Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vertigo: not as good as Rear Window

At least according to this humble Mouse.  Last summer I surprised myself by really enjoying Rear Window - I'm generally not a James Stewart fan, finding him too mush-mouthed and limp to be an effective leading man (would rather have a tooth pulled than watch It's a Wonderful Life, frankly), but he pulled it off for me in RW and his chemistry with Grace Kelly was lovely, despite his being 20+ years older than she.

In Vertigo, however, made just four years after Rear Window, Stewart is not just a mushy-tongued fellow, he's creepily obsessive in his infatuation with Kim Novak's character and the 25 year age gap here seems conspicuous (and also creepy - I felt no sympathy for him whatsoever).  Vertigo's characters were not drawn so deeply as in Rear Window - poor Barbara Bel Geddes gets abandoned with no real finish to her little storyline - and I did not find the mystery very exciting or suspenseful.

So what am I missing here?  These are supposed to be two of Hitchcock's masterpieces and yet I felt one fell far short of the other.  What do you guys think?  How do these two movies stack up for you?

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