August 2, 2012 - 21:34 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo has replaced Orson Welles's Citizen Kane at the top of a poll that sets out to name one film "the greatest of all time," BBC News said.
The British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine polls a selected panel once a decade and Citizen Kane has been its top pick for the last 50 years.
This time 846 distributors, critics and academics championed Vertigo, about a retired cop with a fear of heights.
Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, Vertigo beat Citizen Kane by 34 votes.
In the last poll held 10 years ago, Hitchcock's 1958 thriller came five votes behind Welles's 1941 classic.
Its triumph coincides with the launch of the BFI's Genius of Hitchcock season, a major retrospective celebrating the acclaimed "master of suspense".
Vertigo, the film Hitchcock regarded as his most personal, sees the director tackle obsessional love, one of his recurring themes. It opens with police officer Scotty Ferguson, played by Stewart, retiring after his vertigo inadvertently leads to the death of a colleague.
He is then hired by an old friend whose beautiful wife - played by Novak - is behaving strangely.
As the story plays out against a San Francisco skyline, there are several revelations that challenge the audience's preconceptions about characters and events.
The film is famous for a camera trick Hitchcock invented to represent Scotty's vertigo - a simultaneous zoom-in and pull-back of the camera that creates a disorientating depth of field.
The visual, often imitated, has become known as a "dolly zoom" or "trombone shot". Like Citizen Kane, Vertigo received mixed reviews on release but has grown in stature as the years have passed.
The Sight and Sound list contains few surprises, with all of the films cited more than 40 years old.
Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story, from 1953, is ranked third - bettering its 2002 placement at five - while Jean Renoir's La Regle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game) drops one place, from three to four.