When I think of Kim Novak, I have two initial thoughts: the first is the fact that when she started dating Sammy Davis Jr., the then-Studio Head of Columbia Pictures and well-known total asshole Cohn threatened Mr. Davis–to his face–that if he didn’t break things off with her and marry the first black woman he could find who was interested (the rotten prick started off by threatening to ‘put out his one good eye’, and blinding him as he’d already lost the one eye in a car accident by then. Wedding bells rang ASAP. Wish that wasn’t what always, er, jumps to mind at the mention of her name, but her unforgettable performance in Vertigo comes along with it and quickly wipes the first thought out.
I also remember watching Vertigo for the first time in a theater as a teenager, at a really cool revival movie theater who showed different movies every day. Some bigger ones and premieres got one week, but most just got a day. We sat in the front row of the balcony and she proceeded to blow me away; I actually thought two different actresses played Madeline and Judy up until after I saw it and someone pointed it out to me. I remember that it was a weekend matinée, and there were lots of other teenagers there. Many audience members, including my date (who had his arm around me at the time), actually SCREAMED in a high voice during this, er, jump scene. Take a look below the SPOILER ALERT…
Although this happens in the middle of the movie, SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen Vertigo (which you really should do).
Happy 81st birthday, Ms. Novak!