Vertigo is a 1958 suspense film directed by the celebrated Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. Filmed mostly in the San Francisco Bay area, it has gained in critical esteem since its first release and is now generally considered to be one of the best films of all time. Although Hitchcock was probably the world's most famous director at the time of its introduction and was at the height of his powers in the 1950s, Vertigo was not generally considered to be particularly outstanding at the time. Based on a novel by the French mystery writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, who had recently also written the novel that had been the basis of the noir film Diabolique, it begins as an ordinary investigation by a retired police detective hired by an old college acquaintance and gradually becomes a study of his obsessive love for a dead woman. Never considered, even by its admirers, to be highly probable in its story line, its suspenseful presentation, as well as its masterful on-location photography of iconic Bay Area sites such as Ernie's restaurant and the Muir Woods, were acknowledged from its first showing in San Francisco on May 29, 1958.