Vertigo [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Dreamlike and nightmarishly surreal, Vertigo is Hitchcock's most personal film because it confronts many of the convoluted psychological issues that haunted and fascinated the director. The psychological complexity and the stark truthfulness of their rampant emotions keeps these strangely obsessive characters alive on screen, and Hitchcock understood better than most their barely repressed sexual compulsions, their fascination with death and their almost overwhelming desire for transcendent love. James Stewart finds profound and disturbing new depths in his psyche as Scotty, the tortured acrophobic detective on the trail of a suicidal woman apparently possessed by the ghost of someone long dead. Kim Novak is the classical Hitchcockian blonde whose icy exterior conceals a churning, volcanic emotional core. The agonised romance of Bernard Herrmann's score accompanies the two actors as a third and vitally important character, moving the film along to its culmination in an ecstasy of Wagnerian tragedy. Of course Hitch lavished especial care on every aspect of the production, from designer Edith Head's costumes (he, like Scotty, was most insistent on the grey dress), to the specific colour scheme of each location, to the famous reverse zoom "Vertigo" effect (much imitated, never bettered). The result is Hitch's greatest work and an undisputed landmark of cinema history.
On the DVD: This disc presents the superb restored print of this film in a wonderful widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic transfer, with remastered Dolby digital soundtrack. There's a half-hour documentary made in 1996 about the painstaking two-year restoration process, plus an informative commentary from the restorers Robert Harris and James Katz, who are joined by original producer Herbert Coleman. There are also text features on the production, cast and crew, plus a trailer for the theatrical release of the restoration. This is an undeniably essential requirement for every DVD collection. --Mark Walker --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Vertigo is Alfred Hitchcock's haunting tale of deception, madness, and death, a masterful exploration of fantasy and anxiety. The film ranks with Rear Window as one of the director's most closely studied films for its psychological complexity, while the obsession of its protagonist--John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart)--can also be seen to parallel that of Hitchcock's own fascination with the icy-blonde leading lady he recreated at the center of so many of his films. Scottie Ferguson is a retired detective, his career ended by the onset of a paralyzing fear of heights. An old friend, the wealthy Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), hires Ferguson to follow his wife (Kim Novak), whom, he explains, has grown obsessed with an ancestor of hers. The assignment draws Ferguson out of his comfortable role as observer and into a complex web of intrigue, mingled with the detective's own fantasies and fears. Stewart gives an exceptional performance as the disintegrating detective, while Novak, who was left largely undirected by Hitchcock, conveys a subtle and powerful psychological journey. Another star of the film is its San Francisco setting. Vertigo is considered one of Hitchcock's finest and most complex films. --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I hesitate to even mention the plot because it is incredibly complex and should be experienced by the first-time viewer with no preconceptions and no prior knowledge of the twists and turns involved. It is a pleasure to watch a movie in which the viewer simply must participate on an intellectual level to grasp the evolution of the plot. I believe the plot is hard to figure out, which is a wonderful thing.Read more ›
James Stewart was one of those rare Hollywood stars who brought real magic to the screen. He was an everyman, he was often vulnerable and flawed. In the hands of a lesser man his character in that other Hitchcock classic Rear Window [DVD]could have been a real turn off for audiences.
I don't want to spoil this movie for anyone but Vertigo contains one of Hitchcock's rather naive, schoolboyish, plot devices. The very notion that policemen, even in the 1950's would be expected to recklessly pursue a suspect across the steep rooftops is rather absurd and as for the behaviour of the nun at the end...
Although Hitchcock has been blamed for the misconception that vertigo is the fear of heights this was not because of any misunderstanding on his part. In a key scene Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) explains to Midge Woods (Barbara Bel Geddes) that he suffers for acrophobia (fear of heights) which results in vertigo (a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when trhe sufferer is standing still) It made sense to call the film after the sympyom as this tied in with the visual representation in a visual medium. Nevertheless verigo has become synonymous with acrophobia in the public imagination because of this film.
The film is set in San Francisco and employs a lovely warm colour palette.
The film contains as you’d expect some heavy themes, in one scene our characters gather round a stump of a tree which reveals 1000 years of human history in one tree’s lifetime, human life indeed seem short and fleeting.
Kim Novak gives a brilliant performance as her character is also wrestling with her own unresolved conflicts. Dare she reveal the devastating truth about herself?
The score is delightful and really carries the movie forward, Kim Novak has no dialogue until at least three quarters of an hour has past but the music conveys as much as any words ever could.
Warm rich colours make up San Francisco, lavish details and a strong unique style help make Vertigo visually distinctive to other Hitchcok films. The grey jacket on the icy blond hair and tanned skin of Kim Novak, doesn't quite work, but that's the point, there is something not quite right about her character.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
really coole and well spent money! another hitchcock blonde and classic! basic instinct all the way! set in san franzisco!Published 2 months ago by Max Naegele
Excellent DVD, fast delivery. Bought for my dad who is suffering ill health and is confined to his armchair. He is delighted.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a very slow moving film, but lovers of Hitchcock will, of course, love itPublished 5 months ago by Francis, A