Artist director responds to Kim Novak Vertigo claim

Kim Novak Novak, now 78, appeared in Vertigo alongside James Stewart

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The director of The Artist has defended using music from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo in his Oscar-tipped film after a complaint from its star Kim Novak.

In a full-page ad in Monday's edition of trade paper Variety, the actress said "rape" had been committed with the use of Bernard Herrmann's score.

In a response, Michel Hazanavicius said The Artist had been "inspired by the work of Hitchcock" and other directors.

The spat coincided with the Frenchman's nomination for a Directors Guild award.

Woody Allen, David Fincher, Alexander Payne and Martin Scorsese are also lined up for its Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film prize.

The Artist, a homage to the silent film era that is largely silent itself, has been critically acclaimed and is expected to receive several Oscar nominations.

One of its stars, canine performer Uggie, is currently in the UK making television appearances.

The film is up for six prizes at this weekend's Golden Globes and is up for a host of other accolades.

Novak, 78, also said in the advertisement: "I feel as if my body - or at least my body of work - has been violated by the movie."

The statement was headed by the words: "I want to report a rape".

Michel Hazanavicius (r) with The Artist stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo Hazanavicius (r) has been promoting The Artist with its stars Jean Dujardin (l) and Berenice Bejo

"The film could and should have been able to stand on its own without depending upon Bernard Herrmann's score from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo to provide it more drama.

By featuring the music, she went on, the makers of The Artist, were guilty of "using emotions it engenders as if it were their own".

"Even though they gave a small credit to Bernard Herrmann at the end, I believe this to be cheating, at the very least."

The US composer, also known for his work on Psycho and Taxi Driver, died in 1975.

In his own statement, Hazanavicius said the Vertigo 'Love Theme' had been "used in many different films" and that he was "very pleased to have it in mine".

"I respect Kim Novak greatly and I'm sorry to hear she disagrees," he added.

This year's Directors Guild of America (DGA) awards recognise Allen, Fincher, Payne and Scorsese for Midnight in Paris, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Descendants and Hugo respectively.

The guild's main prize - won last year by The King's Speech director Tom Hooper - is viewed as a key indicator as to who will go on to receive the best director Oscar.

The DGA awards will be held on 28 January in Los Angeles, a month ahead of the Academy Awards.

The Artist, about a Hollywood silent star whose career is ruined by the emergence of 'talkies', is now on general release.

Released in 1958, Vertigo starred James Stewart as a San Francisco detective with a fear of heights who falls for Novak's blonde femme fatale.

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