Looking at the older Hitch birthday thread I see I stated that Notorious is my favorite Hitchcock film. Right now it's Vertigo! These statements of the best or your favorite really depends on the day of the week....
I've always thought Scotty's obsession with Madeline was really creepy, the way he picks up Judy and starts making her over, sheeesh!
Don't get me wrong though I love Vertigo. If forced to pick a favorite Hitchcock film or try to say which is the best, it's extremely hard to do. I love a lot of his older films, Rebecca is a real stand out for me. As are Lifeboat, Rope and Rear Window, I like his films that are almost entirely in confined spaces.
What's up with the BFI, seems like they had The Third Man in the top spot for ages, as it should be.
These lists always reflect personal taste, so let's forget this notion of the "objective". But it is supposed to be a list of the greatest films, not merely of favorites. And I'm not sure why a dark, cold, or twisted film can't be great. A film can be about heart without being sentimental. It can be about the tragic twisting of love into hate, about a lack of love, about an emotional void.
Vertigo is Hitchcock stepping off the cliff, both artistically and personally. Its story of destructive obsession can be read as a reflection of the director's own deepest desires. But it can also be read as a metaphor of the artist obsessed with his art, with his creation (or "recreation"). Unlike so many of Hitchcock's other films, Vertigo is entirely subjective, and through Scottie it draws us deeper and deeper into its dark core and emotional depths. Of course it's creepy, and is not "romantic" in the sense of a Hallmark card. But Vertigo does belong to Romanticism, where desire, obsession and even mental illness and the Romantic are not mutually exclusive.
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