Approx advert and trailer run time: 25m
Film run time: 2hr 2m
A failure on its original release, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece has since gathered acclaim as the proverbial greatest film ever made.
After inadvertedly causing the death of a colleague, acrophobic detective Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) retires from the police force, but is lured onto another assignment by an old friend, who claims that his wife, Madeline (Kim Novak), is possessed by an ancestor’s ghost.
Scottie tracks her across San Francisco and soon falls in love, but Madeline’s predicament proves to be more complex than it seems and threatens to engulf them both. Starting as a neat and theatrical detective plot, the film grows into a beautiful and unsettling love story, which meditates on the nature and morality of fantasy (and film itself) without ever losing dramatic momentum or interest.
The full effect of the film’s many meanings may only come to light on repeated viewings – but if you have never seen it, there can be no better place to start than in a cinema.