Alfred Hitchcock had his share of classics, and I confess that there are one or two I prefer to this one. But when talk comes around to the greatest movies of all time, Vertigo is usually a prime contender. Jimmy Stewart’s performance may stand as a career best, and Hitchcock’s incursion into forbidden and frankly terrifying corners of the human psyche will haunt you for days. Vertigo opened 60 years ago today in 1958.
A number of young actors have made a splash by winning or being nominated for Oscars at an age when most of us are worried about how hard the driver’s test will be. But none were younger that Tatum O’Neal who, at the tender age of 10, scored a Best Supporting Actress Oscar opposite her real-life dad Ryan in Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon, playing a father-daughter team of con artists. Among the actresses O’Neal beat was Madeline Kahn, whose career spiked after her tart performance here as a Depression-Era call girl. The film opened today in 1971.
The other notable film that opened today has the singular honor of iconic pop culture status despite being demonstrably horrible. The original Friday the 13th started out as a quick-fix attempt to cash in on the superior chills of Halloween: made on a microscopic budget and raking in the cash thanks to its signature gimmick. It has its adherents (as does the franchise it spawned), and its signature gross-out moment features a very young Kevin Bacon getting an arrow through his throat, but by objective standards, the film itself is just terrible. It opened today in 1980.