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Vertigo (1958). This print is quite an improvement.


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i watched Vertigo (1958) again last night (Jan 1, 2017) and enjoyed the new (?) print of this film. the old restoration was a mess, especially the scene where Scottie goes to the Argosy Bookshop to get the lowdown about Carlotta. kudos to TCM for the better print.

 

now that Vertigo can be seen better, does it now rate a #1 ranking as the Best Picture of All Time (Sight & Sound, 2012)? well, more viewings improves my evaluation, and a better quality print really helps, too. it's sortta like Marnie (1964), it gets better all the time.

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I always "liked" VERTIGO rather than "loved" it like so many high brows today. I still view it more as a three star Hitchcock than a four star Hitchcock, but I still enjoy it. After all, it is unusual in its structure. Because it plays around with traditional narratives like many New Wave films by letting us know who the killer is early on and then make us suffer along with Jimmy Stewart, I can understand its appeal over more straight-forward (yet more entertaining) films in the director's stock pile.

 

One aspect of any restoration that doesn't help is enhancing Kim Novak's appearance. I really like her performance, but sometimes she looks like a clown with all of the heavy make-up. This is more obvious the more crystal clear the image is (although it already is quite sharp thanks to VistaVision). Her eye-brows are almost as over done as Divine's in PINK FLAMINGOS.

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AMEN to everything Miss Lewis writes below,

 

I watched VERTIGO last night and in all honesty- I would say it is equal parts problematic and cinematic.

 

i STICK to my guns that SHADOW OF A DOUBT is my favorite of his movies, although I concede PSYCHO is without fault.

 

But really, there's too many "oh come on!" moments in VERTIGO for it to rank up there in his five or six best (for me.)

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Vertigo is one of those movies that I like because I find it visually interesting.  However, I remember it took a few viewings to even figure out what was going on, but that didn't dissuade me from wanting to watch it again, in fact, I kept wanting to see it over and over to see what "new" thing I'd notice after another viewing, and see if I could figure out the movie.  I like Vertigo, but I personally wouldn't put it in my top 5 favorite Hitchcock movies--though I do own (or I should say did own, as it was damaged in my basement flood).  My favorite of Hitch's films is Rear Window with To Catch a Thief a close second.

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Sure, REAR WINDOW is a long time favorite of mine as far as Hitchcock films, or ANY films go.  I think(if memory serves) it was the first Hitchcock film I saw,  before I even KNEW who Hitchcock WAS.  It eventually led me into an interest in photography,  and the more I learn about it, the better it gets for me.  Probably MY favorite Hitch movie as well.

 

Another favorite, despite everyone else here being sick  of it, is NORTH BY NORTHWEST!  :blink:   I would STILL love to have that house!

 

SHADOW OF A DOUBT and LIFEBOAT follow closely for me too.  And I  really can't say if there's ANY of his flicks I DON'T like at all.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Vertigo, even after repeated viewings, remains one of my favourite films for a variety of reasons. I saw the film on the big screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and was inspired enough by its closing reel to write the following about its ending on these threads.

 

For those who have never seen Vertigo, a huge SPOILER ALERT !!! is now required since I am about to spill the beans on what happens at the end:

 

 

 

I hadn’t watched Vertigo in years but I fully remembered the ending and knew exactly what was coming. Yet I was once again mesmerized and emotionally engulfed in that tragic climax.

 

As Scotty, James Stewart simply gives one of the great screen performances of the movies. In the film’s closing scene he is actually quite frightening, an obsessive, angry man dragging Judy, whom he now knows had played for him a sap in her pose as Madeleine, up those church steps to confront their past and her participation in a crime there.

 

Stewart’s teeth are gritted and his eyes angry as he verbally slams her for her participation in the murder plot with Elster. But then comes that moment when the anger vanishes from Stewart’s face, as he sinks back and says, “Oh, I loved you so, Madeleine.”

 

Suddenly Stewart makes the audience feel the love sick pain of this tormented soul he is playing. This is a James Stewart we will never see in any other film he made.

 

And Novak’s performance here is a small miracle, too, touchingly bringing a vulnerability to the scene. Terrorized and frightened by Scotty’s anger, Judy, after hearing this lament from him, hesitatingly at first, moves forward and back into his arms again. Now, for the first time in the film, Judy is being completely honest with Scotty, speaking of how she had been safe after the murder but brought herself back into danger again by being with him again, because of her love for him.

 

It’s too late for them now, of course, because Scotty knows that a woman has been murdered. But this is still the woman that is the love of his life that he holds in his arms, the woman that he will always love no matter what she has done.

