Wednesday March 10, 2021
'Cary Grant Represents a Man We Know'
“I asked about North by Northwest and his preference for Cary Grant, who had starred in several Hitchcock pictures. 'I was very amused,' he said smiling, 'when I read the critic for The New Yorker referring to North by Northwest as ”unconsciously funny.“ Well, my dear, the film is sheer fantasy. Our original title, you know, was The Man in Lincoln's Nose. Couldn't use it, though. They also wouldn't let us shoot people on Mount Rushmore. Can't deface a national monument,' he added sarcastically. 'And it's a pity too, because I had a wonderful shot in mind of Cary Grant hiding in Lincoln's nose and having a sneezing fit.' He chuckled happily and went on. 'Cary is marvelous, you see. One doesn't direct Cary Grant, one simply puts him in front of a camera. And, you see, he enables the audience to identify with the main character. I mean by that, Cary Grant represents a man we know. He's not a stranger. If you are walking down a street and you see a man hit by a car and you don't know him, you stop and look for a moment and you say, ”Tut, tut, that's too bad,“ and you pass on. Now if the person hit were your brother, well, there's a different situation altogether. It's the same thing, you see, as Cary Grant in a film versus an unknown actor.' He paused to relight his cigar.”
-- Peter Bogdanovich and Alfred Hitchock in “Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors.”