Originally Posted by R Harkness
I just can't get on board with Vertigo being the "greatest film ever."
I LOVE Hitchcock, but the last time I watched Vertigo it just left me sort of cold. Technically interesting, but odd and something I couldn't really get
attached to. Whereas something like North By Northwest exhibits Hitchcock's gorgeous cinematography, mighty technique, amazing casting and acting,
and story and characters who draw me in more than Vertigo.
As I stated in the op, Vertigo
is my favorite film and I definitely feel it stands among the half dozen Greatest movies ever made. But I also understand your point. But I must say this, I am of the camp that believes the "restoration" of the soundtrack and foley sound effects for Vertigo
a while back did no favors to that movie and, in fact, the sum of the modern day "tweaks", re-recordings and altered music cue dynamics, however minor each might seem, diminished the emotional impact of Vertigo
as a whole that borders on a desecration of it, imo. To be fair to Robert Harris who conducted much of the restoration, he has gone on record stating what he and his partner had done with the audio restoration, following as closely as possible Hitchcock's notes for cues and so on, were dropped just as the "restoration" was set for distribution and taken over by the studio/distributor. Not sure I understand everything about that but I've heard the upcoming first Blu-ray of Vertigo
will contain the "restored" version as Harris and company meant it to be according to Hitchcock's notes and not according to what we've got in circulation now.
I'm not talking about the visual restoration, only the soundtrack restoration. This has caused quite a controversy among some real fans of the movie. I felt the exact same thing you mention feeling about Vertigo
when I saw the "restored" version. There was just something missing that left me cold and, even worse, led me to feel a simpatico with those who thought it "boring" and "too slow", although it didn't mean I stopped loving it.
I chalked it up to having seen it so many times. But I had already seen it a couple of dozen times before the "restoration" and never felt this diminished emotional response to it. Then I heard there was one standard DVD version of Vertigo
that included the original, un-"restored" soundtrack and foley effects, the one in the Masterpiece Collection, the velvet box set. I already had that version so I played it all the way through with the original soundtrack option which, oddly, is found in the Languages section of the menu, not the "Set-Up" or "Audio" section. It was a revelation. The old feelings about Vertigo
returned and that's when I realized it was the "restored" soundtrack and foley that had somehow diminished what for me had been a much stronger response. Then I did a few A>B comparisons of key moments and it was amazing how much more lively, alive, tighter, clever, organic, informative, and emotional the old original soundtrack was compared to the "restored" one.
I've got my fingers crossed that the upcoming Blu-ray of Vertigo
will indeed include that original version or at least a much closer restoration of the original than we've got in the only version making the rounds in theaters and on DVD today, the "restored" version. Otherwise, I won't even bother buying it. Seriously. The difference between the original soundtrack/foley effects version and the "restored" version in terms of emotional impact is SO great, imo, that I refuse to recommend anyone see Vertigo
for the first time in any format other than that one Masterpiece Collection standard DVD of it with the original soundtrack option selected. And that includes the best theatrical presentations of it in the best theaters in town. To my ears, it is that different and diminished in impact.