Tuesday, May 10, 2005

PHONE BOOTH and NORTH BY NORTHWEST Compared

As I mentioned earlier, Phone Booth had been around for years and was even pitched to Alfred Hitchcock. In the late 90's, screen writer Larry Cohen finally obtained serious interest in his script, and got Jim Carrey and later Will Smith to play the lead. they backed out, of course, and it finally went to Colin Ferrell, who gave an outstanding performance. Amazing how long a script can get strung out in Hollywoodland.

I wonder, though if Stu was deliberately modeled after NxNW's Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant). Here's why:

  • Both play advertising/PR execs
  • In the intro, both are portrayed walking through midtown Manhattan, directing their assistants to help execute their dishonest orders.
  • Both are false, hollow men who must confront said hollowness. (Thornhill's emptiness is symbolized by his meaningless middle initial "O"; Stu's emptiness is symbolized by his fake Rolex.)
  • Both must risk their lives in order to save the ones they love--and ultimately their own souls. (Stu steps out of the false protection of the phone booth brandishing a pistol; Thornhill leaves the hospital to pursue Van Damm, ending up on the face of Mt. Rushmore.)
  • Both die a false (staged) death by getting shot with guns loaded with fake bullets.

I wonder what Jim Carrey would have done with the part.

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3 comments:

Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci said...

PHONE BOOTH has long been a favorite here at Team Bartilucci H.Q., with its bravura performances by Colin Farrell and, mostly in voiceover, Kiefer Sutherland (whose silky yet sinister voice sometimes reminds me a bit of James Mason). It's nice to see that you agree that this fine thriller is more than a little Hitchcockian, especially your comparisons between PHONE BOOTH and NORTH BY NORTHWEST! :-)

Joel Gunz said...

Hi Dorian - Agreed!

Jg

Joel Gunz said...

Hi Dorian - Agreed!

Jg