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Vertigo (Universal Legacy Series)

James Stewart , Kim Novak , Alfred Hitchcock    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 47.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Vertigo (Universal Legacy Series) + Rear Window + North By Northwest (Bilingual) [Import]
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Although it wasn't a box-office success when originally released in 1958, Vertigo has since taken its deserved place as Alfred Hitchcock's greatest, most spellbinding, most deeply personal achievement. In fact, it consistently ranks among the top 10 movies ever made in the once-a-decade Sight & Sound international critics poll, placing at number 4 in the most recent survey. (Universal Pictures' spectacularly gorgeous 1996 restoration and rerelease of this 1958 Paramount production was a tremendous success with the public, too.) James Stewart plays a retired police detective who is hired by an old friend to follow his wife (a superb Kim Novak, in what becomes a double role), whom he suspects of being possessed by the spirit of a dead madwoman. The detective and the disturbed woman fall ("fall" is indeed the operative word) in love and...well, to give away any more of the story would be criminal. Shot around San Francisco (the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of the Legion of Honor are significant locations) and elsewhere in Northern California (the redwoods, Mission San Juan Batista) in rapturous Technicolor, Vertigo is as lovely as it is haunting. --Jim Emerson

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When does love turn into obsession ??? Jan. 10 2007
By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Scotty (James Stewart) is a retired policeman with a big handicap, vertigo. He simply cannot stand heights, something that he didn't know until the moment when he was unable to help a fellow officer in danger. His vertigo paralyzed him, and as a result the other policeman died. Traumatized, he retired and decided to take up a job as a detective.

His first task in his new job is following the rich wife of an old acquaintance, Madeline (Kim Novak). Madeline is a beautiful and very rich woman, who supposedly has suicidal tendencies that trouble his husband. The problem is that after some time Scottie starts to fall in love with the enigmatic Madeline. Strangely enough, the same thing seems to happen to her when they meet. But will both live long enough to enjoy their love, or is someone bent on a dark scheme that will inevitably end in death?. What does Scotty's vertigo has to do with those plans?. How far do lies go in this whole story ?. And when does love turn into obsession?.

The answer to all these questions, and many more, can be found in this 1958 Hitchcock's classic. Someone told me that some films are called classics for a good reason. I think "Vertigo" is one of them. If you haven't seen it, please do. I think you won't regret doing that, and that you will pleasantly surprised by all the twists in this strange plot. Strongly recommended!!!.

Belen Alcat
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The merits of the movie itself are debated enough in other posts. I will limit myself to pointing out that as attractive as the October 2008 reissue is, there is one singular flaw, namely in the audio tracks.

True, the new extra features and the marginally better quality image as compared to the previous anamorphic version in the Hitchcock Masterpiece box set are probably enough for a die hard fan of this masterpiece to shell out for still another version of the DVD. Even the Friedkin commentary is quite enjoyable and offers some useful insights, contrary to his somewhat spotty reputation as to his commentary talents.

However, the two audio tracks are replicas of the attempt at modernizing it in the 90s by making a stereo version. The absence of the original sound effects track led to some tinkering and yielded certain strange results, most notably the double gunshots during the initial rooftop chase and a generally less-detailed aural picture. Strange that the edition in the boxset did include the original mono mix, but Universal dropped it in 2008. For those who insist on purchasing only the most perfect edition, this is not quite it then. It was not enough to stop me, but I do notice that the sound experience is slightly less interesting with this edition.

As for the improvement in image quality, it may not be visible on all systems. I did the comparison on two other systems and in one case the improvement was also noticeable, the image being sharper and the colors more vivid, while on the other one my friend and I saw no difference.

