What makes people put Vertigo at the top of Hitch lists?

TheoGB

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
1,744
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I'm quite interested to know why so many people put Vertigo in the top 10 of their films in the Polls area.

(Sorry - pressed enter in the wrong place).
I wouldn't have said it was Hitchcock's best, good though it is. What is that other people reckon makes it better than, say Pyscho or North by Northwest?
Cheers
Theo
[Edited last by TheoGB on October 02, 2001 at 07:11 AM]
 

Gary Tooze

Producer
Joined
Jul 3, 2000
Messages
3,055
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Hi Theo,
I enjoy Vertigo much more then Psycho or NbNW... Vertigo has a haunting quality about it that is hard to put into words... it could be the Bernard Herrmann score melded perfectly with the suspenseful Robert Burks cinematography... I don't know if I'll be able to describe it... much interpretive psychological thoughts going on when viewing the constantly scrutinizing Scottie... a man obsessed.... it's pretty perfect in my eyes...
------------------
[email protected]
DVD COLLECTION CONTEST , My DVD Collection ,My Home Theatre
DVDBeaver's 15 Member choices of the TOP 111 DVDs available today!
 

Robert Crawford

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
47,571
Reaction score
23,652
Points
9,110
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
Theo,
Don't worry, not everyone feels that "Vertigo" is his best film. I prefer "Psycho" over "Vertigo".
Crawdaddy
------------------
Peter Staddon: "I didn't say you can put 'Monkeybone' back!"
 

Paul_D

Cinematographer
Joined
Jul 28, 2001
Messages
2,048
Reaction score
0
Points
110
I personnally rank Vertigo as (along with Rebecca) Hitchcock'sbest film. I wouldn't be able to precisely put my finger on why though. It's a combination of things - the score, the casting, the exquisite performances, the incredibly haunting script, the beautiful locations, and (above all) the atmosphere and plot make it a perfect film.
The 'man obsessed' plot is just so cinematic, and its handled with precision and even an obsession for perfection by Hitchcock here.
He establishes some of his most memorable, arresting imagery, and the cinematography is easily the best I have ever seen. Visually, my favourite film. Heck, even the poster's amazing!
Also, not that this has any bearing on members personnal feelings towards the film, but it was widely acknowledged that Vertigo was Hitchcock's favourite of his own films!
[Edited last by Paul Dalmaine on October 02, 2001 at 09:55 AM]
 

Rich Malloy

Producer
Joined
Apr 9, 2000
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
0
Points
0
My favorite Hitchcock film, at any given time, depends largely on my mood... but, generally speaking, my favorites are Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho, and Rebecca.
But Vertigo tends to stand somewhat taller than the rest in my estimation. It's the premier example of all the "obsessive Id" Hitchcock thrillers, and certainly the most tragic. And, of all the Hitchcock films, it's the most emotionally complex, and the one with the least conventional, and in many ways least likeable protagonist. It contains the most fetishized imagery of any Hitchcock film (with the possible exception of Marnie), and it is, by far, his most hypnotic work. It boasts, arguably, Jimmy Stewart's greatest performance, Saul Bass' most exquisite titles, and Bernard Herrmann's finest score. All of these elements, together, form nothing short of a masterpiece. Indeed, a masterpiece of masterpieces.
And, in Ebert's estimation, it includes the greatest scene in any Hitchcock film (SPOILERS!):
All of these emotional threads come together in the greatest single shot in all of Hitchcock. Scottie, a former San Francisco police detective hired by Gavin to follow "Madeleine," has become obsessed with her. Then it appears Madeleine has died. By chance, Scottie encounters Judy, who looks uncannily like Madeleine, but appears to be a more carnal, less polished version. Of course he does not realize she is exactly the same woman. He asks her out and Judy unwisely accepts. During their strange, stilted courtship, she begins to pity and care for him, so that when he asks her to remake herself into Madeleine, she agrees, playing the same role the second time.
The great scene takes place in a hotel room, lit by a neon sign. Judy has arrived, not looking enough like Madeleine to satisfy Scottie, who wants her in the *same* dress, with the *same* hair. His eyes burn with zealous fixation. Judy realizes that Scottie is indifferent to her as a person and sees her as an object. Because she loves him, she accepts this. She locks herself into the bathroom, does the makeover, opens the door and walks toward Scottie out of a haunting green fog that is apparently explained by the neon sign, but is in fact a dreamlike effect.
As Hitchcock cuts back and forth between Novak's face (showing such pain, such sorrow, such a will to please) and Stewart's (in a rapture of lust and gratified control), we feel hearts being torn apart: They are both slaves of an image fabricated by a man who is not even in the room -- Gavin, who created "Madeleine" as a device to allow himself to get away with the murder of his wife.
As Scottie embraces "Madeleine," even the background changes to reflect his subjective memories instead of the real room he's in. Bernard Herrmann's score creates a haunting, unsettled yearning. And the camera circles them hopelessly, like the pinwheel images in Scottie's nightmares, until the shot is about the dizzying futility of our human desires, the impossibility of forcing life to make us happy. This shot, in its psychological, artistic and technical complexity, may be the one time in his entire career that Alfred Hitchcock completely revealed himself, in all of his passion and sadness.
Just as North by Northwest is arguably the premier example of Hitch's "wrong man" thrillers, Vertigo is his greatest ode to doomed love, obsession, and ultimately to tragedy.
------------------
"Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere."

