W hen Alfred Hitchcock completed Vertigo in 1958, every image, every musical note, every nuance of the film was as perfect as he could possibly attain. He made absolutely no concessions and no compromises in the creation of this story.

Ironically, audiences and many critics in 1958 were not very impressed by the film, which surprisingly drew lackluster reviews and tepid boxoffice results for a movie boasting two of the biggest boxoffice stars of their day at the height of their Hollywood careers, directed by one of the most celebrated and successful filmmakers of his time. It is widely believed that Vertigo was a film ahead of its time, and that filmgoing audiences that year were more interested in lightweight confections like Gigi, Auntie Mame and Houseboat than disturbing psychological thrillers.

It was much later in the more thematically-adventurous `60s that cinephiles, first internationally and then in America, began to appreciate and rediscover the brilliance of this darker, more complicated Hitchcock effort. Audiences flocking to see avant-garde hits like Antonioni's Blow-Up and the work of Francois Truffaut were open and available to Vertigo's unconventional, adult themes, and the film scored huge ratings when first broadcast on network TV. Its celebration continued into the following decade, when filmmaker Brian De Palma, a Hitchcock disciple/devotee, presented Obsession , a romantic mystery-thriller scored by Bernard Herrmann that was essentially a remake of Vertigo . By the time Vertigo was given a major rerelease in 1984, it was generally regarded by critics and filmgoers as one of Hitchcock's all-time classic achievements.





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