In conclusion, perhaps a Blu-Ray edition will one day bring it all together, correcting the audio deficiencies and adding HD quality, should it appear one day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and beautiful classic. Sept. 15 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Vertigo is a true classic from the Master, Alfred Hitchcock. Upon its release, Vertigo was not well received by the public or the critics. Since that time it has rightfully started to garner the attention and respect it deserves.
The story is good, incorporating drama, suspense, and romance. Vertigo has one of the finest, most gripping, finales I have come across in any motion picture. Even after repeated viewings, the ending still manages to send shivers up my spine.
The acting is good all the way around. Jimmy Stewart delivers an absolutely wonderful performance as the slightly disturbed John 'Scottie' Ferguson, a man with a strong fear of heights and an obsession with the mysterious Mrs. Madeleine Elster. Madeleine is played to a cool, smooth perfection by the talented Kim Novak.
Robert Burks brings a lot of atmosphere to Vertigo through his cinematography. The colors are vibrant and glowing, giving the film a haunting aura.
Bernard Herrmann is at his best, delivering an absolutely riveting and disorienting musical score. The effects for the opening title sequence combined with Herrmann's score really set the tone of the film.
Hitchcock's direction is fantastic as always. For this film, he created the infamous "dizzy effect" shot by simultaneously zooming forward and reverse tracking with the camera. This shot has been imitated by many but rarely has it been as effective as it is here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The very first shot is the best. July 18 2004
By A Customer
I watched Vertigo for the first time when I was about 12 years old - I remember I couldn't sleep well afterwards. I guess I was a little too young at the time to fully appreciate its scope. Watched it now again in its restored form on DVD.
In my opinion the best moment in the movie is the very first shot of the woman's mouth and face and her eyes - the look in her eyes - all in black and white - and then the introduction of colour - the spirals etc., and the ingeneous score. The score is incredible. Very efficient. It really gives the whole thing a dreamlike quality.
Generally, I don't like dark haunting movies too much. And Vertigo is haunting.
Most of the other Hitchcock movies have a kind of upbeat humour - an optimistic atmosphere. Take Psycho, for example. Yes, people get killed - but in a strange, almost perverse way the movie is almost funny. And, of course, there is a satisfying conclusion, a happy end. Not so in Vertigo.
Note that Hitchcock returned in subsequent movies - North by Northwest, Frenzy, Family Plot ...to his characteristic dark humour. That's why I think that Vertigo - while it deals with themes also present in his other movies - is something of an exception : there is no happy end and there is no relief for the audience.
Most of Hitchcock's movies deal with horrible things - like murder, the innocent being wrongfully accused and hunted by society, malice and intrigue,.. - but he always balances this with this typical British dark humour which in a way protects the audience and helps it to digest the on-screen violence. So this dark humour, this distancing of the audience, fulfills a very important function. For instance, after the shower scene in Psycho, we witness Norman Bates clean up the bathroom.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Photography and strong performances from Jimmy Stewart and...
This Movie is considered to be one of Alfred Hitchcock s finest work. The Photography of areas around the San Francisco area is quite impressive. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roller
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock at his best..
A troubled James Stewart and a breath-takingly belle Kim Novak make for a great classic. Great plot & acting, well-designed by Hitchcock. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Canuck Teach
4.0 out of 5 stars Old time family entertainment.
Keeps you interested. Acting is good. No boring gunfire, explosions, car racing, or gross violence. Worth the price for an evening's entertainment.
Published 11 months ago by Laney
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sur toute la ligne !
Le produit m'a été livré dans le délai prévu. La qualité mentionnée était exacte. Read more
Published 20 months ago by MFJ
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Hitchcock or mysteries, Vertigo is a must

If you ask movie fans to name their favorite Hitchcock titles, you'll get a lot of different answers. Read more
Published on March 30 2012 by Steven Aldersley
1.0 out of 5 stars A Dud
Vertigo is the first Amazon DVD that did not function properly. Only good to part of the chase up the church stairs. Regret I won't know what happened after that.
Published on May 25 2011 by pekoepan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Surreal Film of Genius
Arguably Alfred Hitchcock's greatest film, though my personal favourite is still North by Northwest, Vertigo is a surreal film of genius that was way ahead of its time. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2011 by Moodywoody
5.0 out of 5 stars love the camera angles
My son is starting a Hitchcock collection-got this for Christmas present. He loves the old movies (he's 15) and especially enjoys the cameos by Hitchcock and the camera angles.
Published on Dec 26 2009 by Bonnie Botham
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkest Hitchcock
"Vertigo" is a disturbing tour de force. You would probably have to roll forward to David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" and "Mulholland Drive" is find comparable weirdness. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by S. Harris
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT his best! Why is everyone raving about this movie??
It's good, not great. The storyline is just too basic. Nothing really grabbed my attention. As far as the directing aspect of it, it may be one of his best. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by M. S. Ferrell
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