Sunday, November 23, 2008

Watch Jimmy Stewart suffer, faithfully

I also got around to Vertigo; I've seen enough Hitchcock, early and late, that I just never really felt compelled to rent it, although I like Jimmy Stewart and I had only seen him in one Hitchcock (Rear Window, of course). I can faithfully report that Vertigo is quite good, though some of the more fanciful "hallucinatory" effects are extremely dated. I also wish that Hitchcock could have refrained from explaining the entire mystery two-thirds of the way through the film. It could have been done in a more subtle way that would make the ending -- which I won't completely spoil -- far more satisfying. And the scenery, as always, is beautiful.

Speaking of the ending, the DVD extras included an ending shot for European audiences, the lack of which had puzzled me mightily. Hitchcock does love his closing shots of patient (or not so patient) faithful blond women receiving their wayward men (see The Paradine Case for the most blatant example, but even Rear Window falls in this category). I was a little surprised that the faithful old friend didn't make a reappearance in the latter half of the movie, but there she was in the European version, faithfully pouring Scotch.

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