Tuesday, January 8, 2013

#1 vs. #2 and I'm Not Referring to Notre Dame vs. Alabama

In 2012, Sight and Sound film magazine released its Greatest Films of All Time list as selected by film critics.  Revised every 10 years, the 2012 version was notable for a change atop the list.  Since 1962 (five consecutive polls), Citizen Kane had held the top spot.  In the 2012 poll, Vertigo took the #1 spot while Citizen Kane fell to #2.  The two films swapped poll positions from 2002 to 2012.

I saw both films at the Castro Theater in 2012.

Citizen Kane starring Orson Welles; directed by Orson Welles; (1941)
Vertigo starring Jimmy Stewart & Kim Novak; directed by Alfred Hitchcock; (1958)

I don't have much to add to the volumes written on these two films.  I've seen both films several times.   In fact, I have seen both films at the Castro Theater before.  I gained no new insight from these viewing although I enjoyed both film.  Vertigo & Citizen Kane stand up well to repeated viewings.

Vertigo isn't my favorite Hitchcock film.  I have read Jimmy Stewart's character is close to Hitchcock's own feelings towards his leading actresses.  It's unhealthy to say the least but it is so twisted as to be amusing at times.  The San Francisco and greater Bay Area locations also make the film particularly interesting to me.

As I learned from Hitchcock & various other sources, Vera Miles was originally cast as the lead actress in Vertigo.  She backed out due to pregnancy so Kim Novak was cast in the career defining role.  Many feel Novak was miscast but I thought she held her own.  She does better as Judy than Madeleine but I think Judy is the better part.

I have even less to add about Citizen Kane.  I find it interesting that the lead characters in both films are based on real people (William Randolph Hearst in the case of Citizen Kane).  The films show the flaws in these two men which makes for better entertainment and according to critics, better art.  I recall reading somewhere that great characters requires a flaw.  If the character were to achieve perfection, the audience could not identify and appreciate the character or the performance.

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