12th May 1959:  British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) at Paris airport en route to the Cannes film festival after the release of his film 'Operation Petticoat'.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Cary Grant Had A Thin Line To Walk While Working On North By Northwest
Hitchcock may be known as the “master of suspense,” but his movies are often equal parts suspenseful and absurd. This was the case with “North by Northwest” for which Hitchcock needed a talented lead actor to balance straight suspense and comedic absurdism; enter Cary Grant who perfectly toed the line, helping make the movie as great as it was.
Grant had to rely on his presence and skill while making the film; he had to take the movie seriously enough so the suspense was not dampened, while not too seriously so the more absurdly comedic scenes would play. In the words of Roger Ebert, “Who but Grant could have found just the right note, halfway between drama and farce?”
Grant is an example of Hitchcock’s very intentional casting. By that time the two had already worked together on three previous films, and Hitchcock knew Grant could carry the film. When speaking of his work with Hitchcock, Grant had happy memories, saying “It was a great joy to work with Hitch. He was an extraordinary man.”