James Mason as Philip Vandamm.
When you think of a villain, a number of images come to mind. Maleficent cackling in Sleeping Beauty. The awful society snobs in All that Heaven Allows. Basil Rathbone in, well, lots of things. Villains come in all shapes and sizes, but perhaps my favorite kind of dastardly antagonist is the perfect gentleman. With manicured hands, dashing looks, beautiful suits, and impeccable manners, this villain exposes the corruption and wickedness that can hide behind the well-maintained facade. Sometimes the effect can be devastating, but other times it can just be plain fun.
As the expert at uncovering the evil underneath the quotidian, Alfred Hitchcock had some villains that were matchless. The qualifications were usually as follows: suave, sophisticated, witty... More often than not, being British helped too, as did executing the best arched eyebrow. From Herbert Marshall to Robert Walker, Hitchcock's antagonists were fascinating to watch. No one proves that more than James Mason as Philip Vandamm in North by Northwest.
This post is my entry to the Great Villain Blogathon. Check out the incredible roster here.