Randolph Scott is a truly gorgeous man.
As theatrical exhibition gets more and more marginalized, common notions of what constitutes a "big-screen movie" get narrower, i.e. stupider. This movie has no visual grandeur, large-scale action or imposing cinematography; it tells a story about modest people who pass their days in bland, anonymous urban settings; it's directed in a discreet, self-effacing fashion; and it's a big-screen movie all the way. The nuanced acting, the stress on physical circumstance as a test of character, the attention paid to faces…
Here's a film that, for me, is as fun to talk around as it is to talk about. While watching, and enjoying, it I kept thinking about how so much value in cinephilic discourse is placed on the foregrounding of artifice. Classical Hollywood is loved for its lack of realism, and for the way standardized production served to throw personal style into relief; and with nearly every major auteur besides, what's admired is heavy formal intervention. What we cinephiles seem…
"Judy, it can't matter to you."
For someone like myself, who values visual form and style as much as narrative, writing about this movie presents a real challenge. The story and plotting of Vertigo are perhaps the finest in all of movies: there's the slam-bang intro; the languorous first movement, with the development of mystery and the growing romance joined as one; the violent rupture; and then a new love, a new mystery, with us one crucial step ahead of…