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Plot: John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia, and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears… Runtime: 128 min Release Date: 03 Feb 1958
Starting in 1958, Alfred Hitchcock directed a remarkable sequence of films in a row, each of them a classic; Vertigo 1958 , North by Northwest 1959 , Psycho 1960 and The Birds 1963 . Never has a director made four such genuinely great movies in such a short space of time, either before or since.The pick of this high standard bunch is undoubtedly Vertigo. From the opening titles, with their circling spiral imagery, to the dramatic final scene this is a movie that takes you to a different time and place. Specifically, to a San Francisco of the past; full of deserted parks, discrete rooming <more>
houses, oddly menacing art galleries and florists where the customers enter and exit through the back door. Through this landscape wanders Jimmy Stewart, towering in the lead roll as a former detective recently retired after a bungled arrest leaves him with chronic vertigo. Plot machinations lead him to the alluring Kim Novak one of Hitchcock's famous "blondes" , the young wife of a friend who has started behaving rather oddly."To reveal more," as Leonard Maltin wrote, "would be unthinkable."While the performances of Novak and Stewart are memorable, the movie is really set apart by the intelligent script and the stylistic touches provided by the director. Hitchcock is in his very best form creating hypnotic scenes and a general sense of unease and dread in even the most banal of situations. He is aided in this by the wonderful score of Bernard Herrman. A particular favourite of mine is the extended largely silent segment where Stewart follows Novak for the first time. Nothing much happens, but the atmosphere of these scenes is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat!One of the all-time greats. They definitely don't make them like this anymore.
I have seen ALOT of movies in my life, but none have moved me the way Vertigo has...It's simply brilliant...the more times one views it, the more one picks up from it...a true masterpiece from the master himself...When I think Vertigo, I think the colors red and green...when I think Vertigo I think obsession with love, and the film itself...This movie is so deep that you could write a thesis on it and keep adding to it from time to time...Hitchcock really gave his all in this picture...it's about the ultimate love...wanting to achieve the ultimate love, and, as happens in life, never <more>
having love turn out to be the way we want it to be...all star performances by Stewart, Novak and Bel Geddes make this visually stunning masterpiece a true film classic...Newly restored, the DVD version simply blows you out of the water....I have seen the movie about 20 times now, and everytime I love it more...Vertigo is the ultimate cult film for me, as I keep going back to it more and more...considering it's dark storyline, it must be a glut for punishment, but Hitch only keeps me wanting more....10 stars...only because I can't give it 100 stars!
Over the years, this film has been regarded as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces. Its been called the most personal, emotional, and complex of Hitchcock's films. I agree with all of these things except for one, this film IS Hitchcock's masterpiece work. All of the others pale in comparison to this. There are phenomenal performances here by Jimmy Stewart who plays the biggest anti-hero of his career and Kim Novak whose stunning beauty and exceptional personalities shine through this dark film. Barbara Bel Geddes provides great support as well. Everything about this film, the <more>
cinematography, the story, the depth, etc. leaves you mystified and transfixed on this dizzying, surreal artwork of a film. It truly is flawless. If you are a Hitchcock fan and haven't seen this you need to get up right now and buy, not rent, this as soon as possible!
One of the many things that made Hitchcock such a great director is that he did not just stick to the same formula time after time; all of his best movies have their own unique feel and characteristics. "Vertigo" is particularly distinctive, both as a complex story filled with suspense, and as a fascinating study in psychological tension. While it lacks the humor of some of Hitchcock's other masterpieces, and sometimes moves rather slowly, it is unforgettable, and a great achievement by the director and his cast.If you have never seen it, you will enjoy it more if you do not <more>
know too much about the plot, although the actual story is somewhat secondary to the ways that the characters are tested and their weaknesses exposed by the various events. Hitchcock uses a complicated story, interesting characters, lavish visual detail, and deliberate pacing, plus a fine musical score by the incomparable Bernard Hermann, to produce a mysterious, almost unearthly, atmosphere. The tension rarely lets up, and the viewer is caught up completely in it, at times almost to the point of discomfort. It's the kind of film that repays careful attention, as almost every moment is filled with significant detail.There are also some great acting performances. Jimmy Stewart is outstanding in a role far different from his usual screen persona. He enables the viewer to sympathize completely with him, even as we cringe at many of his character's actions and decisions. Kim Novak is completely convincing in a difficult dual role, and the movie would not have been as compelling without her fine performance. The rest of the cast all have much smaller roles, but are all quite good too, especially Barbara Bel Geddes as Scottie's Stewart's old friend, who provides important insight into Scottie's character."Vertigo" is a classic by any standard. It's a must-see that remains just as impressive with each viewing.