 

And then, suddenly, it is over. The dark outline of a nun arises from nowhere, almost like a ghost from the past, scaring Judy into rushing backward and falling to her death. As Scotty stands on the ledge, looking down at her body, now, ironically, cured of his acrophobia, Hitchcock fades the scene to black. But as it darkens Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score sweeps our emotions with the power of his music and orchestration. The often dreamlike quality of Vertigo has ended as a nightmare.

 

Elster may or may not get away with the murder of his wife after the film has ended. But the audience really doesn’t care. What we care about are Scotty and Judy. Judy is dead, and Scotty might just as well be. We know that Scotty will never recover this time, not from this second loss of his great love.

 

With Vertigo’s shattering climax, we have just watched an ending of profound tragedy presented to us by a director, then at the full peak of his powers, who was a truly great filmmaker.

 

018-Vertigo-1958-John-Looks-Down-from-th

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now that Vertigo can be seen better, does it now rate a #1 ranking as the Best Picture of All Time (Sight & Sound, 2012)?

An emphatic NO! I think Vertigo is probably Hitchcock's most overrated movie.

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I didn't watch Vertigo on TCM to see the quality of the print. However, about ten years ago I purchased the following DVD of it, and was far from satisfied with the image, finding much of it soft:

 

Vertigomovie_restoration.jpg

 

A few months ago, however, I tried to play this disc for the first time in years only to find that it had fried on me. It wouldn't play on either of two DVD players I had.

 

Therefore I purchased the following DVD of the film off amazon.ca

81i93SciDNL._SL1500_.jpg

 

I found this DVD to be a vast improvement over the previous copy, even though neither the front nor back cover promote it as a restoration or of "high quality." A much cleaner, sharper image of one of my movie favourites. I'm really glad that earlier copy went belly up.

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AMEN to everything Mister Lewis writes below,

 

I watched VERTIGO last night and in all honesty- I would say it is equal parts problematic and cinematic.

 

i STICK to my guns that SHADOW OF A DOUBT is my favorite of his movies, although I concede PSYCHO is without fault.

 

But really, there's too many "oh come on!" moments in VERTIGO for it to rank up there in his five or six best (for me.)

 

Awww thanks. Of course, I don't hate it. Funny thing, when I first saw it in the early eighties, The Cult was only starting to take off. None of the movie books of the era ranked it that high. I remember Gene Siskel was a huge fan of it on one of the PBS shows but I figured it was just his taste. It seems that the bulk of its fans are younger.

 

I also like Shadow of a Doubt and Psycho better. I do love the music to Vertigo a lot. Also love all of the vintage cars on the roads.

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Another favorite, despite everyone else here being sick  of it, is NORTH BY NORTHWEST!  :blink:   I would STILL love to have that house!

 

I will watch James Mason in anything, even just standing there and picking his nose. Every line coming out of his mouth keeps me in stitches in this one. "Leeeeeonard..." (Not to be outdone, Cary is funny too.)

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Wow, I thought this was going to be a thread about the Vertigo print. I was a little taken aback to see it immediately turn into the Kick-Vertigo-in-the-Family-Jewels thread. I feel like I don't know you people any more! :) I'm glad a few posters stuck up for it. Vertigo is my favorite Hitchcock film. Is the plot ridiculous? Yes, but aren't the plots of all of Hitchcock's films ridiculous (except maybe The Wrong Man, based on a real-life case)? I'm a big fan of Shadow of a Doubt, too, but come on, be fair, it's equally ridiculous! I mean, Joseph Cotten practically wearing a neon sign that says "I am a Murderer" on his forehead with him rambling on endlessly at the table about those fat, wheezing animals who deserve to be killed and idiotically drawing attention to himself by ripping up the newspaper because it had a story that could in no way connect him to anything (or he spills juice on it or something, I've forgotten the specifics of the scene)? I think you can't worry too much about logic in virtually any of Hitchcock's films.

 

I find Vertigo to be the Hitchcock film with the most honest human emotions, in all their messy, awkward glory. There's some kind of delightfully perverse dynamic going on with Stewart's obsession to make over his new girlfriend into an exact replica of his old, dead one (yeah, it's the same person, but he doesn't know that yet) and, more intriguingly, with her willingness to ultimately go along with it, despite her occasional reluctance. Also Barbara Bel Geddes' character and her puppy-dog devotion to Stewart who's just not that into her ... how did she not get an Oscar nomination for this movie? The scene where she visits him in the "rest home" after his breakdown breaks my heart every time. The emotional roller-coaster ride Stewart's character goes through - from sucker to basket case to sexual obsessive to revenge-oriented to tragic survivor - is wrenching. I implore all of you giving Vertigo a big "meh", please give it another chance! 

