Silver Screen Dream
Like a brilliant filmaker, PSD pulls out all the stops to create this Nauset Heights masterpiece
In the movie “North By Northwest,” an innocent man, framed for murder, must outmaneuver an espionage ring first to prove his innocence and then to save the woman he grows to love. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved and critically acclaimed masterpieces, the film served as a template for lighthearted romantic thrillers in general and for James Bond specifically, as a character and as a franchise. Shot and released in 1959, at the pinnacle of the director’s career, the film advances both a story and a self-referential thesis about Hitchcock’s approach to art. It includes memorable moments such as the famous “crop-duster sequence,” in which an airplane attacks the hero at a remote crossroads, and a chase across the sculpted faces of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The title derives from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who tells his traitorous friends, “I am mad but north-northwest: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” The connections to the Bard’s tragedy end here—Hitchcock claimed that the true point of the movie was to make an extended joke about the chiselled contours of lead actor Cary Grant’s face.
The film is a love story, a tale of mistaken identity, a cold-war intrigue, and a commentary about celebrity status. It has also provided the inspiration for one family’s Nauset Beach summer home, which the owner named “North By Northeast.” Not only is this home’s location in East Orleans’ exclusive neighborhood of Nauset Heights rather unique, the firm of Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders (PSD) created a dwelling with as many storylines, themes and interpretations as Hitchcock’s iconic film.
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