» » Obsessed with Vertigo (1997)

Short summary

A documentary about the making and restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece "Vertigo". Narrated by Roddy McDowall, with behind-the-scenes talk from Barbara Bel Geddes, Henry Bumstead, Robert A. Harris, Patricia Hitchcock, James C. Katz, Kim Novak, Peggy Robertson and Martin Scorsese. Brings fresh perspective, not just to the film and the director, but to the Fifties Hollywood as well.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Tehn
    Chronicling the restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's masterwork "Vertigo", we get background information and amazing behind-the-scenes photographs and gossip about one of the greatest films ever made. I loved getting to see those rare pics of Hitch in San Francisco, and that original cover of the French novel "D'entre les Morts", upon which "Vertigo" is based, is stunning (try finding that in a pinch!). Roddy McDowall narrates in his inimitable, non show-offy way. The quick interviews with Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes and others are very enjoyable. Perfect for whetting the palate for a "Vertigo" viewing, so put them both on (this one first) for a stylish, informative evening.
  • comment
    • Author: Vudozilkree
    This short documentary about the 1996 reconstruction and restoration of Vertigo is definitely worth the view. It was originally aired on AMC, but is now included on the DVD and special edition VHS of Vertigo. The documentary has interviews with behind the scenes people from both the 1958 movie and the restoration, Hitch's daughter and a couple people from the cast are also interviewed. Many clips from the movie are shown and we follow Vertigo as it transforms from its working titles of "The Walking Dead" and "Listen Darkling" into the 1958 Vertigo and then as it transforms into a 70mm 1996 Vertigo. It is very good, but alas it could have been a little better. Still, I wish all of Hitch's movies came with a little history/crib note like this.

    Vote: 8 Viewed: VHS
  • comment
    • Author: Bele
    This documentary is incredibly informative, both about the movie Vertigo and the restoration in 1996. Two small complaints: - The restorers are some of the most unitnteresting people on the face of the earth. - The use of the spiral effect in the opening sequence of the documentary is just way too cheap of a rip-off of the original movie. It was not necessary at all. All those small things a side, this is required viewing for any Hitchcock buff or any lover of movies.
  • comment
    • Author: Ttexav
    When people talk about "Vertigo" today, many consider it a contender for Hitchcock's best film, so it is still very present in the media and spotlight in general. And of course it is also still present when it comes to film about film, a genre itself and here we have a half-hour documentary about the movie I just mentioned. I have seen other documentaries about Hitchcock's films and there were some that I did not end up enjoying at all, but this one here was pretty decent. I found it informative and sometimes even intriguing. We get interview footage with some of the actors or other people who worked on the film and we also find out about casting struggles when it came to Hitch's health and the female lead role. This is how documentaries about really old films should be like. And I wish many others were like this too. Harrison Engle and all the other people working on this one did a fine job. I also think it is good that it was that short as it may have dragged a bit if the action had become less interesting and spot-on. But this way, we have great focus, great scenes and recordings. I give it a thumbs-up. Go see it. A must-see for bigger Hitchcock fans for myself almost.
  • comment
    • Author: Minnai
    Obsessed with Vertigo (1997)

    *** (out of 4)

    Pretty good documentary about the 1997 re-released of Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO, which was returning to theaters after two years worth of restoration that ended up costing over a million dollars. Experts Robert Harris and James Katz did the work on the film and this documentary takes us on a tour of what all they had to do in order to save the film and return it to its glorious look. Scattered throughout their story is another story involving the making of the film and its lasting impact on people. Pat Hitchcock tells some stories about the making of the film as does Samuel Taylor who wrote the screenplay. Assosiate producer Herbert Coleman, production manager Doc Erikson, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes are also interviewed and share a few stories of their own. Martin Scorsese is also on hand to talk about the first time he watched the movie and how it really became an obsession to him over the years. He also talks about how rare it was for a filmmaker to be able to make such a personal film and especially in this era. Other stories include how the film wasn't a hit when released and why it took several years for it to finally catch on. Overall there's nothing ground-breaking here but the stories told are extremely entertaining and fans should enjoy hearing them. The stuff dealing with the restoration was a major plus as it really gives you a great idea of what it takes to fully restore a film to its original glory. There are several examples shown of how the film looked like in its 1983 re-release and what they were able to do for it in 1997.
  • comment
    • Author: Nicanagy
    This is the only featurette on the DVD of Vertigo. It consists of interviews with the duo who were in charge of the restoration(and footage of them working on it, as well as storyboards, posters and shots of the dubbing notes and such), Scorsese(whose fascination with the director is readily apparent in his own movies, and he has important things to say about this picture) and the surviving crew and cast, some of whom also contributed to the great commentary track. Everyone has something to share, if, as others have noted, the 2 who gave us an opportunity to watch this in its proper form again are dreadfully boring. This is very informative, as they go into sets, costumes, the pre-production process and how personal it was for Alfred, and how he went about it. It is a love-fest for both him and the film, however, which gets a little annoying(at points in this, every other word is "revolutionary" or "amazing"... I just think it's more interesting to hear *why* they deem it so, anyone can drop loaded adjectives), and they ignore the elephant in the room(the considerable age difference between the two leads, Stewart not particularly portraying a similar role elsewhere), instead of addressing them(middle-aged men are attracted to young women and sometimes the opposite is true too, and James is convincing and takes us by surprise by playing against type, are my arguments, respectively). In any event, this is good. I recommend it to any fan(note that this documentary contains spoilers) of the masterpiece or the man behind it. 7/10
  • comment
    • Author: Tat
    . . . is not quite perfect, but neither is the James Stewart vehicle itself. Hitchcock clapboard sniffers, some of whom number among the talking heads here on OBSESSED WITH VERTIGO, apparently feel no qualms about going "Tee-hee-hee, wasn't 'ol' Hitch a bad boy for using such a lame dummy to represent the REAL Madeleine being tossed from the bell tower," or "Ha ha ha, ain't that Hitch something for putting Kim Novak in a gray suit which she knew clashed with her blonde hair?", which I suppose could be taken as a refreshing change from my literature prof who claimed THE GREAT GATSBY was the world's PERFECT book, and "not one word could be changed with causing the Great Pyramids to collapse." The fact is, it would make more sense to tell us what's GOOD about a flick than to try to justify the quirky use of stage conventions from the 1800s in movies made a century later as being strokes of genius somehow. Most of us were not born yesterday.
  • Cast overview:
    Roddy McDowall Roddy McDowall - Narrator (voice)
    Robert A. Harris Robert A. Harris - Himself - 'Vertigo' Restorer
    James C. Katz James C. Katz - Himself - 'Vertigo' Restoration Producer
    Martin Scorsese Martin Scorsese - Himself
    Patricia Hitchcock Patricia Hitchcock - Herself (as Pat Hitchcock)
    Herbert Coleman Herbert Coleman - Himself
    Samuel A. Taylor Samuel A. Taylor - Himself (as Samuel Taylor)
    C.O. Erickson C.O. Erickson - Himself (as C.O. 'Doc' Erickson)
    Peggy Robertson Peggy Robertson - Herself
    Kim Novak Kim Novak - Herself
    Barbara Bel Geddes Barbara Bel Geddes - Herself
    June Van Dyke June Van Dyke - Herself
    Henry Bumstead Henry Bumstead - Himself
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