Vertigo

 (2,935)8.32 h 10 min2021X-RayPG
A detective with a fear of heights is tasked with surveilling his friend’s suicidal wife. The more he sees of her, however, the more infatuated he becomes, sending him down a dizzying path of obsession and desperation. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Directors
Alfred Hitchcock
Starring
James StewartKim NovakBarbara Bel Geddes
Genres
SuspenseHorrorRomance
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English

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More details

Supporting actors
Tom Helmore
Producers
Alfred Hitchcock
Studio
Universal City Studios Product
Rating
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

2935 global ratings

  1. 81% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

C. C. BlackReviewed in the United States on October 8, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
If Only I Could Give It Ten Stars
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My review is focused on the Blu-ray + Digital HD Ultraviolet version (Universal 61131988) of this classic movie, with an aside for those who may never have seen the film or remember it only vaguely.

Since the dawn of VHS tapes "Vertigo" has been a mainstay of my home movie collection. At present I own three different discs of this movie. With this latest purchase I should be able to stop. If the visual reproduction gets any better, my pre-cataract condition would never allow me to appreciate it. (Can you buy cataract surgery at discount on Amazon? Jeff Bezos is probably at work on that right now: just drone in the eye-surgeons. I digress.)

This edition of "Vertigo" is based on the Harris-Katz restoration of the film earlier this century. When it was released in theaters, about 15 years after its return to the screen ca. 1984, the Robert Harris-James Katz version knocked my socks off. It was as though a milky veil had been pulled away from the screen and I was seeing the film as I had never seen it before. Apart from the fact that my home theater does not boast a forty-foot screen, that is much the same experience I have enjoyed watching this Blu-ray/HD version. Do you want crispness of image? With this edition you can see each separate diamond woven into some of James Stewart's neckties. You can also see an ever-so-thin red outline of the white, main title lettering.

Now, for the colors. In this edition they are absolutely stunning. I felt as though I could touch the red-brocaded walls in Ernie's Restaurant. Podesta Balducci's floral emporium has never looked richer. The blue sky of San Francisco behind the Brocklebank apartments is utterly pure. The yellow filter through which Hitch shot Scottie and Madeline's visit to the Mission Delores cemetery has never looked more mysterious. And Kim Novack's climactic entrance as Madeline in Judy Barton's apartment, bathed in ghostly green, is glorious. In case I haven't made myself clear: Technicolor is used dramatically in this movie as never before or after in Hitchcock's films (for that matter, in any other film I can think of). It doesn't make things "pretty." It helped Hitch tell the story.

Regarding the audio, I am unable to discern a qualitative difference between this and the immediately previous DVD edition I own. Evidently nothing more has been done to improve on the Harris–Katz audio restoration. As for extra features, there are repeats of those of earlier editions, with at least three new additions: "Partners in Crime: Hitchcock's collaborators" (namely, Saul Bass, Edith Head, Bernard Herrmann, and Alma Reville), excerpts from the Hitchcock/Truffaut interviews, and a voice-over commentary by William Friedkin.

As for the movie itself, there's little I can add that other reviewers haven't already said. This is not a movie you watch for the plot: while it incorporates twists, the plot itself is meshuga. Nor is this a movie that titillates with exploding cars every five minutes. To watch this movie is to be drawn into a dream: Hitchcock's dreamworld. Leading us into this dream are Stewart and Novack in what is arguably their two finest performances: everyday, decent people whose lives are haunted and finally overtaken by their fantasies, obsessions, and desperation to love and to be loved.

