Okay, cats, it's time to return you to the corral for branding.
I'm with Tony about the stature of VERTIGO, and the quality of Kim Novak's performance as Judy Barton/Madeleine Elster. Hitchcock was a man who spent most of his professional career trying to express a sense of guilt, in particular about his desire to control young women, blonde young women. In VERTIGO, he raised that obsession to an almost universal male trait. The picture is his masterpiece, balanced between morality and depravity in a way that shows up the intellectualization of ROPE, the sadism in PSYCHO, and the complete amorality of FRENZY (his last major motion picture, when Hollywood codes had been thrown overboard, and Hitchcock could do as he pleased). The instruments of his triumph in VERTIGO are his shrewd exploitation of strong, silent Jimmy Stewart's nice guy image to illustrate that in male domination, character is indeed fate, coupled with the Director's Georgie Minafer disgust and disappointment at not getting his first choice for a leading lady, which allowed Kim Novak to shoehorn a magnificently subtle interpretation of Judy/Madeleine into Hitchcock's often clumsily expressed theme. Her performance in this dual role illustrates perfectly the difference between who a woman really is and the woman she often has to play for a man -- makeup, clothes, and all -- in conventional Western Society.
Kim Novak, a Midwesterner, drew on her intuitive intelligence, her model's knowledge of variety in makeup and clothes, her sense of Catholic morality which she shared with Hitchcock, and her resentment at how Hollywood regarded her physical attributes rather than her artistic ambitions.
It is she who made Hitchcock's obsession the dilemma of Modern Woman.
I met Kim (the liberty of a first name seldom taken here) only once, and that briefly, but the electricity of my self-introduction is still with me. It occurred in 1996, when in her mid-sixties, she attended a charity premiere of the Restored VERTIGO at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, accompanied on stage by the restoration editors and Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia. Everything that has been said here in her praise was reinforced in my eyes by that meeting. Macresarf1 gave an account of the memorable brief encounter, as some may know, in his 2000 review of VERTIGO:
http://www.epinions.com/mvie-review-7EA ... 8256AE-bd1
If mido505 still maintained his attitude toward Miss Novak after a touch of hands with her such as mine, we should have to send him to that place Hitch reserved for Gregory Peck in SPELLBOUND (and perhaps later, for Jimmy Stewart's "Scottie" Ferguson)!
[Which suddenly reminds me, I see: Mido, sorry, but in your latest viewing of VERTIGO, you seem to have entirely missed Detective Scottie Ferguson's motivation: After accidentally contributing to the death of a subordinate in VERTIGO's opening sequence, Scottie is guilt-ridden. His vertigo is the symptom of an unrecognized deep depression, verging on psychosis. It should be clear that formerly he and Midge had a normal, very close long term relationship, which she is unsuccessfully trying to revive. Scottie is therefore a perfect mark for his ruthlessly conniving old friend, the equally controlling Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), who is plotting the death of his rich wife Madeleine, and inadvertently, the spiritual death of his country girl/paramour, Model Judy Barton. Both victim and victimizer, in the grip of circumstances, Scottie must act out his original psychological "murder" again and again. And of course, Judy must continue to play out her part, too. In answer to your question, mido505, in case VERTIGO is not all a nightmare/delusion, which is a possibility, I would think that, third time unlucky, Scottie would subsequently have been committed to a mental hospital.]
Harvey, much as I admire VERTIGO, I would not displace CITIZEN KANE by it for Best Picture Ever. I should think that CHINATOWN would be a better candidate because the film's similar VERTIGO theme is given a much broader application, and Jack Nicholson's Private-Eye Scottie-like anti-hero and John Huston's LA version of Gavin Elster are not so stylized. And of course, it has the advantage of another unhappy, much more primally exploited blonde character, Evelyn Mulwray, superbly portrayed by Faye Dunaway.
Now, to wrap things back up with "The Fountain of Youth," let me call your attention to a new movie, CHEMICAL WEDDING, by Film Editor Julian Doyle and Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden fame, which has recently been released in the UK. It immediately struck me that the prospect of Welles as Jimmy Stewart's Rupert in ROPE was joined in unholy matrimony within CHEMICAL WEDDING, a picture which is either being condemned as of execrable taste and execution, praised for being a return to Hammer Horror Film glory, dismissed as over-the-top Ken Russell-like fun -- or all three.
Briefly, CHEMICAL WEDDING relates how, in 1947, two young Cambridge dons witness in an English nursing home the apoplectic death of Aleister Crowley (John Shrapnell), the self-styled "Great Beast," writer, magician, charlatan, drug addict, sexual pervert of immense proportions, sometime British secret agent keeping tabs on Yanks, Nazis and Soviets. [Crowley is in the news again because of the long-time rumor that Barbara Bush, mother of Our President, was his 1925 love child by Pauline Robinson Pierce, free-spirited, cult-loving wife to Marvin Pierce, the Publisher of McCall's and Red Book magazines.] Sixty years later, the dons persuade a cybernetics genius, combining a super-computer with DNA brain matter, to reincarnate within the present day Great Beast Crowley, dressed in a violet velvet suit and fedora hat, who proceeds to recite his typical doggerel ["To pee or not to pee/That is the question] while urinating on hapless students. A young, red-haired Judy Barton-like beauty, ace reporter of the Cambridge student newspaper, gets hot on the case and . . . .
The perfect touch to this over-ripe sausage for us wellesnetters is that the reincarnated Aleister Crowley is played by our own Simon Callow, chewing scenery, co-eds, and anything else he can get his teeth into. [Most critics say, he is the best thing in the picture.] In any case, Callow may find it ethically difficult to continue to look down his nose at "Orson Welles the Ham Actor," in the next volume of his Welles' biography (which one writer says he hopes Callow will devote his ill-gotten CHEMICAL WEDDING salary to).