Released 1958 (UK)
American, in English
Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Stars - James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Recently retired San Francisco PD detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (Stewart), suffering from a paralyzing fear of heights, is hired by an old college buddy to follow the buddy’s wife, Madeleine (Novak), who appears to be suffering from a mental break. Bel Geddes co-stars as Scottie’s friend, Midge.
Scottie is literally the least subtle detective on the planet (seriously, in the car he follows like less than one car length behind, stops every time she stops, noticeably follows her on-foot in deserted places and stares at her), so I figured that Madeleine was either laughably oblivious or that the whole thing was a set up. Therefore, the movie didn’t feel very suspenseful to me.
It felt slow. The numerous scenes of Scottie driving around were pretty boring.
The ending is a huge bowl of WTF.
The scenery is beautiful. I don’t remember SF looking that nice the one time I went there.
Stewart is fantastic, as always.
While the suspense was missing for me, I liked the ultimate explanation of what happened. It was sort of deliciously evil.
Shallow side note: holy wow, Barbara Bel Geddes was so pretty! And her character was about a billion times better than Madeleine. I had such a huge girl crush on her in this. I could have watched a whole movie of Midge and “Johnny” (her nickname for Scottie) bantering.
But alas, that’s not what this movie was about. Having now seen 4 Hitchcock movies in the last year or so (review for Notorious; reviews for North by Northwest and Psycho coming later as part of this project), I’m beginning to think I’m not much of a fan. Most of his movies start out really interesting to me, but the longer they go on, the less engaged I feel. My personal opinion is that they simply don’t hold together very well. That being said, I don’t think this is a bad entry to the list. It has quite a lot going for it, with magnificent scenery, great acting, and an interesting plot. It’s one of those films where, in a different mindset on a different day, I might think better of it, so I’m not going to judge it too harshly.
I give it 3.5 stars.