Vertigo: Not Hitchcock’s Best

I would have to argue that Vertigo wasn’t the best of Hitchcock’s films in my opinion, and I am frankly quite surprised that it received the ranking of No.1 on the list of “50 Greatest Films of All TIme” according to The British Film Institute.  The storyline moved along with a great deal of deliberation, but also with some tediousness. Dr. Johann Schmidt of the University of Hamburg believes that this grindingly slow pace actually gives the viewer time to contemplate the situation and increases the suspense. I don’t know if I could necessarily agree with that. It may also be that audiences today have already been conditioned to expect a faster tempo with both plot and development. However, from a visual standpoint, there are some beautifully shot scenes in the film, especially the one in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

In one of the earlier reviews, Penelope Houston said that, “One is agreeably used to Hitchcock repeating his effects, but this time he is repeating himself in slow motion.” I do agree with that. All the usual Hitchcock motifs and themes are there; they’re just dragged out in the film.

If I were asked to select another Hitchcock film for the top spot, I very well might choose Rear Window. The storyline pace is comfortable and fluid. The are no tedious moments, and the film has so many facets – humor, style, suspense, human emotion, and pathos. In addition, it manages to keep the viewer’s interest despite the fact that it basically takes place in one set location with a kaleidoscope of characters and activities while the main plot is steadily moving along. In my opinion, Rear Window would have made a better selection for the top honors.

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