On Vertigo (1958)
This week, the BFI’s Sight and Sound poll awarded Vertigo (1958) the title of best film ever made. I just wanted to put my thoughts out there on this.
Vertigo (1958) is probably Hitchcock’s most personal film. The film is about deep-seated obsession, the art of voyeurism and the danger of unrequited love. We gather that Hitchcock battled these emotions all his life.
James Stewart and Kim Novak are convincing in their leads, but Hitchcock fails to ignite any empathy from the viewer for our film’s protagonists. In essence, Vertigo (1958) is a ‘cold’, slow-paced movie which is most interesting for its technical achievements (the so-called ‘dolly’ zoom for example) and some daring cinematography.
Compared to Hitchcock’s other masterpieces, Vertigo (1958) fares a little poorly. It lacks the athletic dynamism of North by Northwest (1959); the sordid atmosphere of Psycho (1960) and the ornate set-pieces of Strangers on a Train (1951). All in all, the great director’s most private film is also one of his least-entertaining….