11 Things You Never Knew About 'North by Northwest' on its 60th Anniversary
It's been 60 years since "North by Northwest" hit theaters and further cemented Alfred Hitchcock as one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. Even six decades later, this film is regarded as one of the greatest ever made. So celebrate this huge milestone by learning some fun behind-the scenes facts about this classic tale of suspense and mistaken identity.
1. Hitchcock and writer Ernest Lehman conceived of "North by Northwest" after suffering from writer's block while working on an adaptation of the Hammond Innes novel "The Wreck of the Mary Deare."
3. While Hitchcock had final say over most aspects of the film, he was forced to re-dub one of Saint's lines. "I never make love on an empty stomach," became "I never discuss love on an empty stomach."
4. The production went severely over-budget because a delay in filming activated a penalty clause in Cary Grant's contract. That clause resulted in him being paid an extra $5000 per day.
5. Part of the reason for the delay is that Hitchcock accidentally led James Stewart to believe he'd be cast as the lead. In order to mitigate Stewart's disappointment, Hitchcock waited until Stewart was busy filming 1959's "Anatomy of a Murder" before "offering" him the part.
6. Hitchcock wanted to film a scene where Grant's character Roger Thornhill hides inside Lincoln's nose at Mount Rushmore and is given away by his sneezing. He was eventually convinced to abandon the idea, but he did use "The Man Inside Lincoln's Nose" as a tongue-in-cheek working title.
8. "North by Northwest" is one of only two MGM projects filmed in the widescreen VistaVision format, the other being 1956's "High Society."
9. In its August 2009 issue, Empire magazine ranked the crop-duster scene as the #1 greatest movie moment of all time.
10. Given its tone and subject matter, many fans refer to "North by Northwest" as "the first James Bond film." In fact, the helicopter chase in 1963's "From Russia With Love" was directly inspired by the crop-duster scene.
11. The movie inspired a long-running annual live music festival in Austin, TX called South by Southwest.