Although it got at best mixed reviews when first released, Vertigo is now considered one of Alfred Hitchcock's classic films. A tribute to the players, the director, and the composer of that haunting musical score that will stay with you forever.The music is probably more important here than in most films, let alone most Hitchcock films. Because for most of the first half of the film and a great deal of the second half, it is without dialogue. In fact Kim Novak does not have a spoken line until about 48 minutes into the little more than 2 hour feature. She's under James Stewart's <more>
surveillance and the whole story of his growing obsession with her is told through his facial expressions and through Bernard Herrmann's music.Stewart is a cop retired on disability who is hired by an old college friend Tom Helmore to follow his wife. Helmore tells Stewart a tale about his wife falling under the spirit of her dead great grandmother who committed suicide. The wife he's following is played by Kim Novak. Novak in fact makes a suicide attempt and by jumping into San Francisco bay and Stewart jumps in and saves her.In a brief prologue the reason for Stewart's disability is told. While on the police force, he lost a man while pursuing the suspect in a rooftop chase. Another cop was killed trying to save Stewart who had slipped and was hanging on to a roof gutter for his dear life. After that Stewart acquired an understandable fear of heights with accompanying dizziness, vertigo.Later on at an old mission which has significance for Novak's family, Novak runs up to the top of the bell tower and Stewart because of his Vertigo can't pursue her to prevent her from jumping off and taking her life.Later on he spots Kim Novak again with a different color hair and this time essentially stalks her until they meet. By now he's totally obsessed with the dead Novak who he fell in love with.Alfred Hitchcock is plumbing some depths of the human psyche in Vertigo. Certainly good old all American Jimmy Stewart would not be one you would think of casting as a voyeur and a stalker. But he pulls off the performance in probably the film with the least dialogue Alfred Hitchcock ever made since sound came in.Kim Novak is hauntingly beautiful in Vertigo, she has to be or the whole plot would make no sense. Barbara Bel Geddes is in this also as Stewart's girl friend who finds herself losing him to an obsession with a ghost. She also serves as a sounding board for Stewart as he expresses some of his feelings to her.This was the first of two films Stewart and Novak made together. Ironically enough the second one, Bell Book and Candle, is about a witch played by Novak who actually uses witchcraft to ensnare Stewart. Given Stewart's obsession with Novak in Vertigo, if Hitchcock had thrown in witchcraft into the plot, the audience would certainly have believed it.Of course this is an Alfred Hitchcock film and therefore not all is as it seems. I can't sat any more, but there are no happy endings for anyone in this haunting film.
