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PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: North By Northwest

Hitchcock’s classic thriller North By Northwest was written by Ernest Lehman, who wanted to write “the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures.” In my estimation, he far exceeded his goal.

After over 40 years, this action packed thriller still keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. North By Northwest is the best expression of one of Hitchcock’s favorite themes: the wrong man. The wrong man theme puts an everyman into an impossible situation. Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, an ad executive from New York who is mistaken for secret agent George Kaplan. Thornhill gets kidnapped by Phillip Vandamm (James Mason), who tries to kill him. Through the many twist and turns that the movie takes Cary Grant, as usual, is very debonair, sophisticated and believable in his approach to this character. I believe that North By Northwest is Grant’s most celebrated performance. This role lets him play many different character types: hero, clown, victim, drunkard, and – the part that he always plays best – the romantic lead. Grant is in almost every scene and he owns the screen, whether he is being seduced by Eve Kendall or chased by Phillip Vandamm or the CIA.

Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall is also very believable in her part. She is sexy, mysterious and dangerous. She keeps us guessing in each different scene, who her character really is. James Mason is also brilliant in his role as the villain. Mason also has a very sophisticated, charming air about him that even competes with Grant. Jessie Royce Landis is very funny as Cary Grant’s mother. Truly, Grant is the star of this show, but everyone in the show shines in their parts.

The crop dusting scene is my personal favorite in the film. Our hero in the show, Roger Thornhill finds himself attacked by a machine-gun-equipped crop dusting plane. It is one of the most remarkable scenes in film history. It has left me on the edge of my seat and holding my breath every time I watch the film. Although, all the scenes are impeccably done: the Mt. Rushmore visitor center scene, the drunk driving scene, the auction and the UN segment.

Hitchcock’s vision, Grant’s charm, and the rest of the casts’ truly brilliant performances makes this one film that you need to see. Join us on Monday, November 12th at 6:30 pm. See you at the PIX!



Kitty Messplay 

Vice President

Board Of Directors

Director’s Notes: Xanadu JR.

Theatre and music have always been a big part of my life. From sitting in the audience, to dipping my toes in my opera studies in college, to jumping in head first into musical theatre after I graduated, I have immensely enjoyed the creativity and passion that are invested in a show. I have always loved being on the stage. Each opportunity I have had has helped me grow as an artist and musician. I never thought in a million years that I would be directing a show. I just loved being on the stage so much that I never thought about reversing my role. When I was presented with this opportunity, I was scared, overwhelmed, excited, and thrilled all at once. There were times when I wasn’t sure how it would all come together, but the magic of theatre and the magic of hard work is a real thing. I have always appreciated the work that a director puts into a show but I’ve never understood it until now. I am very lucky to have a wonderful group of students who want to bring this show to life as much as I do!

Throughout the entire process they have been collaborating with one another and with me to turn our music rehearsals into visions of what the show will be. Our rehearsal space up until now has been a small music room with our twenty-nine person cast crammed into it. As you can imagine, envisioning what it would look like on stage was a challenge. Now we have moved onto the stage and we have fallen in love with the space and even more in love with the show.

Up until a few months ago, I had never even heard of Xanadu JR. When I found out what it was about, I just laughed. We all did. I think that is what made this process even more fun. We knew since it was an unfamiliar show, the expectations would be tempered. So, we played around with it! We created our own vision for our Xanadu JR. Sometimes when you don’t have a preconceived notion of what to expect, you can create your own version of the story.

Another collaboration we have loved is with the art teacher, Anne Fitzgerald. We took our vision to her and she and the art students are bringing that to life. She has been such a joy to work with and has made my first directing experience so fun! The in-school collaboration makes this process feel like a family effort.

Speaking of family, I have been fortunate enough to have a mother, Kitty Messplay, who took my vision for costumes and made it a dream come true. After I had searched high and low for costumes without any luck she whimsically came in and took on the task with determination and grace.

We are very excited to share our show with everyone. Our story is fun and we can’t wait to tell it. There has been, and continues to be, a lot of hard work that goes into Xanadu JR. Over the weekend we will be building our set and making our last finishing touches on the costumes. Be sure to come see our crazy mesh of Greek mythology and 80’s zaniness. Tickets are only $10 each! We cannot wait to share our show with you!


Shannon Messplay