Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo
Vertigo has long been one of my very favorite Hitchcock films. It had been years since I’d seen it, when I caught it again this time. The vivid memory of watching it the first time have never died though; I still count that long trek up that tower staircase as the most intense experience of suspense that I’ve ever had while watching a movie. Revisiting this one on the big screen (for the first time), I was still impressed. Hitchcock conjures up a strange, dreamlike world; the modernism of San Francisco mingles with a weird, off-kilter feeling. The film’s atmosphere is one that hasn’t really ever been achieved anywhere else in my opinion. The long silent sequences of Stewart tailing Novak are striking and eerie and Hitchcock has a perfect eye for bringing in the strange Twilight-Zoney discomfiture. A scene in a forest and then later on a rocky seashore are as perfect as they could be. And that terrific moment when we realize the truth about what really happened in that tower is still breathtaking. That strange zoom up at the tower is a moment that made my heart drop the first time I saw this film; it did it again. Hitch? Still the master.
Next time, I’m going to take a break from all these great directors and talk about my pick for the Worst Director of the year. You probably haven’t heard of this film to be honest, though it got a ton of critical love. Well, screw the critics; if you haven’t heard of this one, count yourself lucky. That’s tomorrow.