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Vertigo

USA 1958. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. 128 min. DCP

Hitchcock’s dreamlike chef d’oeuvre, adapted from a 1954 crime novel by the French writing duo Boileau-Narcejac, is the current reigning “best film of all time” — at least according to prominent film journal Sight & Sound’s most recent (2012) decennial poll of international critics! Scottie (James Stewart), a former San Francisco policeman suffering from vertigo, is sucked into a vortex of romantic obsession after he is hired to tail blonde, coolly beautiful Madeleine (Kim Novak), wife of an old pal. Many unhappy months later, Scottie meets a Madeleine look-alike, and obsessively, shamelessly attempts to make her over in Madeleine’s image. The director’s own unhappy obsessions with his cool-blonde leading ladies are well documented; this perverse, poetic, moodily muted psychological thriller, with its stunningly cynical view of male-female relations, is Hitchcock’s most nakedly honest film.


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REVIEWS

"Hitchcock’s supreme and most mysterious piece (as cinema and as an emblem of the art). Paranoia and obsession have never looked better."

Sight & Sound | full review

"Hitchcock’s masterpiece [is] still spinning its dizzying magic ... A treat to see this back on the big screen."

The Guardian | full review