At first sight the questions „What’s your favourite film?“ and „What is the greatest film of all times?“ seem identical. Thinking about it though they do actually differ quite a bit. I would for example say my favourite film is The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky, but agree that Tokyo Story by Ozu Yasujiro is better. Favourites can change from year to year but great films withstand social changes, they are often symbolic for a decade or generation of filmmakers and viewers and certainly important to the evolution of the art of film. Basically everyone can have their own personal favourite, but great films require a certain unanimous vote.
Since 1952 Sight & Sound conducts a worldwide poll to create a listing of the greatest films ever made. Every ten years the renowned film journal canvases critics, scholars and directors, producers and actors to determine what is currently considered the greatest film. For the last 50 years Citizen Kane was at the top of this list. So it came as quite a surprise that Orson Welles directorial debut is no longer the number one.
Read which film replaces the masterpiece in the recently released 2012 poll after the jump… The master of suspense Mr. Alfred Hitchcock is the heir to Welles and his 1958 masterpiece Vertigo now carries the title: The Greatest Film of All Time! James Stewart plays the retired detective Scottie who, despite suffering from acute acrophobia (fear of heights), agrees to shadow a friend’s strangely acting wife (Kim Novak). He quickly becomes dangerously obsessed with the blonde beauty, who seems to be suffering from some kind of strange delusion…
Paranoia and crime, illusion and delusion simply interlock perfectly in this twisted and complex thriller. Hitchcock outdid himself with colour coding, doubling of elements and hints to the viewer he most certainly will not pick up on during a first screening. The film really gets better with each time I watch it, because there is so much detail. Every scene, every piece of clothing, every angle seems to be chosen meticulously, the actors seem effortlessly choreographed and although the music isn’t what we are used to hearing anymore it blends in perfectly.
So although I’d agree more with the directors only poll, which put Tokyo Story first (Vertigo comes at 8th rang), Vertigo certainly deserves to be up there!