Vertigo – A mesmerizing masterpiece!!!
February 7, 2013 in I Luv Classic Movies
Vertigo is a psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the novel D’entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. When it was released in 1958 it was neither a box office hit nor did it receive critical acclaim. But now it is hailed as Hitchcock’s masterpiece.
Hitchcock uses a complex story, interesting characters, lavish visuals plus a fine musical score by Bernard Hermann, to produce a strange, almost bizarre ambiance. The tension rarely slackens and the viewer is fully engrossed in it, sometimes even to the point of anxiousness. It is the kind of film that warrants the full attention of the viewer.
Jimmy Stewart is excellent in the role of a former police detective who takes an early retirement due to his disabilities. Kim Novak is totally realistic in a difficult dual role, and the movie would not have been as gripping without her fine performance. The supporting cast all don their roles to perfection. Ironically, Hitchcock was unhappy and blamed Jimmy Stewart as being too old and Kim Novak not being suitable for the part since it was not a commercial success at the time of its release.
The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California, and at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. It portrays the beauty of scenic and historic places of San Francisco. The film uses the dolly-zoom, where the camera tracks back as it zooms in to convey Scottie’s acrophobia. This effect is now known as “ the Vertigo effect”.
”Vertigo” is a classic by any standard. It is a must-see. Like great wine, it matures with age and repeated viewing for it reveals new facet each time you see it. It was ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Mystery” in June 2008.
Everything about this film, the photography, the story, the locales, the music etc. leaves you bewildered and spellbound. It truly is without a blemish.
One of the many things that made Hitchcock such a great director is that he did not just stick to the same formula; all of his best movies have their own distinctive feel and the characterization of his main players are all unique. Vertigo shows Hitchcock as a director at the height of his powers and ahead of his time. It is a movie that, without doubt, will continue to inspire other film makes in the years to come. This is his crowning achievement.
One of the all-time greats – it provides you with a movie experience that you will never forget. Even after 50 years, Vertigo still casts a spell on whoever watches it. It is unarguably a great classic movie and one of the best suspense movies of all time.