Al's DVD Collection
Al's Criterion Collection
 

Rain

Producer
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
5,015
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Real Name
Rain
Well, Vertigo is my favourite Hitchcock film as well, for many of the same reasons that have already been discussed in detail. There is just something about it that makes it completely unique...I've watched it several times and every time I see it something new occurs to me. If you'll pardon the expression, it just fucks with your head...and I love that!
Not to mention that I would concur that it is easily one of Stewart's best performances...not to mention Kim Novak.
------------------

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon
Anyone in the Vancouver Canada area interested in a meet? Click here
MOVING ON DOES NOT MEAN FORGETTING.
 

TheLongshot

Producer
Joined
May 12, 2000
Messages
4,118
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Real Name
Jason
I think it is one of his best films. It is hard to pick one as his best, since he has done so many great films. I personally put "Rear Window", NXNW and "Vertigo" on the same level of greatness.
Jason
------------------
My DVD Collection
 

george kaplan

Executive Producer
Joined
Mar 14, 2001
Messages
13,063
Reaction score
2
Points
0
My order of preference is:
Rear Window
North By Northwest
Vertigo
Psycho
The 39 Steps
The Lady Vanishes
Strangers on a Train
Rebecca
etc., etc.
------------------
13-time NBA world champion Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001
 

Eric Peterson

Cinematographer
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
2,959
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Real Name
Eric Peterson
Isn't George Kaplan, Cary Grant's character's name in NxNW? Just curious.
Vertigo is definitely one my favorite Hitch movies, but my preference order changes. Vertigo has an intangible quality that gives it a much higher ranking. For pure entertainment, I wouldn't rate Vertigo at the top.
My Faves,
1. Rear Window
2. Vertigo
3. Shadow of a Doubt
4. Strangers on a Train
5. The Trouble w/ Harry
6. Rebecca
 

Mark Pfeiffer

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 27, 1999
Messages
1,339
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I think everyone else has pretty well pegged it. To me, Vertigo is astonishing to watch time after time. Not that Hitch's films haven't aged well, but Vertigo seems to be more timeless, if not more modern in its construction and audacity. If memory serves, the film was not thought of too highly upon its release but has become acknowledged through the years as a masterpiece.
 

Ken_McAlinden

Producer
Reviewer
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
Messages
6,206
Reaction score
101
Points
9,110
Age
51
Location
Livonia, MI USA
Real Name
Kenneth McAlinden
I think Vertigo is highly regarded by many critics because it is perceived to be his most personally revealing film. This lines up well with the auteur concept that has dominated film criticism over the last few decades. For some reason, his adult fascination with "the cool blonde" is considered a more personal revelation than his fear of the police and Catholic guilt which inform many of his works and, according to Hitchcock, were rooted in his childhood. My personal favorite Hitchcock film is Strangers on a Train, which I think is the best embodiment of the latter two themes. Oh yeah, and it is technically well made, has a great villain, and a real corker of a plot. I guess those things matter, too.

Regards,
------------------
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA
[Edited last by Ken_McAlinden on October 03, 2001 at 08:53 AM]
 

Rain

Producer
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
5,015
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Real Name
Rain
Isn't George Kaplan, Cary Grant's character's name in NxNW?
No. Grant's character's name is Roger Thornhill, but he is mistaken for a man named George Kaplan, Spoiler:even though there is really no such person as Kaplan.
------------------

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon
Anyone in the Vancouver Canada area interested in a meet? Click here
MOVING ON DOES NOT MEAN FORGETTING.
 

george kaplan

Executive Producer
Joined
Mar 14, 2001
Messages
13,063
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Spoiler:Hey, what am I, chopped liver???

