Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004741, Sun, 6 Feb 2000 14:45:37 -0800

A Nabokovian Image Hidden in Hitchcock's "North by Northwest." _
From: Iann88@aol.com

I've seen the movie over twenty times but I never noticed this before. A film
buff on Public Radio revealed it. We all know the movie "North by Northwest."
Near the end, the scene in the crowded restaurant at the foot of Mt.
Rushmore. ..Cary Grant will be "shot" by Eva Marie Saint to prove to James
Mason that she is faithful -- "an old Gestapo trick, they just refined it" as
Leonard says later.

Cary Grant starts to goad, taunt Saint. She moves closer and closer. People
start to look around at them. Our eyes are glued on the two characters acting
out this climactic charade. Closer and closer. ... .Stop! Now look between
Grant and Saint and beyond. There is a little boy, about twelve, sitting at a
table with his family. He's wearing a blue shirt. He turns around facing
camera, raises his arms, and takes his two forefingers and puts one in each
ear to block the sound of. ..

Eva Marie Saint finally puts her hand into her purse, pulls out the gun, and


Cary Grant falls gracefully to the floor and Eva runs out.

That little boy knew what was coming and didn't want to hear the noise.

Go on, rent the movie and watch it. You'll see that little boy plug his ears
even before Eva shows the gun. It's like a reality forever encapsulated in
and encroaching on a work of art. A true Nabokovian image. When you see that
scene, it will take you several minutes to get back into the movie. Watch it
in slomo on your VCR. You might burst out laughing.

Yes, a Nabokovian hitch. One wonders why Hitchcock didn't reshoot it?
Comments people?

Phillip Iannarelli
Cleveland, Ohio