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Vertigo

Year: 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak
Hitchcock wasn't a master storyteller for nothing. For fully three quarters of the way through Vertigo, you have no idea what's going on, and you're riveted waiting to find out, even sitting through long periods where nothing happens to do so.

There's a lot of silence early on in the movie while Scotty follows Elster's wife – through the streets in their cars, into the graveyard – but something about the way Hitchcock does it makes you sit there watching otherwise boring goings on because you can't wait to see what it all means. Aside from all the academic subtext attributed to Hitchcock's work, that's the main reason he's so well loved.

Scottie (Hitchcock regular Stewart, who never worked with him again, apparently after Hitchcock blaming the movie's relatively low popularity on Stewart looking 'old') is approached by a college buddy who asks him to follow his wife, convinced there's something strange – almost paranormal – going on.

Scottie, a retired detective with a bad fear of heights after the case that put him out of the law business for good, agrees more or less for something to do, and spends a good half hour of the rest of the movie just driving and walking around after the winsome lady (Novak), before inevitably making contact and then falling in love with her.

When he takes her to a mission building down the coast he's convinced will jog her memory about her mysterious actions, he sees the old college buddy throw her out a high window, and despite heartbreak, it seems like case closed. That is until she turns up in his life again by chance, when the plot thickens.

Not as cinematic or insightful as Rear Window, but Stewart still brings a unique charm and personality to the role, and it's still essential viewing for fans or students of Hitchcockian thrillers.

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