Alfred Hitchcock

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alfredhitchcock_vertigo_goldengatebridge

Exciting news that Ms. Kim Novak will be the Guest of Honor where the newly restored version of Hitchcock’s masterpiece, newly named Sight and Sound’s Best Film of All Time, Vertigo.

Vertigo is the kind of film that at the first few passes you might think, what’s the big deal? But it, like Citizen Kane, is the kind of movie that offers up more every time dive back into it. Let it be said that both Citizen Kane and Vertigo are downers, the sum and total of a man’s life disappointed by his failure to achieve his greatest desire.

Jim Emerson, over at Scanners, has written a thorough piece on the restoration:

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” is one of the most ravishing Technicolor films ever made — all the more so in its VistaVision-to-70mm restored version. And color plays a key part in the mystery, emotion and psychology, of the film. Colors evoke feelings, and while Hitchcock liked to say that “Psycho” (made two years later) was “pure cinema” in black-and-white, “Vertigo” is a symphony of color, its multi-hued themes and motifs as vividly orchestrated as Bernard Herrmann’s famous score.

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The year in film was already marked by Alfred Hitchcock as Vertigo at last topped Citizen Kane in the Sight & Sound poll. Vertigo had been slowly climbing its way to the top and this year it finally broke Kane’s 50-year reign at #1. As human nature dictates, the larger they loom, the harder they fall and it was inevitable that the arguments would begin about Vertigo’s worth.

Simultaneously, two films about Hitchcock were nearing completion. The Girl on HBO, starring Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren and Toby Jones as Hitch, and Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi, starring Helen Mirren as Alma Reville and Anthony Hopkins as Hitch. Both of these films seemed to appear like bad tabloid stories designed to take Hitchcock down a notch or two, more than 30 years after his death. Thus, the perennial question arises once more about how to separate the man (or the woman) from the art.

Joe Queenan told NPR, while remembering an old quote, “Someone once said about Emily Dickinson: The correct way to approach Emily Dickinson is on your knees.”

The correct way to approach the work of Alfred Hitchcock is on your knees. Yet because our prurient interests in the private lives of our celebrities and politicians tends to override almost everything else, the Season of the Hitch has not been an occasion to appreciate the master’s work, as it should be; but rather, a time to put him on trial for alleged sexual harassment and whatever else writers and directors come up with that has nothing to do with his films.

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