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i watched Vertigo (1958) again last night (Jan 1, 2017) and enjoyed the new (?) print of this film. the old restoration was a mess, especially the scene where Scottie goes to the Argosy Bookshop to get the lowdown about Carlotta. kudos to TCM for the better print.

 

now that Vertigo can be seen better, does it now rate a #1 ranking as the Best Picture of All Time (Sight & Sound, 2012)? well, more viewings improves my evaluation, and a better quality print really helps, too. it's sortta like Marnie (1964), it gets better all the time.

 

 

As per the OP topic...  Here is a screen shot as it aired on the HD channel, with some more of my screenshots under the following link.  I included a pic of Ben M. introducing it as a point of reference.  I'm not really a video snob, but I am glad I rerecorded it this time.

 

http://moviecollector.us/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/vertigo%20screenshots.htm

 

 

vertigo-2017-01-03-00h15m25s602.jpg

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Wow, I thought this was going to be a thread about the Vertigo print. I was a little taken aback to see it immediately turn into the Kick-Vertigo-in-the-Family-Jewels thread. I feel like I don't know you people any more! :) I'm glad a few posters stuck up for it. Vertigo is my favorite Hitchcock film. Is the plot ridiculous? Yes, but aren't the plots of all of Hitchcock's films ridiculous (except maybe The Wrong Man, based on a real-life case)? I'm a big fan of Shadow of a Doubt, too, but come on, be fair, it's equally ridiculous! I mean, Joseph Cotten practically wearing a neon sign that says "I am a Murderer" on his forehead with him rambling on endlessly at the table about those fat, wheezing animals who deserve to be killed and idiotically drawing attention to himself by ripping up the newspaper because it had a story that could in no way connect him to anything (or he spills juice on it or something, I've forgotten the specifics of the scene)? I think you can't worry too much about logic in virtually any of Hitchcock's films.

 

I find Vertigo to be the Hitchcock film with the most honest human emotions, in all their messy, awkward glory. There's some kind of delightfully perverse dynamic going on with Stewart's obsession to make over his new girlfriend into an exact replica of his old, dead one (yeah, it's the same person, but he doesn't know that yet) and, more intriguingly, with her willingness to ultimately go along with it, despite her occasional reluctance. Also Barbara Bel Geddes' character and her puppy-dog devotion to Stewart who's just not that into her ... how did she not get an Oscar nomination for this movie? The scene where she visits him in the "rest home" after his breakdown breaks my heart every time. The emotional roller-coaster ride Stewart's character goes through - from sucker to basket case to sexual obsessive to revenge-oriented to tragic survivor - is wrenching. I implore all of you giving Vertigo a big "meh", please give it another chance!

Vertigo doesn't require an apologia-- You either have good taste or you don't.

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I implore all of you giving Vertigo a big "meh", please give it another chance! 

 

I suspect the posters who knocked Vertigo in this thread have already made up their minds, sewhite, so I doubt that "give it another chance" will make much of a difference with them. Let's face it, once a film, any film, is hailed by some critics as "the greatest ever made" you have to expect the brickbats to come a flyin' (often as an overreaction).

 

Of course, as you could undoubtedly tell from my earlier comment on this thread, I find the film that is said to have been Hitchcock's most persona to be a masterpiece, even with the flaws in the plot's logic. One of my favourite plot holes: how could Elster have counted on Scotty to NOT look at the body of his wife afterward when he threw her off the tower, thus exposing his whole scheme?

 

But I don't really care since my emotional involvement in the film long before the time of its memorable climax is so complete. A combination of mesmerizing camerawork, Herrmann's glorious, mysterious, romantically sweeping musical score which adds to the, at times, dreamlike atmosphere of the production, the brilliant counter casting of James Stewart ("Mr. Normality"), as an obsessed man, as well as the performances of all involved makes this clearly qualify as one of the director's greatest films, in my opinion. (Other particular Hitch favourites for me: Foreign Correspondent, Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window and North By Northwest).

 

When I saw Vertigo on the big screen at TIFF (with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra providing live accompaniment of the musical score) Kim Novak was in attendance and answered questions about the film and the making of it after the presentation. I guess she could really feel the love coming from the theatre seats that day. Everyone laughed and applauded at the right moments as she spoke. But it was apparent that she was extremely proud of her participation in the film, and had nothing but kind things to say about the Hitchcock working experience, as well as co-star James Stewart. She referred to the actor as her friend and compared the ease of working with him to slipping on a pair of comfortable slippers.

