I’ve been on the Vertigo Home Video Upgrade Journey for God knows how many years. I’ve been watching it theatrically since forever. At least eight or ten times since the early ’70s. I remember my first viewing of Robert Harris and Jim Katz’s 1996 70mm restoration on the Universal lot. I remember looking at a DVD version on a high-def monitor at Tower Video about 20 years ago and thinking “wow, that really looks amazing.” Little did I know. And then came the Bluray improvements in 2012…wowed all over again.
Last night I watched the new 4K Vertigo, and I was thinking over and over “Jesus, this is soooo beautiful…so much more vibrant and alive than what audiences saw in 1958…hell, that even Hitchcock himself saw in the Paramount lot screening room.”
The details are to die for…the penetrating, half-glowing colors, the soothing greens, deep blues, reds (especially the walls inside Ernie’s) and creamy ambers in Midge’s apartment…the bizarre unreality of James Stewart‘s brownish-gray toupee, the eyeliner underneath his baby blues and that beyond-weird aubergine suit (I described it years ago as “a mood suit, solid brown in sunlight or shaded-sunlight scenes and aubergine-tinted when he’s indoors”), the astonishing granular details, the hair and wardrobe fibres, the textures in the adobe walls lining San Francisco’s Mission Dolores and especially Mission San Juan Batista…I could go on and on.
How will it look when I watch it in 8K on my 85-inch home screen, four or five years from now? Bigger, of course, but better than what I saw last night? Doubtful.