10 Comments

  1. Tony, you don’t have to worry about losing me as a friend as you are one of the dearest men I’ve come across! LOL!!!

    Yet, I admit I differ drastically with your summary assessment. For me VERTIGO is Hitchcock’s greatest film, one of the greatest films in the entire history of the cinema, and for all sorts of reasons is a seminal film. I didn’t find it heavy-handed, nor did I find the cartoon-sequence imposed and artificial. I found the setting and atmosphere intoxicating, brooding and evocative and a number of set pieces exhiliarating. I have so much to say about the film’s utter brilliance, but I will let that be for now.
    You have offered some valid and incisive reasons to defend your dissenting stance, so that’s all that really matters here. I have a hankering to watch this film again soon, even though I have seen it more times than I can count. I would love to read Spicer’s account, as I admit I am in agreement with his position.
    But I admit this film is bold and was somewhat of a gamble, as Hitchcock himself acknowledges (at one point he actually claims he was disappointed with it, but he was startled at the stunning response from critics and audiences) so it’s not surprising that there is a sturdy extreme minority take.
    Where you find that “atrocious portrait of a dead woman’ somewhat off-putting, I find it a visual tapestry of utter brilliance. I also find the “contrived and far fetched plot” a thing of magisterial greatness.
    I concur with you on Bernard Herrmann’s score, which is simply one of the most sublime, mysterious, elegiac and beautiful in the entire history of the cinema.
    So what does it mean that I definitely part company with my dear friend Tony D’Ambra on this film? It means nothing. Tony has written an eloquent and probing review, that speaks for itself, and is by no means arbitrary or flippant. That’s all one can rightfully ask for. You are a courageous guy Tony. Kudos to you.

  2. Thank you Sam for elegantly stating the yea case and being so accommodating of dissent. Kudos to you!

    I really wanted to be more open to this film when I re-watched it last night, but I honestly still couldn’t feel a real connection with it.

  3. Hi! Tony D’Ambra,
    What a “very nice”…(and a striking depiction of “noirish” angst, that I have ever seen on a movie poster)… poster of Hitchcock’s 1958 film “Vertigo” below is a link to a picture of the “original” poster of Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (Which would probably cost a nice sum of “argent” (French for money) to add to ones’ own poster collection) and Saul Bass stunning graphic design.

    According to the book… Collector Compass:Movie Collectible (There is no one single author, but several authors)
    “Vertigo” is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s “best,” and is regarded by some as a revealing look into the director’s psyche. James Stewart plays Scottie Ferguson, whose obsessive desire to mold a woman into his ideal seems to mirror Hitchcock’s own
    tendency to remake his leading actresses.

    dcd ;)

    (Vertigo, 1958, Paramount, half-sheet.)
    http://cache.thephoenix.com/secure/uploadedImages/The_Phoenix/Movies/Features/Vertigo1000.jpg

  4. Tony D’Ambra said,”I will win no friends with this review.” Why? I feel that this is your opinion about Hitch’s 1958 film Vertigo and for the reason(s) that you have stated in your review and I respect you for being very “honest” and “open” and sharing your true feeling about Hitch’s 1958 film Vertigo, as oppose to pretending that you like the film just to go along with the “Vertigo appreciative crowd.” (That would be Sam and me…)ha!

    To be honest with you, I am not a big fan of Hitch’s 1949 film “Under Capricorn” I Know it almost :-o (Shocking!)…being a “big” Hitchcock fanatic! but it is true!
    As a matter of fact, next month, I plan to “revisit” Hitchcock on my blog, with a Hitchcock (H)istorian and discuss The “Good,” The “Bad,” and The “Scary” [See:The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography & Quiz book page 34-36]of Hitchcock’s films…

    …D’Ambra, Thank-you! for the review of (“The Master of Suspense”) Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 “classic” “Vertigo.”

    Commentary or as it is known in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand play-by-play.
    According to the Time magazine article
    …“The old master, now a slave to television, has turned out another Hitchcock-and-bull story in which the mystery is not so much who done it as who cares.”
    – Time (16 June 1958)

    Sorry! Time magazine, but “The master of suspense,” was not a “slave” to television, but was wanted by popular demand!..The American public were very eager to see him on a weekly basis, and was not just content to wait for him to release films in the theatre(s) hence, the 10 year(s) “run” of his very successful program on CBS/NBC television.

