Some say yes…
…some say no.
But, really, who’s to say?
Apparently the newest Sight and Sound poll, for one.
I think its one of the most cinematic of the canon (though 2001 is too), especially because of the music.
Proof that film criticism is dead :P
As much as I love Vertigo, its aesthetic isn’t really as great as, say, the emotional power of Tokyo Story. I haven’t seen Citizen Kane yet (shame on me, I know), but it looks like it totally beats Vertigo.
And Tokyo Story doesn’t even match the emotional power of truly high-tier Ozu, and especially not high-tier Naruse.
No, it’s not
Tokyo Story isn’t top 5 Ozu, maybe not even top ten.
I am an Ozu fan, but he mostly made soap opera type dramas, none of which would I put in my top 25 films, and I have seen 30 or 40 of his movies.
I admire Hitchcock, although sometimes I can see his ‘muguffin’ too easily.
I like North by Northwest and several other films far better than Vertigo.
Dude, don’t worry about seeing Citizen Kane. It is overrated, but amongst the films that are commonly listed, I don’t normally have a problem with it being number one. Its not as great as Ran, or Red Beard, or Andre Rublev, or a whole host of films, and its likely not Welles’ top film, but when its up against Jaws, The Godfather, Vertigo, and Tokyo Story, I don’t usually mind.
One thing that I would recommend, before you ever watch Citizen Kane, is to watch films from the late 30s and early 40s, to understand how far ahead of its time Citizen Kane was. It is a technical marvel.
Vertigo is one of the greatest films ever made. The slight of hand that turns a mystery into a character study, mostly through visuals, is as audacious as film gets. Almost as audacious as the structural daring of Kane, which also delves into character through visuals. That these two films are vying it out for the critical consensus of greatest movie is only a good thing. There are others that could be considered, but Citizen Kane and Vertigo are masterpieces in every sense of the word.
Vertigo is the most interesting of Hitch’s films, not the most ‘entertaining’ but there’s certainly a lot of there there in re: to the male gaze, obsession, voyeurism (Rear Window too, but Vertigo is a bit more ambiguous). Also, like The Searchers, it turns a familiar friendly face into an unreliable and deranged character. It also looks great, has great music, performances, etc.
It’s also a structuralist masterpiece.
It’s funny, Vertigo has all the elements of cinema I love, so I should adore it, but I feel pretty ‘meh’ about the whole thing. I don’t hold it against other people for touting it, however. It’s deserving of high regard.
Ah, Vertigo… If only our Marker were here to see this…
Now it will be….lol
The thing about it is how you just go deeper and deeper into this puzzle. Somehow it’s really all just a murder mystery (think of the ot similarities to Laura), but we see Jimmy Stewart plunge into a kind of madness, obession, intruige. I think it’s just mesemrizing. It offers a lot.
It’s definitely not the greatest song of all time. I tried to listen to this while pulling it from youtube. Couldn’t make it all the way through. We’ll just say that the movie Vertigo is much better than the song “Vertigo”.
I actually love Psycho just a tad bit more, but Vertigo is Hitchcock’s most complex film, an extended metaphor for his treatment of women. It’s a confessional masterpiece, visually stunning, marvelously acted, beautifully surreal, and features one of the greatest film scores ever composed. Vertigo is an endlessly unraveling parable of life and death, love and loss, memory and the past. It is Life Itself.
To answer the question of the thread, yes.
Recently watched Vertigo for the first time. I was underwhelmed, so naturally my answer would be a resounding “no” – though I did like the film. But really, how does one quantify the greatest film of all time? As has been discussed, it’s kind of problematic.
It’s a great film, but not even in my personal top 100, probably. But neither are any of the top ten. Not that my list is something special.
Lists are silly. It’s just too bad the ones we hear about the most contain the usual suspects so often. Anyway, nice that this one got shook up a (very) little.
I’m really more interested in the individual top ten lists. Especially the directors, its fun yo see what films are the ones that inspired them or they enjoyed the most.
Glenn Kenny, for instance, has already put his ballot out for the public to see. And, yeah, the overall list gives us a sense of consensus, but the individual lists are far more compelling. He also gives us some insight into his voting process. This type of thing should be a healthy reminder (when we start bitching about how the lists are all the same) that they really are comprised of individual taste.
