Vertigo (PG) - 1958 - Runtime: 128 minutes
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
I'm quickly becoming a fan of Hitchcock. I didn't know how I'd take to this director, having only seen Psycho, but I've quickly grown fond of his directing style and the way he handles mystery. The man has four movies in AFI's top 100 and he's possibly the most iconic and revered filmmaker of all time, so dude knows how to make a movie. Okay, enough love, let's get to the movie, which is by far the most intriguing and best Hitchcock movie I've seen so far!
James Stewart plays John Ferguson a former detective inflicted with vertigo (ahh doy!) after attempting to chase a suspect across San Francisco's rooftops and almost falling to his death. There's a neato visual trick that Hitchcock employs to give this sense of vertigo - it's pretty cool and totally gives me the creeps. It must have been cool to watch on the big screen!
Sidebar! Sometimes I do wish I had been around to see movies on the big screen for the first time. Like Star Wars, or hell any of those big blockbuster movies prior to the early nineties. Even older stuff like this movie or Wizard of Oz. I hope that the theater going experience never changes - I love everything about it! The best part of watching a movie in the theater? That feeling you get after the previews have finished and you finally remember that, oh yeah! The movie! Hell yeah! It's a good feeling and even though movie trailers are like crack to me, I love when they end and I settle into my seat for an experience. Oh god. I just re-read this little rant and can't believe how cornball cheesy it is! Jesus, I sound like an gibbering fanboy who probably cuts out photos of his favorite movie stars and draws himself into the picture. I just hope Maggie doesn't find out about my secret storage closet where I live out my movie fantasies with the stars!
Back to the movie! So Ferguson gets a request to tail his friend's wife - to see if she's gone off the nutter, not for infidelity. Pretty strange, right? Well, this is only the beginning and soon Ferguson starts to fall for this bird (who is a completely enigmatic beauty, if that makes sense to anyone) and finds himself completely drawn into her world. But things escalate and her insanity gets the best of her (she thinks she's a reincarnation of some Spanish mistress! Not that there's anything particularly wrong with that, it's just that this Spanish mistress has suicidal tendencies) and Ferguson can't help her when he's needed the most. Things get weirder from there, but I don't want to spoil it!
It's a great story and there's a great twist, but there's so much that's good in this movie I don't know where to begin! James Stewart gives a truly terrific performance and so does Kim Novak. Ferguson is obsessed with this woman and it shows. I guess I really can't explain too much without delving into the story - but that's what makes it so good! There's a mystery to unravel and Hitchcock works his magic to keep you questioning what really is happening. But I wouldn't say that this is best part of the movie. The tone and atmosphere and cinematography are all so excellent. I loved every frame and shot - it's a compelling mystery that you also become obsessed with watching.
I can see why Hitchcock is so popular - I would love to visit some of his other, lesser known movies. He's great and I definitely recommend this for repeat viewings!
Rating: Own It!