The New Number One Film: Vertigo

In the fall of 2012 The British Institute of Film rightly voted Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo to its number one spot within the Greats 50 films of all time, knocking Citizen Kane down to the number two slot after 50 years of reigning at number one.  Ranking films based on their “greatness” is a highly subjective matter, however, it is evident that Hitchcock’s Vertigo surely belongs to such a list based on its novel camera tracking shots, shocking story and ability to stand the test of time.  Vertigo compiles many cinematic and stylistic features which make it appealing to all types of audiences and film critics alike. These features include a melodramatic romantic plot but also a thrilling detective story sure to please any movie goer, however, it is the stylistic camera shots which truly define both these differentiating styles that perhaps make this film so captivating and influential. The whirling romance of the film is tangibly felt through passionate kisses, a mist, spinning cameras, and montage overlays. The decorative noir essence is portrayed through the suspense of following Madeline within Scottie’s point of view. The audience stylistically follows Madeline through Scottie’s car and into the beautiful city landscape of San Francisco.

Vertigo rightfully deserves its new number one standing as it is both stylistically classic and thrillingly entertaining. Vertigo is an influential film within the film industry. Its iconic staircase tracking shots, cityscape panoramas, and spinning camera kiss scenes will be studied and influential in the making of further films.

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One thought on “The New Number One Film: Vertigo

  1. hhautz

    I agree with your views on the film Vertigo, especially about the amazing camera work in the film. I agree that the plot is very interesting and suspenseful for audiences and that the different camera shots were essential in the success of this film. The different tracking shots, the rotating kiss scenes, and of course the shots of San Francisco help to make this film great and attribute to the greatness of Hitchcock as a director. However, I personally do not believe that this film can stand the test of time. I believe the camera work, the plot, and of course the romance all make this film spectacular, however the meaning behind it is hard for newer/younger audiences to comprehend. I believe for a film to be number one on the greatest films of all time list is has to have meaning for not just people in the time it was made, but for newer audiences as well. So, personally, I think Citizen Kane should be number one, but for all the perfectly sound reasons you have given in the post, Vertigo should definitely be number two.

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