Monday, June 17, 2013

Great Movie # 2 - Vertigo


Byron and I hit the ground running on this list.  We agreed to skip the no. 1 ranked Citizen Kane.  It was still fresh in my mind (since I made the Mrs. watch it).  Not to mention that it is just that good of a movie.  In my book I can appreciate it being listed as number 1; Byron not so much.  Foretelling of future verdicts... possibly.  So we're starting off with no. 2 on the list, Vertigo.

Vertigo was released in 1958 by Alfred Hitchcock starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.  It's a cerebral mystery of obsession with suspense in only the manner that Hitchcock knows how to deliver with a very interesting twist.  This was probably the second time I watched this film completely from beginning to end.  That tells you how much I can watch it.  I always found the pacing of this film tough, and it doesn't get faster with time.  I suspect it goes to the voyeur effect that really pushes the picture along.  We literally spend an hour or more watching Jimmy Stewart watch Kim Novak from afar.  It's the amazing cinematography as well as the strong color pallet (particularly reds and greens)  that captures my attention every time.  As someone who has traveled many a time to San Francisco, Bryon could appreciate how Hitchcock depicted the beautiful metropolis.  In addition, the beautiful composing of Bernard Hermann's score creates a healthy blend of urgency, romance, and intrigue as a back drop to this film that defines obsession [courtesy of the excellent performance of Jimmy Stewart].    

One thing Byron and I could agree that upon it's theatrical release, there wasn't anything like Vertigo ever seen before.  I'm sure there hasn't been a film in the with psychological twist in identity like Vertigo to it.  As Byron would put it, a real 'mind fuck' for the time of its release.  Something I can totally see and agree with.  Hell, it fucked with my mind the first time I saw it.  Yet and still Byron couldn't help but feel that its twist doesn't hold up to as many contemporary films that accomplish the same thing.  Regardless, this film came first which gives it credence.  Something that cannot be denied, and should be appreciated.  

What I find interesting is that of all his films, many (both academics and casual fans) consider this his greatest work.  An idea that I still cannot wrap my mind around. What about Psycho, or North by Northwest?  I don't know, I guess I'll gather some kind of insight but the time we're done.  If any of you have an opinion, I'm glad to hear your thoughts on my FB wall.  However, despite the accomplishments and regard the world has for Vertigo, we both agree this film isn't worth ranking at number 2.  I'm willing to consider putting it in the top 20...maybe even top 50.  That will have to wait until we go through all 1,000.  

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