Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

Search Collections

North by Northwest:
The Chase Across Mount Rushmore

Alfred Hitchcock directed a string of masterpieces in the 1950s including Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, and Psycho. At the height of this remarkable run came North by Northwest, a unique marriage of Hitchcock's trademark suspense and humor. Ernest Lehman, well known in Hollywood for adaptations such as Sabrina and The King and I, wrote the screenplay, his only original one and now widely regarded as his best.

Hitchcock and Lehman began work on an original story inspired by Hitchcock's concept of a chase across the face of Mount Rushmore.

The film follows Roger Thornhill, played by Cary Grant, in a journey which travels "in a northwesterly direction" through New York, Michigan, South Dakota,and eventually to—in the original story idea—Alaska. The plot emerged through Hitchcock and Lehmann's usual process of batting around ideas and imagining their character into impossible situations, then figuring out ways to extract him.

The slideshow shows Lehman's photographs of Mount Rushmore that he made during his research trip. The photographs here were made from previously unstudied negatives found in the Lehman collection.

This is just one item from the Making Movies exhibition, which runs through August 1 at the Ransom Center. Follow us on our Cultural Compass blog or Twitter or become a fan on Facebook to see new items from the exhibition revealed each day for the next few weeks as part of "Script to Screen."

Related Programming

View Entire Schedule

Connect with the
Harry Ransom Center
Flickr YouTube RSS Tumblr Facebook Twitter
eNews

Stay up to date with the Ransom Center's latest news and events with eNews, the Center's free monthly electronic newsletter.

Subscribe to eNews

View Past Issues

Media Contacts for members of the press

Alicia Dietrich
Public Affairs Assistant
Phone: 512-232-3667
Cell: 512-636-1216
Fax: 512-471-9646
aliciadietrich@mail.utexas.edu

Jennifer Tisdale
Director of Public Affairs
Phone: 512-471-8949
Cell: 512-921-0845
Fax: 512-471-9646
jentisdale@mail.utexas.edu

Harry Ransom Center
The University of Texas at Austin
P.O. Box 7219
Austin TX 78713-7219

Script to Screen

The Ransom Center is highlighting items from different sections of its upcoming exhibition Making Movies, which is organized by filmmaking jobs (director, producer, cinematographer, and more) and by iconic film scenes with materials that show how those scenes were created.

Learn more

Sponsors

Sponsors

Classically Austin 89.5 107.1 KGSR KVUE Austin KUT 90.5

Univision Austin HD