After 50 years, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane has been supplanted by Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in Sight & Sound’s critics’ poll every decade of the world’s greatest movies (in conjunction with the BFI).
Misunderstood in its time for its daring experimentation, the 1958 psychological mystery of voyeuristic obsession and romantic disillusionment starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak has been climbing steadily in reputation for decades, and got a great boost in the ’90s when it was restored by Robert Harris and James Katz. It just so happens that Universal Home Ent. will include Vertigo as part of its upcoming Masterpiece Collection of Hitch titles on Sept. 25. Let’s hope the color will return in the new digital incarnation. Vertigo debuted on the list at number seven in 1982 and was second in 2002. The late Robin Wood and Andrew Sarris, two of its biggest supporters, would be proud.
Here’s the top 10 from the list of 50, equally divided between American and foreign movies, which includes three silents and one documentary. Tastes change in more ways than one with Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin getting knocked off the top 10.
1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)