Two comments about the North by Northwest Plaza hotel room scene between Cary Grant and Jesse Royce Landis. One about gratitude, and the second about great surprise.
Comment #1 is that a certain one-two exchange between these two makes me laugh or chuckle or smile every time. I know it’s coming, I know it by heart and it gets me without fail.
Emerging from the bathroom, a deadpan, vaguely disgusted Roger Thornhill (Grant) makes the following announcement: “Bulletin…Kaplan has dandruff.” And Thornhill’s mother (Landis) replies, “In that case I think we should leave.”
Mother and child, both appalled by dandruff. That in itself is funny, but I get an extra kick out of Landis’s droll delivery, and by the fact that I, Jeffrey Wells, am also repelled by dry scalp snowflakes, and I’ve derived a feeling of comfort from two movie stars sharing the same feeling of repulsion, not just with me but with hundreds of thousands if not millions of movie buffs**. We’re all in this together, guys!
Comment #2 is that until today (and I’m laying this right on the table without apologies) I’d never realized that when Thornhill/Grant says “bulletin,” he’s facetiously playing the part of a TV announcer and announcing important “news” about Kaplan’s scalp. Because all my life I’ve thought that when he says “bulletin” it’s because he found a dandruff treatment product called Bulletin in the bathroom, and that was how he’d realized Kaplan has this problem.
Have I ever done a Google search for “Bulletin dandruff treatment” over the last 25 years? No, and that’s on me.
** How many people alive in the year 2021 are ardent fans of this 1959 Hitchcock film? A lot fewer than there were back in the waning days of the Eisenhower administration, I’ll bet. A voice is telling me that a certain percentage of Millennials have heard about it and may have even watched it once or twice. (Jett and Dylan had watched it by the time they were six or seven.) But Zoomers? Probably not so much.