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Vertigo (re 2012)
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Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Recently voted the greatest film of all time, VERTIGO met with a mix of muted praise and outright bemusement upon release.
It largely has critics to thank for its rehabilitation (François Truffaut, Robin Wood, Tania Modleski) but, like all of Hitchcock's work, is far from being a merely cerebral pleasure.
A typically idiosyncratic take on film noir (it takes place almost entirely in bright, Technicolor daylight), it skilfully manipulates us into seeing the world through the eyes of reliable ex-cop Scottie (Stewart) as he pursues the apparently possessed Madeleine (Novak), then steadily unravels everything we thought we knew.
With much to say about voyeurism and spectatorship, this multi-layered portrait of obsession – part thriller, part ghost story, part Freudian nightmare – is also a haunting visual treat, its famous 'zoom dolly' shot (borrowed by Spielberg in JAWS) the climax to one of the most gripping opening sequences in cinema.