The story is known to all lovers of the “Master of suspense.” In 1952, the first joint work of the writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas narcejac came to bookstores under the title of The one who was no longer, a crime novel that recounts the revenge of the wife and mistress of a high school teacher who, tired of the man’s mistreatment, plan his murder. The work arrived in the United States two years later with the title She Who Was No More and it is known that when Alfred Hitchcock he had it in his hands, he did not hesitate to get the rights to the work, however, he did not count on the French director Henri-Georges Clouzot, who was in search of his next project after finishing the filming of his work The Salary of Fear – 100%, had been ahead of him, buying the rights to the book just hours before Hitchcock did. To compensate for this, Boileau and Narcejac wrote expressly for the director their following literary piece: From the dead, which would end up being the inspiration for what is considered by many critics, colleagues and fans as the British filmmaker’s masterpiece: Vertigo – 98%.
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Also known as From the dead, and as it happened with The diabolical from Clouzot, Vertigo moved a bit away from its source of origin, while the literary side bordered on the myth of Orpheus, the director’s is imbued with the Gothic spirit of Edgar Allan Poe and his Ligeia. To carry his vision, Hitchcock relied on dazzling visual refinement and sophisticated staging, to materialize a story about reincarnation, obsession and desire, shaping an unprecedented symbolist piece that continues to intoxicate today.
Scottie (James Stewart), a retired detective suffering from vertigo, is hired by an old acquaintance to watch over his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), who claims to have been possessed by a mysterious ancestor. From a distance on their silent chases through the streets of San Francisco first, and in the intimacy of their walks together later, Scottie will gradually grow closer to this stranger whose story he will end up obsessing over.
The story behind the filming of Vertigo it’s fascinating like, say, that Hitchcock wasn’t satisfied with any of the script treatments until he hired Samuel A. Taylor , who, by the way, was forbidden to read the novel so that he could land his ideas as he had them in mind. Or that you never got along with Kim Novak, actress who replaced her beloved Vera Miles, but who he never forgave for having gotten pregnant at that time. O well, James Stewart whom he always blamed for the poor reception the film had among film critics.
Speaking of critics, and as often happens with films that now hold an untouchable place in the history of cinema, during its premiere, the film was repudiated by specialists, considering it overloaded and long, it was not until the critics of the Cinema Notebooks They claimed it a short time later as a fundamental piece, a status that it maintains to this day.
Winner of the Silver Shell ex-aequo for best director and actor for James Stewart at the San Sebastian Festival in 1958, and the Best Film of All Time for Sight & Sound, leaving second to Citizen Kane – 100% from Orson Welles which remained at the top of the list for more than 50 years. And is that Vertigo – 98% It is the culmination of the style and obsessions of the most obsessive of filmmakers, the one that gave rise to his most representative films; “The most intensely personal film” and with which Alfred Hitchcock became, according to Guillermo del Toro, in the great poet of the sick. Next, we share what the critic of this classic has said:
Michael J. Casey from Boulder Weekly:
Good movies have all the answers; the greats still have a few secrets up their sleeves. Vertigo is that movie. Pull the curtain and let the light into the dark and gloomy corners of the human mind, pushing out all those dirty clothes for all to see.
Peter Travers from Rolling Stone:
The best movie ever about romantic obsession (…) Stewart did not make another performance as risky and captivating as this one.
Tim Brayton from Antagony & Ecstasy:
… a great psychological thriller about obsession, and for the most part, that’s how we like to talk about the vertigo that exists.
Dave Kehr from Chicago Reader:
An extraordinarily dense and imposing film. It is perhaps the most intensely personal film to come out of Hollywood cinema.
Carlos Bonfil from The Day:
Hitchcock completely transcends generic barriers, making the film something enigmatic and unclassifiable.
Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian:
Hitchcock’s masterpiece combines his gift for psychological impact with his flair for sophisticated elegance.
Peter Stack from SFGATE:
In its dark heart, the film is a sad reflection on love and on the veils that manipulate sexual passions.
Lillian Crawford from Little White Lies:
Praising the film today is as much a celebration of what Hitchcock and his team accomplished in 1958 as it is of the rigorous work of its restorers.
Tim Robey from Telegraph:
It is an experience that becomes more profound and dreamlike with each viewing.
Pablo Kurt from FilmAffinity:
The genius moves away from his previous entertaining adventures to immerse himself – him and everyone – in a meticulous psychological intrigue full of symbolism and multiple readings, an unfathomable whirlpool that absorbs you in his fascinating narrative spiral about desire and the idealized …
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Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock, what did the critics say about this classic? | Tomatazos