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Keith Cobby

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I like Vertigo but not quite as much as I used to. It may just be familiarity, but specifically it is the early reveal, and secondly I've slightly 'gone off' Kim Novak as an actress. James Stewart is great and the cinematography is quite wonderful (check out the 4k disc). As a pairing, I prefer Stewart and Novak in Bell, Book and Candle, a most charming film.
 

Robert Crawford

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Vertigo feels like one of those films that has gone from underrated to overrated since its re-release in 1983.
Also, high praise brings more scrutiny, especially from those that have never seen a movie until a recent viewing. Many times, that viewing brings disappointment because the movie doesn't live up to their high expectations.
 

mskaye

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Also, high praise brings more scrutiny, especially from those that have never seen a movie until a recent viewing. Many times, that viewing brings disappointment because the movie doesn't live up to their high expectations.
Not to get all intellectual here, but the reason VERTIGO is so appealing to the film cognoscenti - as opposed to the rank and file film lover - is that those major Hitchcock thematic obsessions (ones that are usually subtextual and beautifully buried beneath the surface of his suspense classics) are elevated to text. They are the plot and text in this film. The characters are barely more than symbols of these thematic obsessions. This is the most supremely stylized of his films - it explodes with color and all sorts of touches. Its a film record of a subjective experience and was obviously close to Hitch's heart. Jimmy Stewart in a great heartbreaking role, Kim Novak as really just a vision or a projection of the HItchcock uber female character, Bernard Herrmann's score, Saul Bass, etc. - this is what makes VERTIGO the force that it is in the critical and popular film world.
 
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Dave H

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Vertigo feels like one of those films that has gone from underrated to overrated since its re-release in 1983.

I've only watched it once (bought in the initial 4 film boxset) and really enjoyed it. Rear Window, on the other hand, I thought was extremely overrrated and I will probably not be revisiting it. Enjoyed The Birds and Psycho.
 

mskaye

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Not to get all intellectual here, but the reason VERTIGO is so appealing to the film cognoscenti - as opposed to the rank and file film lover - is that those major Hitchcock thematic - and personal obsessions (ones that are usually subtextual and beautifully buried beneath the surface of his suspense classics) are elevated to text. They are the plot and text in this film. The characters are barely more than symbols of these thematic obsessions. This is the most supremely stylized of his films - it explodes with color and all sorts of touches. Its a film record of a subjective experience and was obviously close to Hitch's heart. Jimmy Stewart in a great heartbreaking role, Kim Novak as really just a vision or a projection of the HItchcock uber female character, Bernard Herrmann's score, Saul Bass, etc. - this is what makes VERTIGO the force that it is in the critical and popular film world.
I wrote quickly earlier and clarified a few things. To add one brief note - Vertigo scores points for arguably being Hitchcock's most intensely personal film. He puts a vulnerable part of himself - unresolved obsessive dreams and desires - on display for everyone to see.
 

PMF

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I picked up Vertigo on BD a few years back, and after watching it, was very disappointed in wasting 2 hours of my time on such an awful film. After reading so many positive comments about film, I felt maybe I missed something the first time. I dusted it off once again this past Fall and gave it another shot. A truly unenjoyable experience. I put the BD in a pile designated for Goodwill.
And just to be clear, in my mind James Stewart is an absolute American icon of an actor…one of the very best ever.
It never bothers me to learn when someone likes or dislikes a film to which I have an opposite view. Indeed, I might be surprised, depending on the person; yet, nonetheless, films do affect us in so many different ways, so who’s to argue? Still, when I learn that someone actually dislikes Vertigo…well, I find that bit of news to be dizzying.

As for The Man Who Knew Too Much, I found the film to be perfect in its new revitalizations; both as a remake and as a restoration. It’s damned classy fun and a great suspenseful ride. I enjoyed the entire cast and easily rolled with the players given to us. As for those who felt there to ba a lack of chemistry between Stewart and Day…well, I once knew a Doctor and wife duo who were a very handsome & homogenous couple that also lacked chemistry. A nice enough pair, no doubt; but, dare I say it, their pairing was outwardly antiseptic. So, perhaps, the casting may had been spot-on in many accurate ways. All in all, IMHO, I think TMWKTM in VistaVision is a quality affair.
 
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TravisR

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Also, high praise brings more scrutiny, especially from those that have never seen a movie until a recent viewing. Many times, that viewing brings disappointment because the movie doesn't live up to their high expectations.
Yeah, when it comes to "THE CLASSICS", how can any of them ever really live up to the hype for all viewers?
 
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Robert Harris

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I believe that many of the problems that (especially) new viewers may find with films might be environmental.

These films were not designed as television programming. Rather, they were meant to be seen on huge screens in a shared situation.
 

Dennis Gallagher

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I believe that many of the problems that (especially) new viewers may find with films might be environmental.

These films were not designed as television programming. Rather, they were meant to be seen on huge screens in a shared situation.
There's a whole treatise here (and I expect it's already been written) about the perception of films being very much dependent upon how they're presented (e.g. seeing "Lawrence of Arabia" in 70mm at the Ziegfeld vs. seeing it on a 42" TV screen - or worse. I have a friend who condemns "2001" for being "slow". My response is that the "slowness" isn't a problem when the movie's seen on a huge screen where one has the time to examine each moment for its beauty. I could go on - "How the West Was Won" in Cinerama vs any other way; movies designed for 3-D vs. being seen "flat".
 

Charles Smith

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I believe that many of the problems that (especially) new viewers may find with films might be environmental.

These films were not designed as television programming. Rather, they were meant to be seen on huge screens in a shared situation.

Boy, that's for damned sure.
 

Nick*Z

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I believe that many of the problems that (especially) new viewers may find with films might be environmental.

