Tuesday, 12 February 2013

''Vertigo'' (1958 movie)- Review

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Released: 1958
Country: United States

Main cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore

Genres: Psychological thriller, Romantic-drama, Mystery

Rating: 5 out of 5


I have been sick for the last few days, and having nothing to do.  I decided it was time to revisit Alfred Hitchcock's ''Vertigo''. The first time I had seen it, probably September or October of 2012, I realized that it was a great movie, but until now, I had considered ''Psycho'' to be Alfred Hitchcock's best. But now I consider, after watching ''Vertigo'' for the second time, that Vertigo is Alfred Hitchcock's best film. It is a moving poetry, a beautiful love story, a passionate tale.

There is a strange melody and a beautiful poetry running through ''Vertigo'' that is not generally found in Hitchcock's films. Among the Hitchcock films I have seen, ''Vertigo'' I have found most poetic. ''Vertigo'' is, along with it's emotional depth, a technical beauty, with the color red and green being often seen, and beautiful scores it has, and powerful acting it has, and a beautiful script it has.

The film's protagonist, Detective John Ferguson (James Stewart), known among his friends as ''Scottie'', has retired after his acrophobia has been the cause of an accident. His old friend, Gavin (Tom Helmore) meets him and gives him the job to follow his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak). Why? Because sometimes it seems she becomes a different person; she goes to different places about which she does not afterwards  remember anything, she behaves strangely. Though at first hesitant as he has retired, John, however, agrees.

James Stewart and Kim Novak in ''Vertigo''
He follows Madeleine, and after seeing everything, he is hinted that there is a connection with this with Madeleine's ancestor Carlotta Valdes, and it may be so that Carlotta's spirit is possessing Madeleine. The second day Scottie follows Madeleine, she unexpectedly jumps in the San Franscisco Bay. Scottie saves her, they are introduced to each other, and then follows a poetic and emotionally intense tale of love, loss, gain, betrayal, and revelations...

The film is not great just for it's story. Rather, it's the combination of everything that makes it a great movie. The script is amazing. The cinematography is extremely fascinating. A memorable scene in the film was the green light that was reflected on the curtains, that was reflected on Kim Novak's face. At times, suddenly, everything becomes reddish or greenish: for example, the background suddenly has reddish light, and reddish light is reflected on the characters' faces. All these brilliant light effects in this film are wonderful.

My two favorite scenes in this film were:

(1) when Scottie and Madeleine visit the Muir Woods. At that scene, some of the dialogues spoken by Kim Novak's character are extremely memorable and iconic.  Many of the trees in the woods are over a thousand years old. A tree has been cut down and there are records of the historic events that the tree had witnessed. Kim Novak's character says: ''Here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice.'' It will be a very memorable quotation. 

(2) The very next scene, the scene at the shore, was also deeply memorable. Kim Novak's acting brings all the emotions to life, adding much sublimity to the two beautiful scenes.

In many Hitchcock films, there is a outspoken, carefree character. Here we have Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes) Scottie's ex-fiance, and a painter, with whom Scottie spends much time with. It is also a memorable character.

James Stewart and Kim Novak are amazing. And Vertigo is amazing as well, with it's powerful screenplay. The cinematography, and the so remarkable lighting, and the beautiful score, and the acting, so remarkable, everything are so memorable. By the time we have watched this movie, it seems like a poetry, a sublime, sad, emotional ride throughout.

5 out of 5!

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