    I don’t think Hitchcock, cared to much for television. (Because of the constant “poking” fun of the television station(s) and their sponsers CBS/NBC and Bristol-Myers during commercial breaks and the very funny eulogy he gave after his 10 year(s) show came to an end)…According to author of the book [The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography & Quiz book page 147-48] Kathleen Kaska,…as his ten years on television came to a close Hitch, gave the most appropriate eulogy:
    “I shall mark the completion of ten years on television. That is a long time to be getting away with murder, but they seem to have caught up with me at last. I am not sure what my punishment will be, but I suspect I shall be strapped to a chair and placed in front of an open television set.”
    (I think his (Alfred Hitchcock) closing remark is very apropos and funny!)
    [See:The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography & Quiz book page 147-48] to also find out how his lawyer Lew Wasserman, also encouraged him to take advantage of his popularity in the public eye at the theatre and tranfers it to that “new medium” called television.

    Btw, Hitchcock, was releasing such classics as Vertigo, Psycho, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong man, The Man Who knew Too Much, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest in the theatres while producing his very popular television shows.(Alfred Hitchcock’s half hour and later due to, popular demand!… the hour long Alfred Hitchcock Present.)Quite a character Hitch was!…

    dcd ;)

  5. Wow Dcd, thanks so much for that wealth of information and your spirited defence of Hitchcock!

    Apropos Hitchcock saying: “I am not sure what my punishment will be, but I suspect I shall be strapped to a chair and placed in front of an open television set”. I would have the television playing Vertigo continuously forever ;)

    I once said to no-one in particular that my vision of hell is being trapped in a cinema alone with Resnais’ Last Year Marienbad screening repeatedly forever…

  6. Tony said,”Apropos Hitchcock saying: “I am not sure what my punishment will be, but I suspect I shall be strapped to a chair and placed in front of an open television set”. I would have the television playing Vertigo continuously forever” {Laughter…ha!ha! D’Ambra, personally, I wouldn’t have to be strapped to a chair in order to watch Hitch’s Vertigo repeatedly!}
    Hi! Antonio, pull up a chair, a bag of popcorn and your favorite beverage…and enjoy one of my favorite links!(Especially, No#6)

    dcd ;)

    http://www.themave.com/Hitch/

  7. As I stated earlier DCD, I respect Tony for being completely honest. When critics lined up a few years back top heap tons of praise on LOST IN TRANSLATION (Sophia Coppola) I was a very strong dissenting voice. I thought the film was static and pretentious, and undeserving of the delirious accolades it was receiving. DCD, I honestly do love VERTIGO, and have it among the top ten films ever made, but Tony’s position is founded in expert analysis. I respect it.

  8. I honestly have little to contribute in the wake of Sam and Dark City Dame’s spirited and gracious comments. Opinions on movies should never drive friends apart, or make people stay away from others.

    Hitchcock as a vastly more divisive director during his life and career than most like to acknowledge these days. It sounds like you have given Vertigo a fair shake for yourself and you have never been able to warm up to it. Sam’s point about Hitchcock himself knowing the project was a gamble is an interesting one to ponder.

  9. Sam Juliano said,”DCD, I honestly do love VERTIGO, and have it among the top ten films ever made, but Tony’s position is founded in expert analysis. I respect it.”

    Hi! Sam Juliano,
    I’am in total agreement with you, about D’Ambra’s analysis when it comes to the film Vertigo
    I truly accept his opinion and views when it come to the 1958 film “Vertigo.” (See my quote below…)

    “Tony D’Ambra said,”I will win no friends with this review.” Why? I feel that this is your opinion about Hitch’s 1958 film Vertigo and for the reason(s) that you have stated in your review and I respect you for being very “honest” and “open” and sharing your true feeling about Hitch’s 1958 film Vertigo, as oppose to pretending that you like the film just to go along with the “Vertigo appreciative crowd.” (That would be Sam and me…)ha!”

    dcd ;)

    ews or opinion wholeheartedly.
    See my quote below:

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