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Wow, I thought this was going to be a thread about the Vertigo print. I was a little taken aback to see it immediately turn into the Kick-Vertigo-in-the-Family-Jewels thread. I feel like I don't know you people any more! :) I'm glad a few posters stuck up for it. Vertigo is my favorite Hitchcock film. Is the plot ridiculous? Yes, but aren't the plots of all of Hitchcock's films ridiculous (except maybe The Wrong Man, based on a real-life case)? I'm a big fan of Shadow of a Doubt, too, but come on, be fair, it's equally ridiculous! I mean, Joseph Cotten practically wearing a neon sign that says "I am a Murderer" on his forehead with him rambling on endlessly at the table about those fat, wheezing animals who deserve to be killed and idiotically drawing attention to himself by ripping up the newspaper because it had a story that could in no way connect him to anything (or he spills juice on it or something, I've forgotten the specifics of the scene)? I think you can't worry too much about logic in virtually any of Hitchcock's films.

 

I find Vertigo to be the Hitchcock film with the most honest human emotions, in all their messy, awkward glory. There's some kind of delightfully perverse dynamic going on with Stewart's obsession to make over his new girlfriend into an exact replica of his old, dead one (yeah, it's the same person, but he doesn't know that yet) and, more intriguingly, with her willingness to ultimately go along with it, despite her occasional reluctance. Also Barbara Bel Geddes' character and her puppy-dog devotion to Stewart who's just not that into her ... how did she not get an Oscar nomination for this movie? The scene where she visits him in the "rest home" after his breakdown breaks my heart every time. The emotional roller-coaster ride Stewart's character goes through - from sucker to basket case to sexual obsessive to revenge-oriented to tragic survivor - is wrenching. I implore all of you giving Vertigo a big "meh", please give it another chance! 

 

Oh just wait till the discussion moves on to Citizen Kane! You will never hear the end of all of the disgust over "critics".

 

I once gave a copy of Tokyo Story to somebody whom I thought was movie oriented. He told me "How can you sit through something so boring!"

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I suspect the posters who knocked Vertigo in this thread have already made up their minds, sewhite, so I doubt that "give it another chance" will make much of a difference with them. Let's face it, once a film, any film, is hailed by some critics as "the greatest ever made" you have to expect the brickbats to come a flyin' (often as an overreaction).

 

Even you and I know that The Incredible Shrinking Man was far more deserving to top Sight & Sound's polls. Ha ha! I said in the beginning that I liked Vertigo if not loved it. I dunno... maybe my issue is Kim Novak's eyebrows distracting me too much? I do wuv her otherwise. Her eyebrows don't look bad NOW. Just that her make-up artist goofed once on the set back in 1957.

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VERTIGO is one of those films like BRINGING UP BABY in that some people like it because they truly like it, and others, due to presumptuous critics and others gushing shamelessly over it for so long, feel like they HAVE to like it.

 

For me, as far as Hitchcock films go, or ANY films for that matter, Vertigo is OK  I just don't think it's all that GREAT.

 

 

Sepiatone

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TomJH--Don't forget the opening credits sequence designed by Saul Bass that lets the viewer know they're entering the alternate reality of Scotties' mind and captures the feeling of vertigo.

 

Thanks for mentioning Saul Bass's title design, film lover. I think that, combined with the incredible Herrmann score, tells viewers that they are in for something different while they watch the credits unroll.

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well, to maybe re-route this sidetrack we've taken and direct it back to the main point of the original thread, yes- the print of VERTIGO is pristine, but in a way, I almost wonder if that doesn't help to bring its anachronisms into hard focus.

 

i admit, being 38 (altho i saw the film for the first time on home video in the 1980's) i am coming at this with a more modern sensibility, but there are just too many oddities with relation to the story telling for me to really rank VERTIGO above any number of other Hitchcocks- mainly the mechanics of the ending, but also the (dare i say it?) laziness of the reveals in the second part and, well, let's just say required suspension of disbelief one too many times.

 

and seeing the film in SUCH CLEAR FOCUS, it looks much like something made today, and thus i can't help but apply some hard logic and a discerning mind towards any number of things that i just don't quite find "right"- ie the reveal of the necklace is uninspired, the way Novak and Stewart reunite is a little far-fetched, the character of Midge is grating, Novak's clown make-up, and- most of all- the execution of the crime (the biggest "oh really now?" of them all.)

 

ps- also Stewart's "mod" freak-out dream-sequence/breakdown scene has not aged well.

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