Wednesday, November 26, 2003

VERTIGO

The first Hitchcock film I ever saw, if memory serves, was Spellbound. I was very young and I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I liked the Dali part a lot but the rest of the film seemed like a normal suspense mystery type film. Being a brash young man I put Hitchcock into my over rated box.
I didn't really understand until a year or so later when I saw Casablanca. Here was a great film that wasn't great in the sense that I was used to. It wasn't great like an Orson Welles film. It was great in its simplicity. It was the perfect film in its genre. And then I understood Hitchcock enough to want to see more of his films. I saw many more of his films and the more I saw the more I marvelled at his skill. One of the old guard whose like we shall not see again.
The brilliance of Hitchcock is that he shows you, as in the aforementioned Dali sequence or the dream sequence in Vertigo, that he can be a Grand film director but that he only uses high fallutin tricks when it serves the story that he's telling. This is something we can all learn from. It's like that Noel Coward line, "A gentleman is one who can play the bagpipes and doesn't."
I'm afraid there isn't much more for me to say this time. It's a well told story that unfolds beautifully. We see what's coming not too soon but soon enough to build lots of suspense. Jimmy Stewart works in his delightfully natural style which invites everybody to identify with him. And isn't Kim Novak one of the most striking women you've ever seen? I remember her from The White Buffalo, the Charles Bronson film. She looked different in that film.
My only two criticisms are that Kim Novak has her heavily pencilled eyebrows perfect after jumping into the San Francisco Bay. And that there's a wormy girl in the usual Hollywood style, meaning she's a knockout with a pair of glasses.
Otherwise it's a perfect suspense film.

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