The French-American film Round Midnight, directed by Bertrand Tavernier and starring my late husband, Dexter Gordon, as a jazz musician in Paris in the late 1950s, premiered in New York City 30 years ago today. As I near completion of Dexter’s biography, Dexter Calling: The Life and Music of Dexter Gordon, memories of the film come flooding back. They are bittersweet, as many of the performers have since passed away, most recently Bobby Hutcherson (1941–2016), who died this past summer. Bobby plays Ace in the film and delivers one of its most memorable lines. In the hallway of the Hotel Louisiane, Ace is holding a bowl of jambalaya as Buttercup walks past. He says, about living in Paris, “It would be the best city in the world if I could just find some okra.” Dexter loved that line, and whenever he repeated it to Bobby, they would both burst out laughing.
Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece of sexual obsession, delivers enough perverse chills and thrills to get any viewer into a twisted state of mind. As a treat for New Yorkers wanting a seasonal taste of the macabre, Film Forum is showing this wickedly unhinged classic in a breathtaking new restoration the week before Halloween. Although Vertigo’s plot elements of murder, transformation and reincarnation—not to mention necrophilia—are staples of the horror genre, this movie is no Hammer slasher or Roger Corman quickie.