Sunday, May 13, 2012

Random Hitchcock: Vertigo (1958)

Regarded by many as Hitchcock's greatest film,  Vertigo broke ground very many cinematic ways.  Actually, it is an experimental film, but that fact doesn't really come up that often, which always struck my as strange, since the weird dream sequences and animated parts are not exactly subtle.  While I find the film fascinating from a cinematic point of view, and love Barbara Bel Geddes character Midge Wood, I'm just not the biggest fan of the film.  While I appreciate it's enormous significance, I just can't keep myself from finding it tedious in many places.  Despite that has such great weight in the Hitchcock canon, I just don't think it holds up well to repeated viewings...and despite that I'm not it's biggest fan, I have seen it MANY times.  It's a bit of a let down watching the film when you know what's coming, which unless you have some brain troubles, means that once you've seen it, with the mystery element lost, a great deal of the suspense goes with it.  For me it's positive points are absolutely Kim Novak's performance which is so well acted that a few of her acting chops have actually been pointed out as film goofs (such as where she appears to be holding her breath with Scottie (James Stewart) jumps into the water to save her), the interior designs that match with "fantasy" sequences (such of the brilliant red interior of one bar/restaurant) and, as mentioned above, the character of Midge, who as the woman left out in the cold does not unravel into some feminine heap.  I also like that the Technicolor is so vastly improved from that of the mid-1950's--which complaints from Hitchcock apparently helped to facilitate.  Also the film is one of the ground breaking split plot screenplays, where around 1/2 way through the film the audience is greeted with an ending, and a whole new plot seems to take over leaving viewers wondering out the whole thing has much to with itself (even From Dusk Till Dawn had that, albeit in a very stripped down way!).  

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