is a film that rewards multiple viewings, a luxury it was not afforded upon its initial release. The 1958 thriller is one of the “Five Lost Hitchcocks,” films to which the director purchased the rights in order to prevent them from being screened without paying large royalty fees. After a second theatrical exhibition and some time on television, “Vertigo” disappeared from public view until a home video release in the 1980s. It was during this time out of the spotlight that the legend of the film grew among critics.
In the 1950s, in the pages of film magazine “Cahiers du Cinema,”
the French critics who would become the directors of the New Wave began the work of reevaluating Hitchcock. Through the eyes of Francois Truffaut, who published a book of interviews with the director, Hitchcock was turned into an auteur whose popular thrillers contained not just pure entertainment, but a synthesis of consistent themes and ideas that could be put into a broader context. It would be another twenty years or so before the rest of the Western world caught up to their assessment, but in 2012 Hitchcock had his revenge: That year, “Vertigo” supplanted “Citizen Kane” atop the international critics’ census of the greatest films of all time, a poll of film professionals compiled once every decade by “Sight and Sound” magazine.
"Vertigo" will be screened tonight at Riverdale 10 Cinema as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series, 7 p.m., $7.50.