NORTH BY NORTHWEST AND MOUNT RUSHMORE

The real Mount Rushmore

The real Mount Rushmore

 

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Hitchcock said,”I always wanted to do a chase scene across the faces of Mount Rushmore.” Writer Ernest Lehman brought a story to life which would include such a scene,and it became the great thriller from 1959, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

Mount Rushmore,in South Dakota, was named after a New York lawyer Charles Rushmore during an expedition in 1885. What became the Mount Rushmore National Memorial was carved into the granite face of the mountain and showed the heads of Presidents George Washington,Thomas Jefferson,Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. (The sculpture was by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son,Lincoln.) 

The bulk of the carving was done between 1934 and 1939. It was originally intended to show the Presidents from their heads down to their waists,but there were insufficient funds.

image The National Park Service refused to allow Hitchcock to film fight scenes on the monument,so only two days of filming took place there:

………..The park cafeteria ( the  staged shooting of Cary Grant by Eva Marie Saint)

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(The famous scene where the little boy in the right background puts his hands over his ears Before the gun goes off! )

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………….The gift shop patio with Cary Grant and Leo G.Carroll

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…………….The parking lot  (removal of Thornhill’s ‘body’) and Eva Marie Saint’s escape.

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Hitchcock made sure he had lots of still photographs of the monument – later to be recreated back in Hollywood. The fake Mount Rushmore was made by production designer Robert Boyle.

The release of the film brought many more visitors to Mount Rushmore.

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On the film’s title,Hitchcock said, “There is no such thing as North-By-Northwest on the compass. It had nothing to do with a line from Hamlet ” – I am mad north-north-west.”

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Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant,James Mason on location

Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant,James Mason on location

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(The tap on the shoulder –  start of Roger O.Thornhill’s nightmare! )

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