When Brian De Palma Kind of Made ‘Vertigo’


Geneviève Bujold and Cliff Robertson in Brian De Palma’s “Obsession.”

Columbia Pictures/Photofest, via Metrograph

Brian De Palma has never made a secret of his reverence for Alfred Hitchcock. “Obsession,” his underappreciated, glossy 1976 homage to “Vertigo,” is a high point of a De Palma retrospective at the Metrograph that runs through June 30.

In the twisty diabolical mystery, Cliff Robertson plays a wealthy New Orleans businessman devoured by guilt after the deaths of his wife, Elizabeth (Geneviève Bujold), and their daughter in a bungled car chase with their kidnappers. Fifteen years later, on a trip to Florence, he revisits the church where he and Elizabeth met and finds her near-double (Ms. Bujold), whom he courts and tries to transform into Elizabeth.

As history begins to repeat itself, the film, based on an original script by Paul Schrader, takes extremely emotional hairpin turns that Hitchcock would never have dreamed of. A surging Wagnerian score by Bernard Herrmann, the composer for “Vertigo,” is the luscious icing on the cake. (Thursday, June 9; 212-660-0312, metrograph.com.)

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