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Commenting on the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo, Martin Scorsese has said it's "like being drawn into a very beautiful, comfortable, almost nightmarish obsession." (What the hell does he know? Just kidding.) Filmed in San Francisco and based on the French novel D'Entre les Morts (From Among the Dead), Vertigo is about an acrophobiac detective who is investigating the strange activities of an old friend's wife. Actually, Scorsese is spot-on. Obsession is, in fact, a key element along with mystery, deception and suspense (the usual ingredients of any great Hitchcock film). Bernard Herrmann's score is, as always, perfect, and with the star power and skilled acting of Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes, you've got the makings of a film for which the word "classic" is not an overstatement. More than once, people fall to their deaths in Vertigo. But you'll be falling, too — falling for a work of compelling cinema that is one of Hitchcock's very best.
Wed., Jan. 5, 7 p.m., 2011

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