Vertigo

The Top 63 Marathon, part 24

Data
Title: Vertigo
Year: 1958
Length: 129 minutes
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Alec Coppel & Samuel A. Taylor, based on a novel by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Distinctions: Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Sound; currently #42 on the IMDb’s top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: a retired cop is hired to follow a woman whose husband claims she’s possessed
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Good.
Story: Good. (but see below)
Characters: Good. Bonus points for Midge.
Dialog: Great.
Pacing: Good.
Cinematography: Great.
Special effects/design: Good. The design is great. The special effects are pretty sad.
Acting: Good. Jimmy’s got a hard character to sell, and I’m not sold.
Music: Great.
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good). It’s kind of two different movies, one after the other. About two thirds of the way through the film, the first story comes to a climax, things twist around, and a new story starts in a different direction. I guess this is kind of the point, and I would be okay with that if it weren’t for the unfortunate fact that the second story isn’t as interesting as the first one.  The first part is great – suspenseful, fairly unique, and unmistakably 1958.  The second part is still good, but once the suspense breaks, it never comes back at full Hitchcock force.
Objective Rating: 3.3/4 (Very good).

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