76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
A re-release of a classic,
This review is from: Vertigo: Special Edition (Universal Legacy Series) (DVD)
It is unusual to see a director produce his best work after the age of 50, but that is exactly what Alfred Hitchcock did. Starting in 1948 with "Rope" and ending with "The Birds" in 1963, this was the era of his most inspired films. "Vertigo", in my opinion, is the best film of his entire body of work.
It is funny to note that when this film was first released in 1957 that it was not that popular in theaters and was pretty much universally panned by critics. In 1992, when the British Film Institute performed a survey of the world film critics to compile an all-time ten-best list that comes out every decade, Vertigo came in at fourth place. It didn't even make that list in 1962 or 1972. Part of the reason for the delayed popularity of the film could be that it requires repeated viewings to really gain an appreciation of it. Such repeated viewings were not possible for most viewers until the advent of home video systems and cable around 1980.
As for the film itself, it is a brilliantly twisted movie infused with touches of genius and madness that focuses on the interconnected nature of love and obsession. Interwoven with this main theme is a crime mystery that is revealed to and solved for the audience but not the protagonist, James Stewart's character, for the last 45 minutes of the film.
Alongside these themes is the issue of lost opportunities - how we grieve over them, and whether or not what we perceive as lost opportunities were ever "real" opportunities in the first place. This issue is raised not only for Scotty (James Stewart) - if only he could have gotten to Madeleine (Kim Novak) in time, if only he could have rescued the policeman from falling to his death at the beginning of the film, if only he could have seen through the scheme that manipulated him so perfectly and ultimately drove him temporarily mad - but for just about everybody else in the cast too. This includes Scotty's college girlfriend (Barbara Bel Geddes) who has remained his friend through the years and obviously still harbors thoughts of what might have been if only she had accepted Scotty's marriage proposal years before.
Besides the excellent acting and superb plot, the score is outstanding as is the cinematography, especially the visual darkness of the mission San Juan Bautista versus the angelic beauty of Madeleine which belies what is really going on. I highly recommend this film to anyone who has the time to watch it more than once. Just one viewing won't do it justice.
As an aside, this film is so contagious that I am sure that it has influenced other filmmakers over the years to the point of plagiarism, the most obvious example being Tim Burton's 1989 film, "Batman". The Joker dragging Vicki Vale to the top of Gotham cathedral's stairway and the confrontation and revelations of the past once at the top of the tower sure look like the closing 15 minutes of this movie. The following are the extra features:
Disc 1: Main Feature
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
English DD5.1 Surround and DD2.0 Mono
English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles
Feature Commentary with Associate Producer Herbert Coleman, Restoration Team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz and Other Vertigo Participants
Feature Commentary with Director William Friedkin
The Vertigo Archives
Original Theatrical Trailer
Restoration Theatrical Trailer
Disc 2: Extra Features
Obsessed with Vertigo: New Life for Hitchcock's Masterpiece
Partners in Crime: Hitchcock's Collaborators
Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts
Alfred Hitchcock Presents "The Case of Mr. Pelham"
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 1, 2008 10:52:32 AM PDT
Claudio Masenza says:
I hoped that the mono soundtrack would be the original one. That was my only reason to buy this Dvd again. Unfortunately it's a different version of the very bad restored one, with fastidious realistic noises ruining the dreamlike quality of this masterpiece. What a shame! Claudio Masenza
Posted on Aug 10, 2009 12:25:05 PM PDT
Mark Blackburn says:
Terrific review! One year later, still in the "spotlight" where it belongs! You had me hooked, and nodding in agreement with your perfect opening words:
"It is unusual to see a director produce his best work after the age of 50, but that is exactly what Alfred Hitchcock did. Starting in 1948 with "Rope" and ending with "The Birds" in 1963, this was the era of his most inspired films. "Vertigo", in my opinion, is the best film of his entire body of work."
Left a "helpful." Hope my vote shows up (for a change!) Just had to say, "Kudos," for a(nother) fine review by a Texas refugee deservedly in the "Top 10" among the 5.8 million of us ordinary souls pouring our hearts out at the world's biggest website.
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Posted on Feb 21, 2010 12:22:07 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 21, 2010 12:22:45 AM PST]
Posted on May 3, 2011 9:11:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2011 9:12:24 AM PDT
David Margules says:
Vertigo...Can anybody answer this question is there any improvement from the first restoration done on the 98' to the remastered 08' release or should we all be waiting for the blu-ray diffinitive 4 or 6k restoration of this classic...When it comes out.
Posted on May 10, 2013 9:25:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2013 9:28:04 PM PDT
Harrison Engle says:
Obsessed with Vertigo, directed & produced
by Harrison Engle
Co-produced by Joseph McBride
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2014 8:15:50 AM PDT
I missed this version... having just bought the most recent "Collector's edition" which I thought was the only one available, but it doesn't have the alternate ending, I don't think because the disc and other enclosed material says there is a side one and side two but one side has the writing on it, as most discs do and it doesn't LOOK like it plays that side, do you know about that? I want to KNOW about the alternate ending which I hear ends with Bel Geddes. Can you describe it to me in detail or where I can find it used. The first one I got of mine didn't arrive, the 2nd one didn't play and the 3rd one DID finally play and FABULOUS Extras but don't know if the other side actually is meant to be played.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2014 3:32:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2014 1:38:40 PM PDT
Also as much as I love the film all my life, there are SO many flaws. One I forgot to mention is the first time Scotty sees her at Ernies with her husband, is that supposed to be Judy or the real wife. How could JUDY go with him to their favorite restaurant and it not be talked about to his WIFE somehow. HOW could he lie and pretend it's his WIFE to the staff of the restaurant ALSO the next day Scotty is parked outside THEIR apartment building, and her CAR is in front that she gets into with the building staff all around, did she come from upstairs and pass all the employees of the building Concierge? What was that all about, that whole thing is IMPOSSIBLE. It was of corse JUDY because he followed her to all the Carlotta things, flower shop, museum etc. None of this makes sense, Where was his wife as Judy was taking over her life in FRONT of everybody. LOLOL She wasn't already DEAD, the wife, nobody mentioned that she was away, because the only one the husband talked to in front of US was Scotty, and he certainly won't tell HIM if the real wife was AWAY, he had to follow her all over lol And I repeat, the first time Scotty saw "Madeline" when he sat at the bar when they Dined at Ernie's before the Opera in her backless Green gown, was that the real WIFE, or JUDY. If it was Judy, then he took the chance of possibly having it mentioned to the wife she was there or something. How could Judy take THEIR car from THEIR house to start the trip to all those places Scotty followed her to all day. And scotty is a pretty DUMB tail, following her where she could always SEE him behind her in the car or also when he got OUT of it all the time lol No wonder he's retired lol... WE know she's SUPPOSED to see him, but not in REALITY according to the scam. Great film but surprised at Hitch not covering all these things, but they said he ""Didn't Carea about ice box talk the next day'''' lol
ANOTHER HINT... MIDGE some say she was a freak, worse than scotty and Judy, i disagreed, she was in LOVE, she did the painting of herself a Carlotta and it worked BBADLY for her, it BOOMERANGED and she thought she LOST HIM... that was a perfect and NORMAL reaction TO scotty's reaction to the portraid. Here's the discussion page about that at IMBd. Men see thaat sort of behavior and do not UNDERSTAND WOMEN and where it COMES from, Midge thought she TOTALLY lost him with painting her face in carlotta's portrait, her lifetype love so of COURSE she freaked out....>
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