North by Northwest (1959), dir. Alfred Hitchcock
The Planetarium, We The Curious, One Millennium Square, Anchor Rd, Harbourside BS1 5DB
Saturday 24 November 2018

Doors: 7.30pm, Film 8pm
Tickets: £18/£13 Concessions, plus £1.50 transaction fee

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Rating: PG
Running Time: 2hrs 13mins, plus intro

Watch the Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest, in the suitably starry setting of Bristol’s Planetarium. With a video welcome from Col Needham (founder and CEO of, who even after watching more than 10,000 films still rates North by Northwest as one of his all-time top 10 favourites and names Grant as his favourite film actor + an introduction from Matthew Sweet (presenter of BBC Radio’s Sound of Cinema) to the atmosphere-enhancing score by Bernard Herrmann, composer of the music for seven Hitchcock films. Doors open at 7pm for star dome viewings accompanied by Hermann’s soundtrack.

“Cary Grant on the run. Alfred Hitchcock behind the camera. Bernard Herrmann in charge of the orchestra. North by Northwest is a pretty perfect cinematic proposition. But it’s also a fascinating case study in the relationship between director and composer – it’s a picture that draws much of its power from a relentless, frantic score – but plays out its most famous and terrifying scene without a note on the soundtrack. What a paradox. What a movie!” (Matthew Sweet)

Debonair advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a secret agent by a gang of mysterious spies, headed up by Phillip Vandaam (James Mason) and his henchman (Martin Landau). Framed for the murder of a UN delegate he flees on a sleeper train where he meets the seductive Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) and hides in her bunk in what turns out to be the beginning of a 2000-mile chase.

Full of iconic images (the crop-duster, the Mount Rushmore monument), in sweeping Vist-a-vision, with an Oscar-nominated script by Ernest Lehman (West Side Story) and a compelling score by Bernard Herrmann (Psycho), this is the “Hitchcock film to end all Hitchcock films” and Grant’s sophisticated performance, a precursor for the 007 franchise, sees him at his suave best. Not to be missed on the big screen!


“The Cary Grant Festival provides many wonderful opportunities to celebrate Cary Grant as Bristol’s most famous son through his films.  Come along to laugh, to cry, to be entertained and to remember this all started in our city” (Col Needham)


Col Needham (Festival Advisor) is the founder and CEO of IMDb, the #1 movie website in the world and a huge Cary Grant fan. Born and living in the UK, Col has had a lifelong interest in both technology and movies. IMDb grew out of a personal database of movie information which Col created as a teenager, combined with similar data collected on the Internet in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Col published the first version of IMDb online in October 1990 and co-ordinated IMDb as a worldwide volunteer effort from 1990-1996. IMDb incorporated in January 1996 with the volunteers as shareholders and IMDb became a wholly owned subsidiary of in April 1998. Col continues in his original role to this day, working from an office in Bristol with IMDb staff members in countries around the world. Col is a board member of Into Film. He received a 2014 Creative Coalition Independent Spotlight award for his work to support independent filmmaking. Col was a jury member at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

Matthew Sweet is author of Inventing the Victorians (2001), Shepperton Babylon (2005) and The West End Front (2011). A familiar voice in British broadcasting, he presents Free Thinking and Sound of Cinema on BBC Radio 3 and The Philosopher’s Arms on BBC Radio 4. He has judged the Costa Book Award, edited The Woman in White for Penguin Classics and was Series Consultant on the Showtime/Sky Atlantic series Penny Dreadful. In the BBC2 drama An Adventure in Space and Time he played a moth from the planet Vortis. His most recent book Operation Chaos: The Vietnam Deserters Who Fought the CIA, the Brainwashers and Themselves (2018) is published by Picador. @DrMatthewSweet 

Buy tickets for North by Northwest

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Celebrating Bristol’s recent designation as a UNESCO City of Film, in recognition of the city’s vibrant screen heritage, of which Cary Grant is one of our brightest stars.