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Film 50: History of Cinema: The Cinematic City

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
3:10 p.m. Vertigo
Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1958)

IB Tech Print!
Lecture/Marilyn Fabe


Hitchcock maps the twisting course of a compulsive love affair to the geography of San Francisco and Northern California, from the chilly waters below the Golden Gate Bridge to a fateful—and fake—bell tower at Mission San Juan Bautista. “A radical meditation on man’s (or, more precisely, men’s) obsession with illusion, Vertigo reflects back on itself as cinema, and as a sadly ironic view of romantic love in the fifties. James Stewart was never less ‘romantic’ than in this film; his urgency is frightening and compelling. Kim Novak knowingly portrays the two faces of woman, icon and victim (with a beautiful turn on the movie standard—she’s a smart blonde, a dumb and manipulated brunette). Formally, and in its deeply felt expression of the ultimate love triangle—man, woman, and death—this is Hitchcock’s most poetic film” (Judy Bloch).

• Written by Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor, based on the novel D’entre les morts by Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac. Photographed by Robert Burks. With James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore. (128 mins, Color, ’Scope, 35mm, Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive and Lowell Peterson, ASC, permission Universal)