I’d heard about Todd McEwen’s famous essay about Cary’s Grant’s suit in North by Northwest (‘North By Northwest isn’t a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it’s about what happens to his suit’) but I’d never gotten around to reading it. It turns out it’s online, and it’s a brilliant, hilarious read, getting more and more frantic as the film goes on:
Now the suit is in the woods for the reconciliation scene with Eva Marie. This suit doesn’t look too bad in the woods, and you reflect that Mount Rushmore seems a very formal national park, there were a lot of people dressed up in the cafeteria, paying their respects. Cary gets punched out for trying to interfere between the Professor and Eva Marie, AND WHEN HE WAKES UP THE SUIT HAS BEEN CONFISCATED! The Professor has locked him in a hospital room with only a TOWEL to wear! He’s not going anywhere! (Although you feel a lot of relief that he’s had his second shower of the picture.) But then comes the real act of betrayal: the Professor brings CARY GRANT a set of hideous clothes from some awful ‘menswear shop’ in Rapid City (you can just imagine the smell of it, Ban-Lon shirts and cheap belts). He gives him an off-white white shirt, a pair of black slacks, white socks and icky black slip-on shoes.