Tuesday, August 27, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1958.  My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

This year features the Sight and Sound polls most recent choice for Best Picture of all-time!

And the nominees on the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die for 1958 are...
Man of the West
Touch of Evil
Cairo Station
The Defiant Ones
Ashes and Diamonds
Horror of Dracula
My Uncle
The Music Room
Some Came Running

And the winner for the Best Picture of 1958 is…Vertigo


I remember in the 1980’s The Screening Room in Atlanta showed several re-released Hitchcock movies, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window, Rope, The Trouble with Harry and Vertigo. I believe I went to see them all at the time. Four of these films star Jimmy Stewart and Vertigo may be the most critically acclaimed of the bunch today. (Though I need to see Rear Window again!).

Seeing it again now in a restored version it is a meticulously plotted, suspenseful film, built nicely to a dramatic climax. If you think about the plot too much, the setting up of the acrophobic Scottie Ferguson through the death (?) of the woman he loves might be a little far-fetched, but it hardly ruins the movie.

When Scottie finds someone who resembles his lost love, he tries to recreate her to look or be like her. Is he being a bully? Obsessive? Or is it actually his lost love? Scottie’s recreation of Judy is one of the best parts of the film.

William Goldman mentions in one of his books that he finds Vertigo an overrated film, but doesn’t say why. My guess is that he’s not buying into the plot.“1001 Movies” also mentions that the plot contrivances caused the film to not be a critical success at the time of release.

Overall, I got caught up in the film this time as much as I have during previous viewings. Few films show off a city better than this film shows off San Francisco. And few directors utilize music better than Hitchcock (through Bernard Herrmann’s score).

Interesting supporting performance from a young Barbara Bel Geddes as Stewart’s frustrated gal pal Midge. 

Note: The most recent edition of the ten year Sight and Sound poll lists Vertigo as the greatest film of all time, supplanting Citizen Kane in the number one spot for the first time in fifty years, so I'm guessing any Vertigo plot holes didn't bother the Sight and Sound panel.


And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1958 is...Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil

A Touch of Evil is Orson Welles's later film noir set on the U. S. Mexico boarder. There may be some plot points of this film that are a little sketchy, but the overall impact of the film is so strong and involving, I didn't care. And the long shot opening scene is classic. 

The movie stars Charlton Heston as a Mexican lawman and Janet Leigh as his American wife. But it is Welles himself as Police Captain Hank Quinlan that really steals the show. Quinlan is overweight, drunk, unprincipled and thinks himself above the law when he's on a case. As impressed as we might be with Welles the director, Welles the actor is pretty good too. He's got great roles for his supporting players here too, including: Dennis Weaver, Marlene Dietrich and Akim Tamiroff.

Touch of Evil

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