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. As Marilyn Fabe wrote, “The hero's simultaneous desire and dread are given brilliant and haunting visual expression through the ambivalent camera movements-especially the combination of forward zooms and reverse tracking shots.”

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