These films were not designed as television programming. Rather, they were meant to be seen on huge screens in a shared situation.
There is little doubt about optimal presentation, and presentation as it was originally intended, augment the experience. What looked spectacular in VistaVision projected theatrically can appear less so on any home video format and screens meant for nothing larger than a revival of Friends or Yellowstone.

Films were shot quite differently than TV shows. The convergence of the two formats more recently has led to a false expectation that 'every' movie needs to 'conform' to TV standards to 'work'. Not true. Actually, not at all.

Case in point. In my youth I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on a late TV broadcast and literally fell asleep repeatedly. I mean, I just couldn't understand what the fuss was about. Then, 4 years later, I attended a screening in its native ratio at the Toronto Cinesphere...and wow! What a difference. Not just a different viewing experience, but an entirely different motion picture experience - entirely!

Since that time, I've made it a minor mission to see classic movies on a big screen whenever they're revived in and around my city. Saw Ben-Hur at the Detroit Fox and it truly was 'an experience' - something my repeated Blu-ray viewing at home can only guess at. So, yes, never having seen The Man Who Knew Too Much in its native VistaVision, perhaps my opinion about it is skewed.
 

Cineman

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There is little doubt about optimal presentation, and presentation as it was originally intended, augment the experience. What looked spectacular in VistaVision projected theatrically can appear less so on any home video format and screens meant for nothing larger than a revival of Friends or Yellowstone.

Films were shot quite differently than TV shows. The convergence of the two formats more recently has led to a false expectation that 'every' movie needs to 'conform' to TV standards to 'work'. Not true. Actually, not at all.

Case in point. In my youth I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on a late TV broadcast and literally fell asleep repeatedly. I mean, I just couldn't understand what the fuss was about. Then, 4 years later, I attended a screening in its native ratio at the Toronto Cinesphere...and wow! What a difference. Not just a different viewing experience, but an entirely different motion picture experience - entirely!

Since that time, I've made it a minor mission to see classic movies on a big screen whenever they're revived in and around my city. Saw Ben-Hur at the Detroit Fox and it truly was 'an experience' - something my repeated Blu-ray viewing at home can only guess at. So, yes, never having seen The Man Who Knew Too Much in its native VistaVision, perhaps my opinion about it is skewed.
I would add that the presentation format size and quality is one important factor in how
those films were desgned by the filmmakers and percieved by their audience while that "shared situation" factor mentioned was just as important if not more so.

In those days that experience was "shared" with strangers; people who had come into the theater with vastly different mindsets and influences on their lives just prior to buying a ticket. They were not a roomful of friends and family members who had come over for dinner or snacks, drinks and catching up with whatever, inclined to turn to one another at some point in the screening to ask how the kids are doing at school or check their phone.

I believe for this reason the filmmakers, and perhaps few if any more than Hitchcock, painted with broader strokes, underscored plot points more specifically, employed a slower burn to draw the audience into the same mindset desired well before the Big Scene or Grand Finale and so on. Elements that might appear to some today as hokey or uneventful stretches where "nothing is happening".

There was an era long after its initial release in 1956 and prior to the advent of home video technology and surely prior to the prevalence of high quality big screen and impressive sound systems in our living rooms when the only way to see The Man Who Knew Too Much in its proper format without commercial interruptions was still to join a roomful of strangers at a local revival theater where many in that audience had never seen it before.

I was an avid revival theater-goer in those days and I assure you things like Doris Day and her son in the movie singing a short version of their song in order to set up the climactic Embassy reprise of it and certainly the awareness that her singing it "too loud" at the Embassy was simply another in an endless and largely humorous instances of American Family tourists cultural and social faux pas on which practically the entire story and plot hinges was taken as fully intended by Hitchcock and his collaborators and not dismissed as a Hitchcock oversight or isolated mistake.
 
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PMF

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[…]I have a friend who condemns "2001" for being "slow". My response is that the "slowness" isn't a problem when the movie's seen on a huge screen where one has the time to examine each moment for its beauty.
A soufflé can never rise when people too used to microwave dinners are impatiently stomping up and down upon the kitchen floor.
 
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PMF

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I believe that many of the problems that (especially) new viewers may find with films might be environmental.

These films were not designed as television programming. Rather, they were meant to be seen on huge screens in a shared situation.
The quandary here is that there are not enough accessible venues, outside of most cities, to illustrate this point which is obviously correct. I believe the differences would be understood immediately by the average Joe; but how does one convince the other to hop into a car and travel 2 round-trip hours or more to witness what can already be ordered up within their own living room?
 
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Mark Mayes

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Maybe Vertigo has some misogyny that has tainted it from being the serious critic's darling it was two decades ago, but I love it.
TMWKTM has some of that too, with the expectation that Day's character relinquish her career for Stewart's, but those were the mores and I love this and this transfer too.
 
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PMF

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Maybe Vertigo has some misogyny that has tainted it from being the serious critic's darling it was two decades ago, but I love it.
TMWKTM has some of that too, with the expectation that Day's character relinquish her career for Stewart's, but those were the mores and I love this and this transfer too.
It’s hard to top a Hitchcock film. Sophistication, style, wit, intelligence, accessibility, insights into what a human being will do and not do when placed within a certain set of unforeseen circumstances; plus great cinematographers, great composers and great actors wearing great garments. Sir Alfred gave his audience everything.
 
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Kyle_D

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TMWKTM has some of that too, with the expectation that Day's character relinquish her career for Stewart's, but those were the mores and I love this and this transfer too.
This is one of the main reasons I prefer the 1934 original to the remake. The original MWKTM lacks the craft of the remake, but the gender politics have aged much better. Peter Lorre is also much more fun as a villain than any of the conspirators in the 1956.
 

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