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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Vertigo


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

As a puzzle focused on movie posters, some of the chosen films or versions of their posters featured on it are not necessarily top notch. None of this can be said about the amazing poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic psychological thriller, Vertigo. The great designer Saul Bass produced a wide array of promotional images for this Hitchcock masterpiece, but the above one sheet version has become one of the most famous and striking posters in film history.

However, Vertigo is much more than a great marketing campaign. The film was worked on by some of the legends of the art form, and it shows. Although the movie’s reputation had gained steadily over the years as film lovers continued to see it over and over, a dramatic million dollar restoration and re-release of Vertigo in 1996 allowed even larger numbers of people to fully appreciate the beauty of Hitchcock and company’s work on it. Despite mixed reviews on its initial release in 1958, it has become one of the standard members of any compiled list of the finest films ever made, and actually replaced the legendary Citizen Kane at the top of Sight & Sound’s 2012 critics list.

Join me below, and we’ll discuss this amazing poster and film. Oh, by the way, there will be enormous spoilers for the movie after the break, so if you haven’t seen Vertigo yet I’d recommend you go take care of that momentous lapse in judgement first and then come back and finish reading this article.
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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Rear Window


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

I want to mention two things before we proceed beyond the break to a discussion of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 suspense film Rear Window. First of all, I should let you know that discussion will necessarily include some spoilers for the movie, so if you haven’t seen it I would recommend that you go rectify that situation (it’s available for rent through iTunes) and then come back to read the rest of this article. It’s an immensely engaging and electrifying movie that any film buff should have under his or her belt.

Secondly, I have to say that the version of the poster for Rear Window included in the puzzle which is the inspiration for this entire series is pretty far from my favorite.
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August 13: Happy Birthday Paul Greengrass and Alfred Hitchcock


0813GreengrassHitchcock

Today’s headliners are a pair of prominent directors, one active and one from the past.

Paul Greengrass celebrates his 61st birthday today.  He got his start in British television, and also directed a couple of features during that period.  His well-received third film, Bloody Sunday, won several film festival awards for its depiction of some infamous events of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland.  Subsequently, he has become one of the primary cinematic chroniclers of the post-9/11 era, with films like United 93, Green Zone and Captain Phillips, and has received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Director.

Most people, however, probably know Greengrass best as the director of the action thrillers The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.  Among the most successful action films of the past 15 years or so, they are known for their relatively hard-edged tone, their long, elaborate car chase sequences, and their “shakycam” fight sequences, a style that Greengrass seems to make work better than anyone else:

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Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Did Not Love Women


Alfred Hitchcock

Joe Queenan liked to take on sacred cows.  We have already scene him scrutinize Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen.  In the August 1990 issue of Movieline magazine, the columnist took Alfred Hitchcock to task for repetitious themes, lazy plots and his creepy relationship with the fairer sex.

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