Friday, 25 October 2013

Vertigo (1958)

I wish I could LOVE Vertigo.

I've tried, God knows I've tried. Today was another example. I cannot fault its clever storyline, its twists, its almost noirish setting, its beautiful faultless acting -  with Stewart and Novak two absolute gleaming, shining stars - the assured direction from the one and only Hitch, the tight script and that music score from Herrmann. Oh God that score.

And yet, still nothing. 

Everything about Vertigo is in place for greatness. But I still feel empty towards it and I can't put my finger on it. It makes the Sight and Sound claims that it is the greatest movie ever made all the more baffling and frustrating. And let's be clear, I've never gone into Vertigo with that expectation, I first watched it long before that albatross was placed around its neck - back when the only reference I could recall, apart from many a quote in books about cinema, was the fact that Bob Mortimer's Jeff Randall had a poster of it on his kitchen wall in Randall and Hopkirk Deceased.

I can't imagine what anyone who feels like I do about it would make of Sight and Sound if they sought Vertigo out solely because of their recommendation.

But anyway, back to me - 

Appreciation? Yes. 

Love? Not so much.

In fact I think its the music that really makes this one for me; possibly the finest of Herrmann's score, it is utterly exquisite and just right for the action on screen. That moment with Novak standing by the sea, the Golden Gate Bridge glimpsed beyond and Stewart watching, spying from the sidelines is the supreme example of a film composer lulling you into a false sense of security. It's the perfect match for cinema's most darkly mischievous director. They each pull the rug from under you, and I love it.

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