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Vertigo (Special Edition) (1958)

Cast: James Stewart, James Stewart, Kim Novak, more...
Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock
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Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Classics, Drama, Suspense/Thriller, Classic Drama, Film Noir, Vintage Noir, Classic Drama, Classic Crime, Crime
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Dismissed when first released, later heralded as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finest films (and, according to Hitchcock, his most personal one), this adaptation of the French novel D'entre les morts weaves an intricate web of obsession and deceit. It opens as Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) realizes he has vertigo, a condition resulting in a fear of heights, when a police officer is killed trying to rescue him from falling off a building. Scottie then retires from his position as a private investigator, only to be lured into another case by his old college friend, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore). Elster's wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), has been possessed by a spirit, and Elster wants Scottie to follow her. He hesitantly agrees, and thus begins the film's wordless montage as Scottie follows the beautiful yet enigmatic Madeleine through 1950s San Francisco (accompanied by Bernard Herrmann's hypnotic score). After saving her from suicide, Scottie begins to fall in love with her, and she appears to feel the same way. Here tragedy strikes, and each twist in the movie's second half changes our preconceptions about the characters and events. In 1996 a new print of Vertigo was released, restoring the original grandeur of the colors and the San Francisco backdrop, as well as digitally enhancing the soundtrack. ~ Dylan Wilcox, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Says: There are a ton of great (and some not so great) films set in San Francisco, but inarguably one of the greatest is Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, likely the master director's most debated and analyzed film. Featuring one of Jimmy Stewart's finest - and most anguished - performances (the way he says "you were a very apt pupil" still creeps us out), the film is one mystery wrapped inside another, a brilliant study of obsession. And, as if that weren't enough, it's a fabulous glimpse at 1950s San Francisco, from the Palace of the Legion of Honor to Nob Hill, Mission to Dolores to (famously) Fort Point at the Golden Gate Bridge. The film demands multiple viewings and will stay with you forever.

The film enjoyed a major print restoration several years back and the DVD features commentary by the restoration team (Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz), with other Vertigo chiming in as well: co-Screenwriter Samuel Taylor, Kim Novak, Patricia Hitchcock, Peggy Robertson, Henry Bumstead, Herbert Steinberg and Bernard Herrmann's biographer Steven Smith.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Vertigo (Special Edition) (1958)
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8.14 (1418 votes)
Vertigo (Special Edition) (Bonus Disc) (1958)
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5.75 (4 votes)

Crash Course in Classic American Film (30s - 70s)
This list is from's article about Paramont Theatre's Summer Classic Film series. I thought their list and brief descriptions were pretty good so I put it up for all to enjoy. (Of course there isn't room for all the classics on one list.)
Village Voice's 100 Best Films of the 20th Century
When the Village Voice held its "First Annual Film Critics' Poll" they asked 50 or so film critics (like Molly Haskell, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Andrew Sarris) to rank their top ten best films of the century. This is the result.

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