Since we’ve already done Vertigo in our Collegiate Lenses series, it should’ve been assumed that a North by Northwest drinking game was on the way. Dubbed one of the best spy films, North by Northwest put forth much of the fast-paced themes found in modern espionage thrillers.
Unlike his other films, Hitchcock built the framework of the film without much symbolism or imagery. In addition, there was little focus on using new shots or framing, unlike films like Vertigo. At its core, North by Northwest focuses on moving the plot through interesting set pieces, following the almost meaningless “MacGruffin” that the characters chase. Although these set-pieces have little symbolism, they’re interesting and imaginative, from the United Nations to rural Indiana, to Mount Rushmore.
Although there’s a lack of continuous symbolism, there are a few themes and directing techniques you should be on the lookout for. The first is the large amounts of American imagery, and without spoiling too much, many of the locations from the cornfields of Indiana to a fake house designed to evoke the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright make the movie feel American entirely, while Hitchcock himself was English. In addition, there’s a few other stand-out film techniques, such as how Roger Thornhill is almost always on the left side of the screen or the egregious ending symbolism of the train tunnel. The core of the film revolves around the simplistic but mystifying plot of a man mistaken for another, woven into the most recognizable spy film ever created.
North by Northwest Drinking Game Rules
Take a drink…
- Whenever a character gets inside of a vehicle
- If and when alcohol is mentioned
- When Mr. Thornhill insults someone
- Finish your drink when Mr. Thornhill is forced to finish his
Take this list as a suggestion, and drink responsibly. As always, enjoy the show.