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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Weekend links 418

vertigo.jpg

Poster by Roman Cieslewicz for the 1963 Polish release of Vertigo. Via The Hitchcock Zone.

• Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is sixty years old this year. It’s a film I’ve always found to be preposterous and very over-rated, despite the considerable strengths of its cast, production, etc; consequently, any claims to its being an unalloyed masterpiece (such as being voted the best film of all time in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll) have been difficult to accept. For the latest anniversary, David Thomson examined the film in the light of changing social attitudes.

• Currently seeking funding at Unbound: Stars, Fools and Lovers: An illustrated guide to the art and history of the Tarot by Joanna Ebenstein, Laetitia Barbier and Mark Pilkington. Another Tarot-related book, Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story by Stuart R. Kaplan with Mary K. Greer, Elizabeth Foley O’Connor and Melinda Boyd Parsons, will be published next month.

• Everybody wants to talk to Jon Hassell at the moment, which is no bad thing: recent interviews have appeared at The Vinyl Factory, Red Bull Radio and Vice.

• Coming soon from Lazarus Corporation: England’s Dark Dreaming by Paul Watson.

• Sean Kitching on The Strange World of Charles Hayward (This Heat et al).

• At Dennis Copper’s: The title sequences of 56 mostly horror movies.

• Stone circles: Adam Scovell chooses 10 notable cinematic examples.

• “You gotta be selfish. It’s a terrible thing,” says David Lynch.

Wolf’s Kompaktkiste shows off a serious record collection.

Boy with Cat (1966), a short film by Donald Richie.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 256 by Nina.

Tank (2018), a short film by Stu Maschwitz.

Phantom Islands—A Sonic Atlas

Letraset, design and music

• Vertigo (1988) by Flash Cero | Psyko (Themes from Psycho and Vertigo) (1993) by Laika & The Cosmonauts | Vértigo Magnético (2014) by Liquidarlo Celuloide

 


 

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3 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Scott

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    Thank you for saying the emperor has no clothes and that Vertigo is a preposterous (and downright silly movie), not even amongst Hitch’s best yet alone the best of all time. Have to fight laughing outright every time the animated sequence comes on.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Hi Scott. Its always frustrated me because I admire all the details but have trouble accepting the film as a whole because of its absurdities. Matters aren’t helped by its being completely serious throughout; even Psycho has a couple of jokey moments; The Wrong Man is also deadly serious but the story there was based on true events so it was obliged to be.

    I think part of the problem with Vertigo‘s reputation is a result of its being withdrawn from circulation for many years. This means that a whole generation of older viewers and critics were relying on their memories of seeing the film in the 50s or 60 while younger viewers had to rely on written reports alone. (When the film is referred to in a film lecture in David Rudkin’s Artemis 81 they have to use drawings based on stills of the film since screening clips at that time was forbidden. The same lecture also refers to the camera movement in the stable scene as “the supreme moment in all of cinema”, a comment that only adds to the inflated reputation.) When I finally got to see Vertigo in the 1980s I found the ending so stupid that it ruined the entire thing for me, and I was genuinely surprised that people rated the film as a whole so highly.

    My slightly facetious pet theory is that Hitchcock is like Scotty in jealously wanting to recreate something that eluded him. Prior to Vertigo he was beaten to the rights to Boileau-Narcejac’s Celle qui n’était plus by Henri-George Clouzot who then had a great success with his film of the book, Les Diaboliques. So Hitchcock bought another Boileau-Narcejac story, D’entre les morts, which he made as Vertigo. The novel lacks the absurdities that Hitchcock and his screenwriters added while adapting the story for an American setting.

  3. #3 posted by Scott

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    And I have always had a problem with the,”Big Reveal”. I believe it would have been much more enjoyable to have the murder plot explained only AFTER Scotty himself realizes he was set up. Let us think he is only obsessing over a similar woman and then succumbing to paranoia. Then we can see the flashbacks of how it was done as he accuses her in the tower.
    If played that way it might even lead us to doubt whether there had been a murder plot at all land cast a darker question over Scotty’s sanity as we wonder if his ravings are true.

 




 

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