Behind the Scenes of North by Northwest

The Nevada Preservation Foundation has teamed up with the Velveteen Rabbit for a fun night of Hitchcock horror, architecture and cocktails! On the evening of October 12 at 7pm, we will be showing Alfred Hitchcock’s award-winning, 1959 film North by Northwest, showcasing not only what is considered a timeless masterpiece in film and art, but some amazing mid-century architecture as well.

And if that’s not enough, our event co-sponsor, Velveteen Rabbit, will be creating a special, Hitchcock inspired punch, in addition to their regular cocktail menu. Please join us for this free and exciting night of fun, intrigue, and inspiring architecture!

Register for this free event …

A Timeless Masterpiece

Widely regarded as one of Hitchcock’s best films, North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity and the thrilling pursuit of an innocent man. Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, this spy thriller was selected in 1995 for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”

In addition, this film is generally known for being one of the first films with an extended opening credit sequence using kinetic typography. The style, which features animated text moving across the screen, became a popular technique for adding interest to opening credits and is commonplace in many of the films made even today. Other artist features include a music score by Bernard Herrmann and a visually stunning opening title sequence by graphic designer Saul Bass.

Nominated for three academy awards, the film’s only award is the 1960 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. In June of 2008, the American Film Institute polled over 1,500 people from the creative community and released a “Ten Top Ten” list in ten classic American film genres. North by Northwest was 7th in the mystery genre.

Architecture of North by Northwest

Perhaps one of the best aspects of the film North by Northwest is the ability to travel back in time, across the American landscape in its heyday of modern architecture.

One scene puts us in front of the newly constructed United Nations building in the middle of New York City. Hitchcock was not actually allowed to film at the UN Building, so he stole the shot of the exterior without the required filming permits. The people surrounding Cary Grant as he walks into the UN building are actually real people who have no idea that they are being filmed or that a famous movie star is walking right next to them. The interior shots are fake, and are matte sets painted to replicate the inside of the building. Although just sets, they are very realistic representations of the UN building at that time. Several scenes also take place at the The Plaza Hotel in New York as well.

The most famous architectural setting of the movie is the popular Van Damm house that is perched at the top of Mount Rushmore at the end of the film. In fact, this house is not real either, nor was it filmed at the top of Mount Rushmore. The house was created to mimic what would be recognized as a Frank Lloyd Wright house, and was actually built as a set within the MGM studios in Culver City, California. While the interiors were built out, the exterior shots of the house are matte paintings as well.

Don’t Miss This Great Event

We don’t want to spoil all the good stuff, so you’ll have to join us to see what other great surprises this film holds! Please don’t forget to register, as Velveteen Rabbit would like to know in advance how much punch to make for our thirsty crowd! See you there!

Register for this free event …

Admission to Velveteen Rabbit for the movie viewing is free of charge, however, drinks will be individually purchased at the bar. This is a 21 and up event. No one under the age of 21 will be admitted.

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