Four years ago the great and good of the British film industry declared this to be the finest film ever made. Cue ironic laughter. In my opinion, good though it is – and Vertigo is admittedly very good – it’s not even the best film Alfred Hitchcock ever made. It is, of course, a thriller (what else would you expect from Hitch?) that involves deception, betrayal, apparent suicide, murder and a retired cop, James Stewart, suffering from vertigo and guilt. A convoluted plot begins with Tom Helmore asking Stewart to follow his wife, Kim Novak, who is behaving oddly. Surveillance leads to romance, a suicide and the opening of a whole new mystery. It’s far more psychologically complex and apparently therefore more meaningful than the rest of Hitchcock’s work, which is perhaps why people think it greater than it is.
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