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Vertigo 1958

PG CC

San Francisco police detective Scottie Fergusson develops a fear of heights and is forced to retire when a colleague falls to his death during a chase.

Starring:
James Stewart, Kim Novak
Runtime:
2 hours, 10 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Thriller, Romance, Mystery
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Starring James Stewart, Kim Novak
Supporting actors Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey, Ellen Corby, Konstantin Shayne, Lee Patrick, David Ahdar, Isabel Analla, Jack Ano, Margaret Bacon, John Benson, Danny Borzage, Margaret Brayton, Paul Bryar, Steve Conte, Jean Corbett, Bruno Della Santina
Studio Universal Studios
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael K. Beusch VINE VOICE on April 7, 2000
Format: DVD
Vertigo is one of those films that is so ahead of its time, no one at the time of release is able to appreciate it. It was dismissed by critics, ignored by audiences and, to my knowledge, didn't win a single Academy Award (this last part isn't shocking -- Citizen Kane didn't win Best Picture). It's interesting that the reputation of this film seems to have grown substantially since the public found out more about Alfred Hitchcock's private life. For example, Scottie Ferguson's obsession with Kim Novak mirrors Hitch's own obsession with beautiful blondes, most notably Grace Kelly. Actors often bare their souls to the world, but very rarely are we aware when a director bares his/her soul. Those who dismiss Hitchcock as just a taskmaster director of suspense films should study Vertigo. He is essentially dealing with his own weaknesses and inner demons on film.
Vertigo also contains two great performances -- those of James Stewart and Kim Novak. Stewart reveals a dark side that might shock those who just know him from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life. He is completely believeable as a man (Hitchcock's alter ego) who is consumed by obsession. Likewise Kim Novak is wonderful and totally convincing as Madeline/Judy. Vera Miles (Lila Crane in Psycho) was originally cast, but it's hard to see anyone else but Kim Novak in the role. She is utterly convincing as the distant, aristocratic Madeline AND as the earthy working class girl Judy. I can't think of many actresses who could be so effective in both roles. Grace Kelly, for example, might have been able to pull off Madeline, but probably would have been laughable as Judy. It's too bad more directors couldn't see past Novak's sex kitten image and cast her in more substantial roles.
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Format: DVD
Vertigo is a tremendous film; if rating the film alone, I would give it the maximum rating. Vertigo deserves to have been carefully restored and preserved for posterity. The reason for my low rating for this DVD is that the restorers have seriously overstepped the bounds of conservation, actually changing the film for the worse. They have eliminated many original sound effects and created many new ones, to jarring effect. Evidently, their discovery of a stereo recording of the musical score so excited the restoration team that they felt they had to incorporate it into the restored print. As the original mono mix included effects with the score, this means that the restorers went into a Foley studio and cooked up replacement sounds--newpaper's rattling, footsteps, doors closing, cars driving past, etc. The result is VERY noticable: the modern, digitally recorded sounds have a sharply different quality from the analog originals, and the two are mixed together uneasily. The film was mixed, presumably under Hitchcock's careful supervision, with a mono soundtrack, which has survived in good condition. (Although the individual elements were scandalously destroyed in the 1970s as the result of a tussle over distribution rights to the film.) The soundtrack may have benefitted from some "cleaning up," but there was no good reason to create a new soundtrack. Please, Universal: include the original soundtrack as an option, at least, on future editions of this DVD. (The stereo recording of Herriman's musical score would make a nice DVD bonus track, too.) And please be more circumspect in future restoration projects. (There are problems with the color restoration, too, but at least there the restorers were addressing a real problem--the existing prints and film elements had seriously deteriorated. With the soundtrack, the restorers actively created problems where none existed.)
12 Comments 164 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: 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.
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7 Comments 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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