Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Capsule Review: Vertigo (1958)

A financial failure upon its release, Vertigo's reputation has slowly grown over the decades until it's now considered one of Hitchcock's very best - if not THE best. It's certainly one of his most psychologically fascinating, as a retired police officer suffering from acrophobia (Jimmy Stewart) is hired to follow the wife (played by Kim Novak) of a wealthy old friend, who the friend suspects has been possessed by the suicidal spirit of her ancestor. Of course there's Hitchcock's usual obsessions, but everyone is working at the top of their game here - from Saul Bass' incredible opening title sequence to Bernard Herrmann's unforgettable score. Much was made of the age different between Novak and Stewart in the film, but Stewart actually gives one of his best performances as a man tortured by memory and his own weakness.