------------------
13-time NBA world champion Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001
 

Edwin Pereyra

Producer
Joined
Oct 26, 1998
Messages
3,500
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Here's how I would rate the Hitchcock films at the moment:
1. North By Northwest (1959)
2. Vertigo (1958) & Psycho (1960)
3. Marnie (1964)
4. Rear Window (1954)
5. Strangers On A Train (1951)
6. Rebecca (1940) & Spellbound (1945)
7. 39 Steps, The (1935)
8. Notorious (1946)
9. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
10. The Birds (1963)
11. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
12. The Trouble With Harry (1955)
13. Frenzy (1972) – a lot of the violence was out of place.
~Edwin
------------------
http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/005780.html#8 http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006466.html
 

Justin Doring

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 9, 1999
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Vertigo is at the top of my Hitchcock list because it's his best film! (How's that for running around in circles?)
I'd put Vertigo as one of the five best films ever made. While virtually every film Hitchcock made was brilliant in so many ways, Vertigo gets pride of place. Yes, it technically ranks among Hitchcock's best-executed films, (that sounds trite and banal, but I don't mean it to be), but there is an additonal magical quality to Vertigo that Hitchcock's other films merely suggest. (Incidentally, it was his personal favorite, and the most deeply psychological of all his films). I think this hypnotizing quality has to do with the themes the film deals with and the way Hitchcock goes about presenting them. Jimmy Stewart was a perfect choice, and without Herrmann's perfect (and I don't use that word lightly) score, I think much of the impact of the film might have been lost.
Everybody who has (is cursed by?) self-awareness and an awareness of humanity can definately identify with Vertigo; it never fails to put me into a cathartic trance of clarity, emotion, and magic.
------------------
"Home is where the theater is!"
[Edited last by Justin Doring on October 04, 2001 at 12:28 AM]
 
Joined
Sep 30, 1999
Messages
4,762
Reaction score
13
Points
0
Wasn't there a poill of film directors and critics recently which put Psycho above Vertigo?
Personally I prefer Vertigo to Hitch's other work by a considerable distance, because, as a lot of other people have already said, it has a haunting quality which stays with you long after you've seen the film. Needless to say, it's important to see the restored version of the movie - the first time I saw it in the unrestored version, it didn't have the same impact.
However, I can see why Psycho is a better movie. I think the trouble with Psycho is that it was a victim of its own success. My parents saw the film when it was first released and say that you cannot imagine the impact it had at the time - it was *very* scary and the ending was utterly unexpected. However, as soon as Psycho came out, every innovative feature was copied in inferior horror movies, and if you look at the film now, it's hard not to see it as cliched, because you'll have seen everything in it in other, inferior, later movies.
 

Steve Christou

Long Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2000
Messages
16,218
Reaction score
545
Points
9,110
Location
Manchester, England
Real Name
Steve Christou
Vertigo is one of Hitch's greatest movies, but not THE greatest IMHO.
I would put Rear Window, North by Northwest and Psycho above Vertigo, in order of preference, but each of these films would get a solid 10 out of 10 in my book, hell many of Hitch's movies deserve a full 10 rating, more than any other director I would say. But I'm biased, he is in my opinion the greatest director in movie history.
 

Evan Case

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 22, 2000
Messages
1,113
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I was always under the impression that Shadow of a Doubt was Hitch's personal favorite.
Anyway, I've always been partial to Rear Window myself. Beyond its superior entertainment, suspense and character interaction, I think RW is as technically dazzling as Vertigo. Gotta love how we're placed in Jeff's situation; essentially immobile (I know Hitch did single-location films before, but neither Rope nor Lifeboat even approach RW's non-technical qualities), reduced (obsessively, perhaps) to voyeurism for amusement.
It's not only Vertigo that lends itself to high-falutent psychological analysis. RW, for example, can be examined with the Lacanian ideas of eye and the gaze in mind. See Slavoj Zizek's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock) for more detail. An interesting read, even if you don't always agree with the uberclose, interpretive readings.
Vertigo is still an amazing piece of work, though, like Steve, I place it fourth behind RW, NxNW, and Psycho. It's got Herrmann's best score and is probably the best-photographed Hitchcock film. My only real complaint stems from some first-half pacing issues (IMO, of course). A bit too languid at times, even for such a hypnotic film. No big deal, though. Still an easy 4/4 rating from me.
Evan
------------------
"* * * * * * * * * * * * *" - Buster Keaton
S&S: 16 films left
Most recent: Paisan
[Edited last by Evan Case on October 04, 2001 at 11:10 AM]
 
Joined
Sep 30, 1999
Messages
4,762
Reaction score
13
Points
0
Evan, I'm very happy to be corrected on this, but I think 'Shadow of a Doubt' was Hitch's favourite amongst his *early* films. However, having said that, it's an excellent movie and IMHO can be mentioned in the same breath as Vertigo, NxNW et al.
I'm not knocking anyone's taste, but I find it curious how many people like Rear Window. I think in 'technical' terms it's on a par with Vertigo, but I've always personally found the plot lacks tension.
 

TheoGB

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
1,744
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Favourite directors...Every time I think I've found one another seems to pop out of the woodwork to challenge me. *sigh*
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
343,694
Messages
4,687,140
Members
140,997
Latest member
Mathew00120