The 50 Movies Project is a personal “marathon” of mine. In June, I compiled a list of 50 movies that I felt I needed to see by the end of the year. Old, new, foreign, English — it doesn’t matter. These are all movies that I have heard a lot about and have been wanting to see for some time. This project gives me a way to stay focused on the goal.
Also, I am quite a bit ahead in this Movie Project at the moment, so I am going to be doing more 2-for-1 specials until I get caught up all the way. The project has been a blast so far, but it has become quite exhaustive to write full posts about each film. Hope you guys don’t mind!
The Exorcist [1973, Friedkin]
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
No idea what took me so long to finally watch this horror classic. I have had so many people tell me that this is the scariest movie ever made, and many friends refused to even watch it with me because of this. Something about demons and possessed children really gets under the skin, eh?
I liked the movie well enough, though I didn’t find it scary at all. I found The Exorcist to be more disturbing than anything — that little girl sure did some fucked up shit! Perhaps some of the effect has worn off due to all of the pop culture references over the years — there were a few scenes that I was quite familiar with beforehand, despite never having seen the film.
It took me a little bit to really get into the movie due to its slow pacing, but I feel that this helped with the character development. I cared about the characters, especially since the actors played them so convincingly. It was a real treat to see Ellen Burstyn this young, as I had previously only seen her in more recent titles such as Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain.
While not necessarily “scary”, The Exorcist still holds up today as a great film.
Vertigo [1958, Hitchcock]
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Man, I love Hitchcock. As I continue to move through his filmography, I become more and more impressed. The man knew how to tell a story while keeping the suspense growing and growing.
With Vertigo, James Stewart delivers another brilliant performance, this time starring as Scottie Ferguson, a police detective with a terrible fear of heights. After recovering from a tragic accident that left his partner dead, Scottie is hired to investigate an old friend’s wife (Kim Novak), who has been walking around as if in some bizarre type of trance. As he follows her around, the detective becomes obsessed with the woman, taking an unhealthy liking to her. Then, of course, in typical Hitchcock fashion, there’s a huge plot twist about halfway through that changes the course of the film.
What ultimately takes place is a dark and haunting love story, one that shows one man’s obsession with something he cannot have. The depths that Scottie goes to accomplish his dream are frightening, and at times it seems the only sane character is his friend Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes).
In short, this is another fantastic psychological thriller from the master of suspense, and it’s easy to see why it is always recognized as one of Hitchcock’s finest. From Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score to the wonderful plot twists and turns, Vertigo is exceptional.