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Universal/1958/128m/WS 1.85:1

     The beautiful restoration of Vertigo, an absolutely gorgeous DVD from Universal,  is a revelation for me. It’s like the great wine that you’ve tasted and couldn’t understand why everyone was raving about it; then one day you are lucky enough to return to another bottle of the same vintage wine and it blossoms into a rose. All the Hitchcockian elements are realized with the pristine clarity of DVD images. The Bernard Hermann score has been electronically spruced up and is simply outstanding. Never before have the sound and image of Vertigo combined to produce the startling hypnotic power of the film.
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Getting to know you in VertigoŠUniversal

     The best example of Vertigo’s brilliance is the extended sequence when Scotty trails Madelaine. The long, method, investigation by Scottie is presented by Hitchcock without dialogue. With the aid of Hermann’s grand score, the pictures tell the story eloquently, culminating in Madelaine’s dramatic plunge into the waters of San Francisco Bay. The choice of images, the variety of locations, and the superlative pacing of this sequence alone makes Vertigo a worthy viewing choice. And somehow, with the truer colors now restored the complex story line too becomes more vivid. The plot still is convoluted, but maybe the appreciation for this great series of scenes relates to a more mature point of view. The kid that first saw Vertigo longed for more action and maybe just a little blood, but the beauty of the San Francisco locales, Kim Novak and Hitchcock’s great eye for beauty of all sorts is captivating this time around.
     James Stewart’s performance as Scotty Ferguson is typically understated and brilliant. I am never quite sure what’s going through his mind, what motivation drives him to uncover the mystery of Judy after Madelaine’s death. Stewart strides atop an unsteady picket fence with grand poise, ever garnering the sympathy of his audience. Kim Novak is a fortuitous replacement for Vera Miles, Hitchcock’s original choice for the role. Novak took on the dual role of Madelaine/Judy when Miles inconveniently became pregnant. It turned into Novak’s best screen turn. Novak is an actress that exudes mystery. Her features add up to a beautiful woman, but they are somehow overstated as well. A fragility about her presence is a perfect match for Vertigo.     
     Universal has mounted Vertigo in a special edition release worthy of its pedigree. Complimenting the beauty of the restored film is an excellent second audio commentary from the Vertigo restoration team of Robert Harris and James Katz, associate producer Herbert Coleman, screenwriter Samuel Taylor. Many aspects of the challenge of the restoration are explained scene specifically in the commentary. Critical decisions involving the character of the film were involved in finding the truth to the restoration. A special produced by American Movie Classics for cable chronicles the restoration process and stands out as a call for preservation of our film heritage. The special, however, doesn’t go far enough in documenting the awesome task of restoration. An alternate European "censorship" ending is included as well as several theatrical trailers. Story boards reveal how closely Hitchcock envisioned his finished films.
     Vertigo adds up to enormous fun. It’s a classic Hitchcock mystery brilliantly produced and directed. DVD is the best platform to retrace some of your favorite Vertigo sequences. Vertigo is  wonderful on DVD.  Color accuracy viewed through DVD component outputs is nothing short of superb. Hitchcock's subtle pallette reflected in the important restoration by the Harris/Katz team achieves perfection. The added resolution on DVD sharpens up some a couple of scenes that were marginally soft on laser.   This is  is first rate transfer all the way.  Dolby Digital 5:1   effects create the perfect surrounding ambiance and the  wonderful. Bernard Hermann music has never fared as well. A definite must for every DVD collection!