AFI #9 – Vertigo

 

Hey, kids! Remember how I mentioned that I would be participating in a podcast with a friend from college? Well… I’m pretty sure I mentioned it at one point. Anyway, Chris emailed last night to let me know the podcast is up and running so head over to Everyday Exiles and check out the episode where we begin discussing the AFI 100, starting with Yankee Doodle Dandy and Toy Story. While you’re there, check out episode 1, too. Chris and Ryan talk about the best movies of the year and what’s to come.

Vertigo - Poster

Vertigo

1958

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Netflix says… One of Alfred Hitchcock’s darkest and most compelling suspense films tells the story of police detective Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart), who has a crippling fear of heights–and an all-consuming obsession with a married woman. When an old friend asks him to tail his wife (Kim Novak), Scottie is drawn into a vortex of deceit and murder. But that’s only the beginning as a mesmerizing score draws Scottie to the film’s haunting final shot.

Now that is one intriguing description. I’ve liked every Hitchcock movie I’ve seen. Yet, I can only say that I could count all the Hitchcock movies I’ve seen on one hand. This is one of the ones I haven’t seen before.

Even before seeing it, there’s a lot going for it. First, it’s Hitchcock. Second, James Stewart is the lead. Okay, that’s just two things, really. But those two things are definitely enough to pull me in.

Hitchcock sure had a type, didn’t he? Did he ever make a movie where the leading lady wasn’t a blonde? I’m genuinely asking. Here’s what I’ve seen: The Birds (Tippi Hedren); Psycho (Janet Leigh); North by Northwest (Eva Marie Saint); Rear Window (Grace Kelly); here it’s Kim Novak… all blondes. Sure, that leaves a lot of his films I’ve never seen. I’m sure he could’ve sprinkled in a brunette or a redhead here and there.

For a detective who’s supposed to be tailing some guy’s wife, James Stewart’s character is not very stealthy. When Scottie starts following the blonde around, it’s as if he’s not taking too many precautions to not get caught creeping.

I feel like, most of the time, these AFI movies have been around long enough that nothing about them surprises me. As if, at one point or another, spoilers have seeped in and made it so I’m not shocked at all. I can’t say that about Vertigo. I literally knew nothing about it before watching it. And I’m glad. Because I honestly did not see that coming.

I won’t tell you what that is. If you’re not already aware of what I’m talking about, then you need to watch the movie. It’s so rare that I’m taken aback by movies anymore. Especially if they’re this old. It’s refreshing. Seriously, though… the last 30-45 minutes… my mouth was pretty much agape the whole time.

If you get the chance to watch this one, do it. Personally, it still doesn’t top Rear Window as my favorite Hitchcock. But it is very well done.

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