Odd and memorable - yet having seen it 20+ years ago, I remembered NOTHING of the plot. Hitch repeats his thrill trick... no way you can watch this while surfing your tablet, and I bet people get too bored or put off by the bizarrely unlikely female protagonist. But it's worth it, and it all sort of makes sense. To avoid a spoilerish hint, don't look up the word: I have mild prosopagnosia which is a (dis?)advantage.
A movie that grips attention from the moment Bernhard Herrmann introduce the movie with his film score. Hitchcock and James Stewart collaborate on their final film together and their teamwork go so smooth and beautiful that it is hard not to enjoy every single frame here. Magnificently shot and every set-piece has a glorious function. It works so good that many have tried to copy it's formula ever since.
Although the characters seem sustained by their purpose and irony, it still manages to be intriguing psychological study of obsession as a mean for possessiveness or commitment. The ending now looks almost as a self-parody but everything that led to it still feels as a smooth, sophisticated and visually striking thriller - if not ahead of its time, then surely one of its frontrunners.
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.
The thematic meat of the film is the sort of stuff I live for: characters caught in their own attachments to not-quite-true images trying to recapture said images and, as a result, retroactively breaking their assumed meanings. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think it had some issues (this film has one of the shortest third acts I've ever encountered), but I think it's still pretty strong on the whole.
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.