Tagged: Phillip Vandamm

Vandamm’s Gray Tweed Suit in North by Northwest

James Mason as Phillip Vandamm in a promotional photo for North by Northwest (1959).

James Mason as Phillip Vandamm in a promotional photo for North by Northwest (1959).

Vitals

James Mason as Phillip Vandamm, urbane spy and secret-trader

Mount Rushmore, Fall 1958

Film: North by Northwest
Release Date: July 28, 1959
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Wardrobe Department: Harry Kress

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

North by Northwest arguably set the tone for spy films in the following decade with its suave and well-suited hero, colorful settings, and elements of dangerous romance. James Mason’s urbane Phillip Vandamm is, in many ways, the archetypal James Bond villain: sinister and deadly but with the ability to be just as charming and debonair as the story’s protagonist.

Vandamm proves to be more sensitive and romantic than one would expect, and James Mason perfectly conveys just how badly Vandamm is stung by Eve’s betrayal. He zips through the Kübler-Ross model in record time, expressing denial (laughing off Leonard’s concerns), anger (punching Leonard), and acceptance (vindictively deciding Eve’s fate “from a great height…over water”) all within seconds of the same scene. Continue reading

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