North by Northwest
By Alfred Hitchcock
Acting and Acting Styles
According to Goodykoontz & Jacobs, some of the main classifications of actors/actresses are impersonators, interpreters, commentators, personalities, wild cards, characters, and stars. For this blog I am using the film “North by Northwest’ by Alfred Hitchcock. I have selected Cary Grant, James Mason, and Eva Marie Saint from this film to complete this assignment. Above is a photograph of these actors and actress from this film. In this film Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, Eva Marie Saint plays Eve Kendall, and James Mason plays Phillip Vandamm.
First and easiest is Cary Grant who is Roger O. Thornhill in this film. According to Goodykoontz & Jacobs, Cary Grant is a personality actor. (2014, Ch. 5.5, Table 5.1) I agree with this assessment, because Cary Grant has an outgoing and upbeat personality. This is great for this role. Cary Grant does an excellent job of playing a character that is lost or oblivious to certain aspects of a film.
Next, I discuss classification of Eva Marie Saint. Before her role in North by Northwest, she may have been considered a personality actress. In this film Eva Marie played a great role as a spy in this film. This was outside her normal role, and I believe this was when she started becoming more of an “Interpreter.” Eva Marie Saint definitely became a Star eventually, and played roles later in her life such as superman’s adopted mother in “Superman Returns” (2006).
Finally, James Mason plays a “bad guy” in “North by Northwest. This is James Mason’s typical role. Although I have not seen many of Mason’s films because a lot of them were British films, I believe he is a personality actor. According to Jim Beaver, James Mason normally generally plays the role of “…protagonists of a decidedly hard-bitten or melancholy stripe…”
Below is a video of these actors and actress interacting:
Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman. (1959). North by Northwest. Photo retrieved from:
Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman. (1959). “North by Northwest”. Production
Goodykoontz, B., Jacobs C. P. (2014). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, Ca:
Bridgepoint Education Inc.
Beaver, J. James Mason: Mini Biography. Retrieved from: