Vertigo is a 1958 American crime film. It is a romantic story of obsession, manipulation, fear, suspense and mystery all wrapped around twisted human psychology. The versatility and genre befuddled audiences of 1958. “Dolly zoom,” zooming a zoom lens to adjust the angle of the view toward or away from the subject created a continuous perspective of distortion. It was a technique used to increase the drama in a scene.
Hitchcock actually pulled Vertigo out of circulation in 1973. It wasn’t until 1980 that audiences saw it again and grew to appreciate it more. A digital restoration of the film in 1996 further returned it to its original glory.
The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California and Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Scottie’s apartment is one block downhill from the “crookedest street in the world”. The Mission San Juan Bastista is a real place. Madelaine jumps into the sea at Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The views of San Francisco and surrounding area are beautiful. The step back in time with the classic automobiles of the 1950’s is dramatic.
In 1989 Vertigo was recognized as a “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” film by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in the first year of the registry voting. As of 2016, on Rotten Tomatoes the film has a “certified fresh” rating of 97%.
What better place to watch this film, considered to be one of Hitchcock’s best, if not THE best, than the big screen at the Waukesha Civic Theatre?
Take a look for yourself and decide whether or not Vertigo is the greatest Hitchcock film of all time. Don’t leave yourself hanging in suspense (like poor Scottie).
Also, don’t forget, Hitchcock appears somewhere in all of his films. Will you spot him?