If you have never seen this movie, "Vertigo" is truly a must. If you have seen it but feel cheated that you haven't been able to SEE it in all its visual glory, this version is (at this writing) the twelve best bucks you'll spend.
58 people found this helpful
Lee from NYReviewed in the United States on November 27, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Stewart and Novak give a master class in acting while Hitch makes his most personal statement.
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Chilling and sexy and disturbing at the same time. Hitchcock cast Kim Novak almost under protest but this is, undoubtedly, a gripping and beautiful performance. She has said in interviews she understood Judy because of her experience in Hollywood, they want you and they want to change you. Stewart stands out in a performance where for once he isn't playing a local-yokel. He's quite insane and everyone around him, even Judy, knows it. But he still appears "normal." Novak has said that after their many emotional scenes together the two would often stand, embracing, for a couple of minutes in order to "come down" from the intense feelings they were experiencing. Two actors working together so intensely, guided by the passions of the greatest director of the last century have created something that stands the test of time. Hitchcock was guided by his disappointment in not being able to cast Vera Miles as Judy. His own obsession with the unattainable woman makes this his most personal and in many ways "least Hitchcock" of all his movies. It is a masterpiece.
29 people found this helpful
w. c. mansonReviewed in the United States on July 7, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Highly contrived, wildly implausible plot
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At present some film historians deem this movie the best film ever made. Yet the screenwriters cooked up a tortuously contrived, even preposterous story, full of wild implausibilities and tedious narrative-development. Innumerable film-noirs have offered more interesting story-lines--and more taut suspense. The two stars are of course excellent, making the most of this absurd material, but their romantic involvement isn't helped by Bernard Herrman's "Tristan and Isolde" musical references. And of course, the romantic "Scottie," ever the canny Scotsman, turns out to be distinctly unchivalrous by the end. One can only suppose that the aforementioned critics enjoy the elements of perverse psychology--the sexual obsession and fetishism. Unfortunately, the original critics of 1958, who panned the movie at a time when there were many better ones to choose from, were right.
5 people found this helpful
P. HedleskyReviewed in the United States on March 5, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Stunning movie - and Blu-ray transfer
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As with many critics, I initially found "Vertigo" to be one of Alfred Hitchcock's less successful efforts. But as years have passed, I've become more beguiled by the twisting story of a detective who is hired to follow a woman with a seeming desire to commit suicide - and this description doesn't come close to revealing the complexity of the narrative. Although James Stewart is a great actor and acquits himself well, I find him a little too old for the part (although he was still a huge star in 1958); but Kim Novak, though never one of Hollywood's great actresses, is nevertheless perfect in her role.The Blu-ray contains a number of extras, including a somewhat bizarre commentary by director William Friedkin, who seems to like the movie but at the same time picks at small details and criticizes Hitchcock's style and methods of presentation. For a 58-year-old movie, the image looks great. Overall, I highly recommend this classic film.
30 people found this helpful
Matthew D'SouzaReviewed in the United States on June 2, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Greatest Film Alfred Hitchcock Ever Made!
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Vertigo is a beautiful romance film that is equally enchanting and intriguing. The master of suspense director Alfred Hitchcock proves his title with this endlessly mysterious movie. You question everything thinking there must be some explanation for the events herein. Hitchcock leads you along the sweetest and the saddest romance film ever released. We are gifted with thoughtful depictions of themes like vertigo, fear, love, loss, grief, and reformation. Follow along with the most ponderous investigation ever undertaken.

Notably, the cinematography and camera work from Hitchcock is marvelous. Every frame is fascinating and every panning shot is captivating. You see everything you need to in order to figure out the mystery and follow along with the plot. The intricate narrative is well written, but even more masterfully shot. At each scene, therein lies another beautiful sequence or deeper feeling conveyed by a revealing shot. Only a film like Persona can claim to have cinematography as nice as Vertigo.

Vertigo is a class act. You will remember the water, garden, bars, hotels, hallways, and rooms. The set decoration is as lovely as the stunning costume design. The main suit worn by Kim Novak is as iconic as any cinema look. With cinematography, score, set design, and costume design like Vertigo holds, you do not need any other movie. Vertigo is immaculately crafted by cast and crew alike.

Vertigo makes you figure out a mystery alongside its hero, while you are dazzled by the lovely score from master cinema composer Bernard Herrmann. The music is haunting and amorous throughout Vertigo. You will be swept off your feet by the tender melodies and drawn in by the disquiet swells. Herrmann wrote perhaps the greatest film music of all time. His sounds fill in the quiet spaces as a loving complement to the atmosphere.

