Vertigo (1958)

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!

 Eeee, Time travel doesn't suit Jimmy's complexion...
Eeee, time travel doesn't suit Jimmy's complexion...

Genre: Drama Mystery Thriller Romance

Starring: James Stewart (Rope; It's a Wonderful Life), Kim Novak (The Man With The Golden Arm)

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Spellbound; The Manxman)

Overview: A detective suffering from vertigo takes a job following a man's wife, embroiling himself in a strange mystery.

Performance:

I read once that Kim Novak, while in this role, constantly felt as thought she was pressured by Hitchcock to play Grace Kelly, or rather BE Grace Kelly. You see, he had Grace as a leading lady for three recent films, and it was pretty obvious to Kim that there was no way she could live up to the high expectations Hitchcock already had in his mind. Poor girl. But just between you and me, she ain't got the same charm and chemistry with Stewart either...
Rating: 8

Cinematography:

I was astounded at how not impressed I was with this. Don't get me wrong, it's a great little movie and those harrowing moments are quite something, but when you have good story it's nice to crop it visually rather than simply set up a standard framing. For the high tension at great times it's fantastic but it could have been so much more frightening.
Rating: 8

Script:

Crap all over me for this but I found the script uninspired and all too expository, "Hey we were engaged once, you remember that?" Who the hell asks that question if not for an audience? Jimmy might as well just have stood up, walked stage front-left while a spotlight fell on him as he spoke directly to the camera, Jesus.
Rating: 7

Plot:

A deep psychological fear meshed with a clunky story. Potential defiled. I'm being so hard on this one only because I expected so much, but the mystery of the first half was really quite bland. The end, that twist with all the dominoes falling into place does quite the interesting thing to the mind, but I didn't find that it redeemed the rest of the film for me.
Rating: 7

Mood:

It's called Vertigo for a reason, and that reason should have been played up a little bit more. One more scene where he's deeply affected by the nausea that sweeps over him would have made it just that much better. I'll tell you this too, the whole early part of the mystery, the following of the wife, it's rather ordinary, regardless of all the expository mystery about it. The mood set was fine, but really nothing more.
Rating: 7

 Ding-A-Dang Dong my Ding-A-Long Novak!
Ding-A-Dang Dong my Ding-A-Long Novak!

Overall Rating: 74% ("I'm Just Sick About This...")
Aftertaste:

I must say that I remember this being much more impressive the first time I saw it. I think it was the first Hitchcock film I'd ever seen and perhaps I was blinded by the veneer of the legend. Yes this is a classic, and yes it's solid, but the power balance between the sexes is so ridiculously dated, it suffers for it. Culture Shock, for sure. Wow, I guess women really WERE spineless back then. Still, the now-retro-cool special effects definitely haven't lost their edge for me, and though not one of my favorites was enjoyable enough.

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Sacrilege!

    This film is a masterpiece!

    I think that this film was shot quite beautifully. Aside from the fact that the story is told almost completely visually for the first half of the movie, you also get great sequences like Judy emerging from the bathroom bathed in green light after her transformation into Madeleine, and that process shot directly after when Scotty starts to kiss her, where the background fades behind them and they're back in the stable at San Juan Batista. And, of course, the much imitated classic "vertigo" truck out and zoom that was done here for the first time.

    Great, great, great, great movie!

    And Kim Novak wasn't Hitch's first choice for the role. Vera Miles (from The Wrong Man) was supposed to play Madeleine/Judy but unfortunately got pregnant before filming began so she had to drop out.


Meh. I didn't think it lived up to all the hype either. No chemistry between Stewart and that Novak chick at all.  Did her marriage mean nothing? I mean I know the guy was nothing to write home about but neither seemed to have any qualms at all about adultery. The romance seemed too rushed to merit his obsession. I liked the Midge character better personally.

 But all that aside, the story was lacking.

 I hope 'Rear Window' lives up to my expectations/it's reputation.


1.) Rear Window my favorite of the 53 Hitchcocks that I've seen.

2.) Grace Kelly is the sexiest and best woman to ever appear on the silver screen ever.

3.) she's also at her best in this one.

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