A surreal thriller from the Master of Suspense. Set in San Francisco, an acrophobic detective rescues a mysterious blonde from the bay and must unravel the secrets of the past to find the key to his future. The pair become trapped in a dizzying web of mistaken identity, passion and murder.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
1958 San Francisco in Technicolor. I don't even care about the story. The images get 5 stars. 2012 digital restoration looks fabulous on the big screen; I m really glad I saw it that way (I had never seen it before today)!
I saw this at a late special showing in Lisbon. It's visually stunning and filled with troubled individuals. The first hour is a bit slow but when you reach the one hour mark, the plot takes off and makes you think about everything you saw before. And when I mean everything, I really mean it. Even a simple pair of shoes. The zoom out/track in shots are outstanding considering the technology back then.
Hitchcock's genius was that he has created THE Lacanian psychoanalytic film in Vertigo that succinctly demonstrated 'objet petit a' and the death drive without possibly having read Lacan. What's most intriguing though was the fact that Hitchcock's Psycho, released AFTER Vertigo, was strictly Freudian.
When Vertigo lacks tension, the emotion is flat. The fine dialogue throughout is in a tug-o-war with its early scenes of elongated, expository cornball romance. It does become more masterful and meaningful after the first twist, and thus, the talky and static melodrama is thematically earned in accordance to the story (by feeling dreamlike.) The final 35 minutes is superb, yet before the revelation the film is weak.
Grows each time you see it—over the years my rating has crept from a 3 to a 5. An atmospheric dream about the gulf between men and women, the burden movies place on actresses, and cinema's complicity in giving an outlet for dark fantasies. ("If I let you change me, will you love me?"). Cheers to the Castro Theater for a great presentation. SF does Vertigo right; something of the film is in the air in this city.
A good movie, but not great. The ultimate Rorschach test for movie critics. "The hair which was previously white and represented snow and purity is now red, and perversely represents blood, passion, and the rose on my lapel. How did the rose get there? I don't know. I don't do my own laundry. I have a maid that comes every Thursday. Her name is Judy Barton. Coincidence? I don't think so."
I HATE the cult behind Hitchcock. The man has directed many great films but also a lot of overrated misfires (Psycho, Rope, The Birds, Shadow of a Doubt) that are almost disgustingly worshipped. However, this film is deserving of it's praise. Everything comes together here (Structure, Performance, Direction, Music, Theme) to form something that is both simple and ludicrous enough to be classified as sheer madness.
Doubtless a masterpiece. But I was dissapointed how the beautiful, amibiguous storyline given in its first half - arguably Hitchcock's most beautiful piece of poetry - gets finally crushed by the all too square gumshoe logic of its second half. That's both the blessing and curse of the movie. It's a fascinating dialectic though.