Vertigo

I went out to the record store to look for videos.  I could have spent all afternoon there, but I checked only a few of the shelves.  I don’t know how many more DVDs I want to buy.  The night was going to get pretty cold, so I bundled up, and I took the bus out to the Paramount Theatre.  I walked over to the CVS and thought about what it would be like to work there.  I didn’t like the thought.  Quite a few people were lined up outside the theatre box office when it opened.  I bought my ticket and listened to the radio as I waited in the line to enter the building.  I headed for the balcony and settled into my seat, and I thought I might fall asleep before the organist started to play.  The theatre filled up, except for the seats very close to the screen.  The newsreel was from 1965 and showed LBJ’s inauguration, Martin Luther King’s march, houses in San Francisco falling down, and Winston Churchill’s funeral.  A Daffy Duck followed, along with previews for “On the Waterfront” and “The Hustler.”  The crowd was enthusiastic about the Dec-O-Win wheel, which they spun only three times.  I have seen “Vertigo” many times since its re-release in the 1980s.  I wondered about the change in the light inside and outside the bookstore.  I thought that one moment that felt artificial was Scottie touching hands with Madeleine as he reached for the coffee cup.  Another moment that struck me as unusual was Scottie helping Judy open her own door.  I thought that Judy would have been more familiar with the door, although the shot could have been showing how much time the two had been spending together.  The audience usually finds it hard to believe it when Scottie says to Judy that it can’t matter to you.  There is something underneath that line beside the controlling aspect.  I don’t know what everyone else thought, but it seemed to me that the sound system in the theatre made it extremely hard to hear the dialogue.  It sounded distant and echoing.  If I hadn’t already known what was going on, the movie would have been difficult to follow.  I liked the way that the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts looked in the film.  I thought about how Madeleine drove close to the bridge with no one else around except for Scottie.  This was a long time ago.  Judy must have had a lot of self-control to not reveal anything when she first opened the door and saw Scottie.  Maybe reality is being distorted in Scottie’s mind.  In the final cut, Elster and Midge disappear, and we don’t learn what happens to them, which adds to the mystery of the whole story.  You can look at part of the story as a reflection of the relationship between movie director and movie actress, although I like to think of it as falling in love with a false image, and seeing what you want in a person and being blind to flaws.  I would rate this as one of the Top 5 Alfred Hitchcock films, and perhaps Number One.  The movie ended at 10:43, and I was eager to get home quickly.  The Christmas tree was gone from the lobby.  I was fortunate that I did not have to wait long for a bus to take me home.  I arrived in time to watch the sports highlights on the news, and then the beginning of the Stephen Colbert show.  Some of the people who died on January 15 include Ray Bolger (1987), Sammy Cahn (1993), Harry Nilsson (1994), Minnesota Fats (1996), Junior Wells (1998), Susannah York (2011), Kim Fowley (2015), and Dan Haggerty (2016).  Today is a birthday for Margaret O’Brien (80).

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