Vertigo

Introduced by David Thomson

When you think about it, Vertigo is not a tribute to the role of the private detective, no matter that he is played here by the “lovable” Jimmy Stewart. First of all, it's apparent that Stewart's ghost, Scottie, has many problems with love. And as you think about it further, you can see Alfred Hitchcock-not quite up to jumping in the San Francisco Bay himself-meditating on whether it is love or cruelty, art or tyranny, when he takes a woman and tries to shape every detail of her image. May we remind you that the killer in Vertigo goes free, that his plot becomes an infinite masterpiece in evil the more you think about it? So why did Hitch decide to give the game away “too early” in the film? Was that an escape from archaic suspense or just a way of saying there was a deeper game afoot?

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