spy and pursued by spies and police from the UN building in New York to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. The Production Code lodged three key objections to the film: the possible homosexuality of the henchman played by Martin Landau; Cary Grant’s status as a twice-divorced man; and any hint that the double agent played by Eva Marie Saint is a ‘woman of loose morals.’ The Code also seriously questioned the advisability of identifying Saint’s character as the mistress of the lead spy, played by James Mason. Hitchcock accommodated many of the Code objections by dubbing in dialogue changes, a few of which are visible on-screen. In the film’s climax, he looped in dialogue in which Grant welcomes Eva Marie Saint as his new wife as he helps her into an upper berth on the Twentieth Century Limited, but undermines this lip service with a final scene of the train going through a tunnel a clear bit of phallic symbolism.

Keywords:   Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Landau, homosexuality, dubbed dialogue, Production Code Administration, Mount Rushmore, phallic symbolism, North by Northwest

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