"North by Northwest" (1959) ticks off a lot of Hitchcock’s favorite boxes: a Sexy Blonde; modes of transit (in spades); elaborate chase scenes; espionage; and a Wrong Man. And yet, it seems always to have lingered in the shadow of "Vertigo" (1958).
One of the great pleasures of blogathons is discovering an actor or director and realizing that there's still so many wonderful classic films yet to see. It's sort of like knowing that there's still a bunch of Graham Greene novels I haven't read. Maybe the Graham Greene thing is just me.
Lang's protagonists are often less involved in a plot than they are trapped in a psychologically overwrought context, an atmosphere rather than a real place. Even before we know what sort of trouble Neale will get himself in, there is an unnerving emphasis on the passing of time. The film opens on a clock.
As much as Lino Ventura’s Gerbier grounds “Army of Shadows,” Simone Signoret is its heart, insofar as anyone is allowed a heart in the underground world of the French Resistance. She is, as her colleagues remark, a magnificent woman—among other things, she engineers two extraordinary escapes for her comrades.
Jean-Pierre Melville’s film about a small group of WWII Resistance fighters is undeniably a spy film. Yet it is strikingly unlike other spy films. Bursts of action happen only between long stretches of mostly silent waiting. The heroes make no perceptible progress against the enemy, managing little more than survival before inevitable betrayal and death.