Eh, I stand by my point. Not to channel Dimitris here, but too much focus on the West with a little Japan sprinkled in.
“ertigo is the most interesting of Hitch’s films, not the most ‘entertaining’ but there’s certainly a lot of there there in re: to the male gaze, obsession, voyeurism (Rear Window too, but Vertigo is a bit more ambiguous)”
yeah, it’s the only one that i can bothered analysing in depth really.
BRAD: I think that little ‘trick’ you are referring to is probably the reason the film took a while to be fully appreciated.
DUDE: Kane is mandatory viewing for cinephiles. You must get to it eventually my friend! :-)
Because, you know, choosing the best films is always about trying to equally distribute our votes to various nations.
I know that this point doesn’t stick with too many people around here, and it’s 3 AM EST, but the reason that the West and Japan are dominating lists like this is that the lists are constructed by people who are interested in film history, which is (not coincidentally) rooted in the West and Japan. As film history expands (as it inevitably will) other countries may well be included, if they produce works worthy of inclusion. I don’t have a difficult time envisioning a future in which Abbas Kiarostami (to pick a name) finds himself on one of these.
But these things take time. For a film to make its way on the Sight and Sound Poll, it has to have been around for a while, gain some staying power, prove that its not just a product of its time or something that we loved once but lost interest in later. So, Kiarostami would probably need another 30-40 years to get himself on this list.
I know, I know. Just doing my small part to push the needle.
EDIT: I mean, we’re getting all worked up about a minor change that really means little in the long run.
“I know that this point doesn’t stick with too many people around here, and it’s 3 AM EST, but the reason that the West and Japan are dominating lists like this is that the lists are constructed by people who are interested in film history, which is (not coincidentally) rooted in the West and Japan. As film history expands (as it inevitably will) other countries may well be included, if they produce works worthy of inclusion”
The other problem is availability. Take the Czech New Wave for example. With the exception of maybe a handful of films, most of which were probably directed by Milos Forman, ‘Westerners’ didn’t really have much access to them after a certain point in time, so can we seriously be blamed for ‘overlooking’ these great films? There are more great Czech films than Closely Observed Trains, Fireman’s Ball and Loves of A Blonde, that’s for sure, but i didn’t see any of them until 2-3 years ago. IT’s not that i didn’t want to exactly, its that i couldnt. Many other cinephiles were in the exact same position.
Canons evolve slowly, and that’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. The fact that movies like Uncle Boonmee are winning awards all over the place demonstrates that cinema is shifting its focus and has been over the last two decades.
“With the exception of maybe a handful of films, most of which were probably directed by Milos Forman, ‘Westerners’ didn’t really have much access to them…”
Yeah, but if I’ve seen these films, and I’m a nobody, then these serious guys should be held accountable for going with (mostly) the status quo.
House of Leaves, not one of these films would make your top 100?
02. Citizen Kane
03. Tokyo Story
04. La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
05. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
06. 2001: A Space Odyssey
07. The Searchers
08. Man with a Movie Camera
09. The Passion of Joan of Arc
01. Tokyo Story
02. 2001: A Space Odyssey
02. Citizen Kane
05. Taxi Driver
06. Apocalypse Now
07. The Godfather
10. Bicycle Thieves
For me the Glenn Kenny list is fascinating; not for the list itself, but for the fact that this is one person. Just one. Who are we to suggest that Citizen Kane or Singin’ in the Rain don’t carry deep personal meaning for him? Sure, those movies are predictable when it comes to canon, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore or distrust what an individual claims here. And since the poll is made up of individual ballots…
I, for instance, have found myself deeply affected by The Searchers (and any number of other Ford films), and I would consider it an insult to my intelligence if someone suggested that the only reason I list it in my personal top 10 is that I’m trying to toe the line.
So, I think we need to take it for granted that the people participating in these polls are being honest with us. Which means that there are a lot of people out there for whom Citizen Kane carries great weight. But as we move forward (away from the generation that rediscovered it in the mid-50s), we’ll probably see it carrying less and less prominence.
Maybe 6, 9, and 10, but I admit I haven’t seen them all. Those lists are really hard to do.
EDIT: Like I said, lists are silly things.