Vertigo – Toronto Film Festival Rediscovers A Classic

Photo of Kim Novak by Nicholas Spillios captured on the Red Carpet at Roy Thomson Hall

It is not often that film classics get the attention they deserve. Sight and Sound named “Vertigo” (1958) the greatest film of all time in the last poll which is conducted every ten years  by film critics.  This year TIFF gave “Vertigo” the attention it deserved with a free showing in Roy Thompson Hall accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  Kim Novak (82 years young ), the original star of the film, was present to comment on the film and give the film some prestige and additional glamour.

Alfred Hitchcock and the renowned film composer Bernard Hermann were collaborators in several of the master’s classics. Their talents united in creating a film which is still a fascinating watch.

More than one critic at the time pointed out that a summary underlines that the film is really about a naive detective with vertigo drawbacks who is asked to follow a man’s wife who is not really who she appears to be but is rather the most gorgeous creature one could imagine. Naturally, he falls for her. But more perceptive critics point out that the film is really about a man who has fallen in love with a woman who doesn’t exist and in the end resents finding the real woman who impersonated her.

The renowned late critic Roger Ebert takes the analysis further.  Alfred Hitchcock was known for using female characters with decided characteristics. They were always  blond and distant. While men had drawbacks,  the women in the end were punished.

Kim Novak’s response to the moderator’s questioning on stage was kind and respectful giving due credit to Hitchcock and Stewart. The film is being given further attention by TIFF in a future showing in Toronto in widescreen giving the film further credibility.

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