Great Art Bad Reviews Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo

About Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, a great work of art which was originally given bad reviews.


Hitchcock's Vertigo

The Work: English director Alfred Hitchcock released his most complicated film, Vertigo, in 1958. In it James Stewart plays a former detective who gave up his job because of his fear of heights. Kim Novak plays the strange woman he falls in love with.

The Critics Speak: Although French critics appreciated Vertigo's greatness, many American critics gave it a cold reception.

John McCarten wrote in The New Yorker: "Alfred Hitchcock, who produced and directed the thing, has never before indulged in such farfetched nonsense."

Arthur Knight wrote in Saturday Review that "technical facility is being exploited to gild pure dross," and that the film "pursues its theme of false identity with such plodding persistence that by the time the climactic cat is let out of the bag, the audience has long since had kittens."

Scoffed Time magazine: "The old master has turned out another Hitchcock-and-bull story in which the mystery is not so much who done it as who cares."

History Speaks: Many of the early critics have reversed their hostile or indifferent views of Vertigo. Many more critics and viewers think of it as Hitchcock's greatest film, and all agree that it is his greatest technical achievement.

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