vertigo dethrones Kane


In the insular world of cineastes there is no more momentous event than the list of the best films of all time, which is curated every 10 years by the redoubtable Sight & Sound magazine of the British Film Institute. This year’s list, released in the August issue, represents a seismic shift. After occupying the No. 1 position since 1962, Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” (1941) was demoted to second place by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958). For decades “Citizen Kane” seemed to reign by default. Then a challenger appeared on the horizon. “Vertigo” made the list for the first time in 1982 and kept climbing. Movie critics are constantly asked, “What’s your favorite film?” I found it easy to reply “Citizen Kane,” hoping that my questioner’s eyes would glaze over and I could avoid a debate. Now I can say “Vertigo.” When I am told, “I’ve never seen what’s so great about it,” I can reply: “That’s fascinating from an autobiographical point of view.”

more from Roger Ebert at the WSJ here.