His Girl Friday (1940)

Move over, Aaron Sorkin, you’ll never be able to top the word count of this script; the dialogue zips off the actors’ tongues with multiple conversations often happening at the same time. It’s a little hard to follow at points, but you just can’t help but get caught up in the endless energy emanating throughout the relationship comedy, crime drama, and constant reporter antics (those phones!) of the screwball plot. Witty and well-edited, just with a hard-to-like ending (Walter was a real jerk).

North by Northwest (1959)


A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. (IMDb)
An intriguing initial note of mystery doesn’t disappoint as it’s fleshed out in an exciting yet smart espionage plot full of daring escapes (see the train sequence), double-crossing damsels (Eve remains an enigma til the end), and dashes of danger (see the uniquely terrifying crop-duster scene). The climax loses some credibility thanks to a couple of cringe-worthy sets (see the fake forest and unspectacular Mt. Rushmore) but is redeemed slightly by a great foot-on-hand-on-cliff close-up shot.
7.5/10 (Really Good)