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North by Northwest Film Analysis

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Essay title: North by Northwest Film Analysis

In the film, North by Northwest, the director provides us with specific editing techniques that clearly display Roger Thornhill’s character traits. By utilizing point of view editing, we are able to see things through Roger’s eyes as they are happening and as he sees them. These shots clearly reveal him to be a strong, brave and intelligent man, who is able to demonstrate these traits in the face danger.

The overall narrative purpose of the Roger Thornhill and Eve Kendall dining car scene is to show many things, such as; their initial attraction to one another, that they are making a connection, that he thinks she is helping him, that he doesn’t trust her at first because he is wearing his sunglasses, they are feeling each other out and that he is testing her with questions to see if she is suspicious of him. As the scene continues, it shows that he begins to feel comfortable with her so he takes off his glasses, they begin to flirt and when he lights her cigarette, she continues to hold his had, which shows a certain level of attraction. All of these instances come together to set up the story line and the beginning connection between these two characters.

The specific editing techniques used to enable the viewer to come to the understanding of such a connection are shot/reverse shot, which is when Roger and Eve are talking back and forth at the table. The camera is focused on one person as they speak and then it switches to the other person in a conversational manner. Another editing technique used is the establishing shot of the scenery moving by outside of the train windows, showing that they are together and indeed moving along on a train in very close quarters. The eye line match cut technique is used when Eve is looking out of the train window and the camera shifts to a police car, which turns out to be what she is looking at. The same technique is used when Roger looks out the train window in the first shot toward an object unknown to us, followed by a second shot that shows the two police officers as what he was looking at.

The narrative purpose of the famous Prairie Stop, crop dusting, and escape sequence is to prove to the Roger and the viewer that he is still in great danger and he has yet to meet Mr. Kaplan. This scene also tells Roger that he cannot trust Eve, as she is the one who ultimately sent him to the prairie. In this sequence, you can tell by his body language that he is uneasy, even in the beginning of the scene, as he is very fidgety and displays uneasy facial expressions. We find out everything as he is finding it out, we have no advanced knowledge, expect for the fact that the man that arrives is not Kaplan.

The specific editing techniques used in this scene ultimately show Roger’s strong character traits, as discussed above. Even in the face of danger he is able to remain level headed and ultimately escape the situation. The point of view method is used frequently throughout this sequence. For example, we watch the traffic go by, we see the man get out of the car, we see the crop duster coming at him and we see the advancing semi truck, all which is seen through Roger’s eyes.

The following are establishing shots seen throughout Roger’s ordeal: the whole scene of the aerial shot of the bus, with the bus stopping, him getting off the bus, and all of the scenery surrounding him through his point of view, which combines both the point of view and establishing shot. Next is the bus pulling away, as it shows the sparseness of the background scenery. Another establishing shot occurs as Roger is looking around and sees vehicles driving by, showing more scenery through point of view and using eye line match cut at the same time. When the man steps

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