8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter
The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.
Once a decade, the U.K.'s Sight & Sound polls critics about the greatest movie of all time. The magazine recently announced an upset: Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo replaced Orson Welles' Citizen Kane atop the list. When released in 1958, the psychological thriller did so-so at the box office: Its domestic gross was $3.2 million. Although Hitchcock's legacy has taken some abuse lately with The Birds star Tippi Hedren describing the director as an "unusual genius, and evil, and deviant," Vertigo's Kim Novak, who was 25 when she starred in the film, says she never had a problem with Hitchcock. "I can't imagine him making a pass at anyone," says Novak today. "The nice thing about working with Mr. Hitchcock -- and he was Mr. Hitchcock -- was he never tried to get into your mind about how to interpret the character. He was obsessed with the character's exterior. You did the inside; he did the outside. He didn't even want to discuss it. If you asked him, he'd say, 'My dear, that is why I hired you as an actress.' " Around when the film was being made, Novak was having a platonic relationship with Sammy Davis Jr.; dating playboy Prince Aly Khan ("He taught me a lot about art. And he was a great dancer."); and seeing Dominican Republic dictator Gen. Ramfis Trujillo, who gave her a customized $8,500 Mercedes 220S ("It was like getting a box of chocolates from another man."). Novak, who left Hollywood in the early '60s, worked occasionally (most notably on Falcon Crest) until the early '90s and now lives with her veterinarian husband on an island horse ranch in Oregon, where, at 79, she rides daily. She was in the news during Oscar season when she decried as "rape" the use of Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo score in The Artist. "The music was part of Vertigo's identity," says Novak. "Hitchcock controlled every last ounce of detail in that movie."