Several years ago, I was only able to catch the final 20 minutes of Vertigo over Thanksgiving. At the time, I found it gripping and despite not understanding why this man was pleading so desperately for a woman to wear her hair in a certain way, I couldn’t shake the face of a desperate Kim Novak before she falls to her death for weeks.
With it’s recent anointment by a BFI poll as the greatest film ever, it’s hard to approach it as anything other than “the best film ever made. Ever” and separate any expectations that come with that title. There’s a lot to admire in this incredibly made and beautifully shot film, but I was completely unprepared for how unsettling the love story at its twisted center would play out. The first…err, second time Scottie meets Judy, I cringed so tightly and hoped Hitch would just cut to something, anything, else and then he has Judy stop packing her bags. And has her stare at us; begging for forgiveness.
And then I’m in pieces.
The clothes. I’m convinced the fashion industry is just a recycling machine that warps its end product. Edith Head’s beautiful coats and suits (if slimmed down just a little) are timeless and its influence is particularly apparent in collections by Thom Browne, Céline, Jil Sander et al. I’ve said it in a post below, but James Stewart wears one mean blue suit that wouldn’t be out of place here. It’s also a film that made me want to buy a hat more than five seasons of Mad Men combined.
I can’t recommend it enough.