Is Hitchcock's Vertigo The Best Film Ever Made?!
Article by Aaron Haughton
The Sight & Sound critics poll that takes place once every decade is regarded as the most trusted guide to cinema's greatest. The long-reigning champion of nearly 50 years, the monolithic classic Citizen Kane, was toppled in the last vote back in 2012 to Hitchcock's Vertigo, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in early May of this year. With this in mind, it has us questioning if Vertigo is really the crème de la crème.
It's easy to see the attraction critics have to Hitchcock's San Francisco set film — it's filled with all his signature stamps, boasts a groundbreaking camera trick, and a classic Hitchcockian twist; however, it it really Hitch's best and most deserving work?
Well, if we go off influence and groundbreaking quality, we have to tip our hat to the film that Hitch would release 2 years after Vertigo, the psychological horror staple: Psycho. 1960's Psycho is nearly a perfect film, only faltered by its crummy shoehorned explanation of the killer's psychological motivation. As critic Roger Ebert expressed in his assessment of the film, if an alternate edit could be made that would remove most of the psychiatrist's assessment, the film would nail the coffin with regard to flawless perfection. Even then, the use of the MacGuffin in Psycho is next level and shattered how we viewed narrative structure.
The film is probably Hitchcock's most well known, and its clear influence on future filmmakers is unparalleled by none of his other works. Or so you would think.
The director's poll taken at the same time lists Yasujiro Ozu's classic Tokyo Story as its number 1, clocking in Hitch's Vertigo at number 7, following 2001: A Space Odyssey, Citizen Kane, 8½, Taxi Driver, and Apocalypse Now respectively. So, it would seem that despite Psycho's far reaching influence that directors are still in alignment that Vertigo is Hitchcock's crowning achievement.
If a Hitchcock film has to be biggest for the best film of all time, our vote is still for Psycho, mangled ending or not, but we're curious to hear know your thoughts.
Is Vertigo Hitchcock's best film? Does it deserve to be dubbed the best film ever made? What's your vote for best film ever made? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!