View Full Version : North by Northwest query - Architecture and Film

June 15th, 2003, 06:58 AM
Just wondering if anyone recognizes the midtown building Cary Grant walks out of at the very beginning of Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). *It is numbered 650 (maybe Madison Avenue?), with "C.I.T Financial" over the entrance.

I believe it is the same as the facade used in Saul Bass' credit sequence for the film. *Some attribute this facade to the Seagram Building, but the window pattern is different. *Although the glass matches the UN Secretariat, this is not the building either, as the reflected image is clearly a city street directly below.

I would appreciate any clues. *Thanks.

TLOZ Link5
June 15th, 2003, 06:17 PM
Perhaps it's Lever House?



I don't think it could have been the C.I.T. Building at 650 Madison that you remember, because that was built in 1987 by Fox & Fowle. *But I'll post the picture anyway:


June 15th, 2003, 06:24 PM
You are wrong. it IS the CIT building and it was orignally built in 1957 with 8 stories by the same architect that did the UN building (Harrisson, hence the similar look). It wasn't until 1987 that 19 floors were added to the buiding. And in North by Northwest, both the facade in the credits and the lobby in the fiirst scene belong to 650 Madison avenue. Even the taxi trip follows the exact route from the corner of Madison and 60th to the Central Park South Entrance of the Plaza. Hitchcock was a very precise director. Look at this link: http://www.thecityreview.com/mad650.html

June 15th, 2003, 10:43 PM
Thank you for the responses. *If only I could find a photo of the CIT building before the 1987 addition, as the new facade does not match that in the credit sequence. *Though I do think its the same building.


June 16th, 2003, 09:09 AM
Off the top of my head, I think it is the old Mobil building at 42nd (between Lerxington & 3rd Ave).

June 16th, 2003, 07:39 PM
Nope, I'm positive that the building in the credits is the CIT at 650 Madison. When they added the extra 19 floors, the old facade was remade to match that of the new tower extension. If I can find some pictures of the building prior to its rebuilding, I'll post them.