Vertigo (1958)

Not just one of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpieces, Vertigo (1958) is one of the best movies. This psychological thriller remains as controversial and unique as when it was first released, in part due to its themes of necrophilia and romantic obsession, unresolved plot discrepancies, off-putting plot twists, as well as Kim Novak's acting job–with some saying that it detracts from the film and others saying that it adds to its aura.

Adding to Vertigo's mystique was its unavailability for 25 years, after Hitchcock removed and four other films from circulation. I was fortunate to be present at a screening in 1984, just after Universal purchased the rights from the Hitchcock estate to the “Five Missing Hitchcocks.” In fact, I first saw Vertigo in an auditorium at American University, where I was earning my bachelor's degree. Having no idea about the plot in advance, on a large screen, with several hundred other people made for ideal viewing. It also helped that I was an 18-year-old burgeoning movie buff. I was mesmerized, manipulated, and truly shocked at the infamous plot twists, especially the biggie half way through. I'm sure I gasped.

I was definitely hooked. Over the past 25 years, I've seen Vertigo repeatedly, in theaters and dens. It's one of my favorite Hitchcocks (Rear Window being the other) and favorite movies overall. I cherish each scene and moment with each viewing, never tiring of the perfection crafted by all involved in making what is arguably one of the ten finest American films.



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