Finally, Vertigo contains the very best acting performance of legendary actor James Stewart. He portrays fear and love as thoughtfully. His facial expressions emote such depth and passion. He is sweet as a leading man, but also always compelling. Stewart is an every man that you truly relate to in Vertigo. Likewise, Kim Novak plays one of the most complex and alluring femme fatales in film. Novak's performance as a lead actress is so tender and seductive as much as she portrays sorrow and longing. Vertigo delivers dual leading roles that will enchant any viewer.

In all, Vertigo remains one of the most lovely romance films in the history of cinema. I love it even after repeat viewings. Hitchcock perfected all of his mighty directorial skills and got splendid performances out of his stars. Vertigo is worth watching for its high entertainment value and impressive technical accomplishments. I would recommend Vertigo to all audiences as it is a surreal and sensual suspense story.
9 people found this helpful
R2D2Reviewed in the United States on May 4, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A classic.
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This is Hitchcock at his most fullsome and 1950's elegant. After watching this twice, I couldn't guite understand what it was about Vertigo that bugged me. I finally realized it was Kim Novak. I think she was rather miscast as Madeline/Judy. Maybe this is unfair--her acting is fine, especially in a difficult double role. And I could be unfairly comparing her with some of Hitch's other cool blonds (Gace Kelly, Tippi Hedren) who appear more "refined." Then perhaps it is simply my own taste. But still she doesn't seem quite right. It's interesting to compare/contrast both the actress and the role with that of Barbara Bel Geddes/Midge. That brings up another thing: just what are we supposed to think of Midge anyway? She's lovely, charming and intelligent, she really cares for Scottie, and in the end is just abandoned by the film. I found her more interesting than Madeline/Judy.
My third disquiet is the ending of the film. I mean the actual end of the photography. The screen goes black a split second after its denouement. Hitch should have lingered at least another minute or so--to capture the ghastly horror on Scottie's face of what had just happened (which was HIS fault after all).
Finally, this film lacks one thing Hitchcock includes in most of his great films (especially when they are dark) -- and that is humor. Other than Midge's remark regarding a design for a brassiere, humor is absent. Nevertheless, the film is still a masterpiece. The cinematography is truly magnificent. San Francisco and environs have never been more beautifully recorded. (The use of a static photograph for the scenery outside Midge's apartment windows is a rather poor choice, however.) Still BUY this DVD--and it IS gorgeous on blu-ray.
4 people found this helpful
DafReviewed in the United States on April 20, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Lost my Vertigo virginity!
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As someone who doesn't always find it easy to get into the aesthetic of 50s movies (a lot of times they almost look like expensive stage plays or something) I found Vertigo an engaging experience. I think it helps that the footage quality is excellent and there appears to be a fair amount of location shooting, but overall I believe Hitchcock was the real deal and had that timeless touch. My one complaint would be that the ending, compelling as it was, did come off a little like a "punchline" and made the story feel more like an elongated episode of 'The Twilight Zone' rather than something a bit weightier and substantial. But this movie famously took time to grow on audiences, though, so who's to say I won't warm up to it even more with time?

Random tidbit: it was fun watching this realizing that the end of the Michael Keaton/ Jack Nicholson 'Batman' was something of a homage to this movie, with its similar background music and the hero racing up a cathedral tower in order to save the blonde damsel and all.
2 people found this helpful
Mrs. Van GoghReviewed in the United States on May 7, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A classic Hitchcock film with great peeks into the San Francisco splendor that once was
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A classic Hitchcock film with great peeks into the San Francisco splendor that once was. Unfortunately many of those beautiful places in San Francisco have been replaced with modern ugliness, such as Union Square. But the city hasn't changed many of those buildings like the apartment building and the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill or Old Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge. Mission Dolores can still be visited and the small cemetery is still the same. Mission San Juan Bautista can still be visited, although the tower never existed (but was added by Hollywood magic)

As a film this one is always a delight to watch. Not only for the clever story line (which has some flaws) but also for the wonderful clothing worn by both men and women and memories of a time when simple graces such as a gentleman buying a lady a corsage while shopping downtown.
13 people found this helpful
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