Sunday, February 1, 2009

Double Feature | North by Northwest + Fletch

Fletch and North by Northwest are two of my favorite movies. I was watching the latter when I realized that they are remarkably similar. Some aspects couldn’t be more different, but essentially it’s the same movie. Suave, divorced, career driven chap, by way of mistaken identity, becomes embroiled in a complex plot and has to solve a mystery, avoid being killed, travel, disguise, and bed the gorgeous blonde mixed up in it all, while dispensing the sharpest wit imaginable.

Of course there are big differences in sensibilities. East coast – West coast. Government Secrets – Drug Traffic. 50s – 80s. One outfit – Dozens of them. Suspense – Comedy. But there are so many corresponding elements. Private planes, running from cops, aliases, etc. But perhaps the most notable is the main character. Irwin R. Fletcher and Roger O. Thronhill are both remarkably smooth, funny, self-possessed gentlemen. They both think on their feet, have a way with women and above all are inquisitive and courageous.

Manners, style and knowledge are important facets of a gentleman. But it doesn’t mean much if he’s not a man of action that can think on his feet. Especially when he’s out of his element. Being able to talk your way out of a jam as well as throw a decent punch or jump a wall when talking has been exhausted is just as important. Here’s hoping that none of us get mixed up in a murderous plot. But in such an event, let’s be prepared to handle it like gentlemen.

“If you shoot me, you're liable to lose a lot of those humanitarian awards.” – Fletch

“I've got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don't intend to disappoint them all by getting myself slightly killed.” – R. O. Thornhill

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