"I know, I know. I have acrophobia, which gives me vertigo, and I get dizzy." Scottie to Midge (by TxMike)
Although it was only modestly successful in theaters, time has been kind to VERTIGO and now many believe this is Hitchcock's masterpiece. Time was NOT kind to the original prints of the film, and in the mid-1990s Universal Studios put up one million dollars for a two-year restoration of the film. This is covered completely in a fairly fascinating 29-minute extra on the DVD, originally broadcast as an A&E special. The entire original film-making process is covered, the movie was first called "From Among The Dead", and includes current interviews with many principals, <more>
including Novak and Bel Geddes, plus the techniques used for the restoration. This special edition DVD should be a must-own for any fan of the film VERTIGO. The sound and picture are just fabulous for a film made in 1957.My review, following, contains certain SPOILERS which are necessary for my summary. Please read no further if you have not seen the film. Watch the film first, you will not be disappointed.The film starts with cops chasing a crook on SF rooftops, Scottie James Stewart, 49 misses one roof, is hanging high from a gutter, cop returns to offer assistance, but instead falls to his death. This traumatic experience triggers the vertigo in Scottie, makes him unsuited for police work, he quits, and Midge Barbara Bel Geddes tells him only another emotional shock will bring him out of it. Midge, an artist, not so secretly wants Scottie, but while they are good friends, he just doesn't love her.Old college friend, wealthy shipbuilding magnate, hires Scottie to follow his wife who had been acting strangely. He meets Madaleine Kim Novak, 24 and follows her to find that she visits the grave of Carlotta, who died at 25 in 1857, also visits the portrait of Carlotta at the art museum, has "visions" of being in a Spanish mission, all indications are that the dead Carlotta is taking over Madaleine's mind. While following her, saving her from a jump into SF Bay, and keeping her from jumping into the Pacific, Scottie is falling in love with her, the first time he has had such feelings.Scottie feels he needs to take Madeleine to the old mission 100 miles south of SF to free her of this possession, but instead she climbs up the mission bell tower, Scottie is unable to follow quickly enough, his vertigo holding him back, he hears a scream, sees what looks like Madeleine's body falling to the red tile roof below, dead. A quick inquest ruled it a suicide, the friend gets out of shipbuilding, travels, while Scottie tries to get over his great loss, his first ever love, includes a stay in a mental hospital.Not too long after, Scottie sees a woman remarkably similar to Madeleine walking to her residence, a hotel, he follows her, knocks on the door, she is dressed differently, has different color hair, a different personality, speaks differently, and says she is Judy, from Kansas, has lived there 3 years, even shows Scottie her ID to prove it. But Scottie has not gotten over Madeleine, is obsessed with recreating her, asks Judy to dress like her, get her hair colored, all the while Judy just wishes Scottie would like her for who she is, not because she looks like someone else. But she gets completely back to the Madeleine look, same clothes, same hair color.By now we have seen through Judy's flashback what is really going on. The wealthy husband had hired Judy to impersonate his wife, Madeleine, and had set up the incident at the mission so that he could shove the already dead wife off, Scottie would be the manipulated witness that she had climbed the stairs and jumped off, and after being paid off, Judy could resume her life. To her detriment, he also gave her the heirloom, Carlotta's necklace, and her wearing that is what got Scottie suspicious of the whole scheme. He catches on, brings Judy back to the mission, they climb to the bell, a nun approaches to see what is going on, Judy panics and falls to her death on the roof. Scottie no longer was in love with her, feeling lied to and manipulated, he has no emotion, but goes to the edge of the ledge and looks down, his vertigo gone. The emotional shock that Midge spoke of has cured him.The story is a tragedy of two lives that only through misfortune become intertwined, Scottie's and Judy's. He is not young, now retired, and had never found true love. In Madeliene he thinks he found it, only to be shocked then disillusioned when the full truth came out. When Judy died, he was back where the film started. Maybe Midge was the one after all. Judy was very flawed, enough to participate in a murder plot and feel no apparent guilt over it. All she wanted was to be loved by Scottie, but a relationship built on fraud has no chance, especially since Scottie was an honest man.James Stewart is known for his ability to play an "everyman" character, and is superb as Scottie. Kim Novak is a bigger mystery. She was not the first choice for the role, received it virtually by default, but after watching the movie it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the dual roles of Madeleine and Judy, she pulls it off so well. A big bonus is her commentary on the making-of extra, seeing her after all these years. She was only 24 when Vertigo was filmed, but she looked 40, a glamorous and beautiful 40. Actresses today who are 24 often still play teenagers. How things have changed in the movies!
Vertigo is a special kind of film. This is because it doesn't follow the usual way a film is presented to the viewer. Rather than having the main suspense near the end of the film, Vertigo has this high level of suspense at both the end and middle of the film. Few could have pulled this off quite as well as Hitch.I really liked this film in the stylish way it was presented. Time is not overly spent getting into the characters here, they are simply presented for who they are leaving the judgement up to the viewer. The "Vertigo" special effect and the nightmare sequence were done <more>
like nothing I have ever seen for a film of this time and are enchanting and timeless. The plot and storyline of this film are both original and not cliched. The audience is taken by surprise during the middle of the film and from there on the film becomes even more suspenseful.Jimmy Stewart put another of his great performances into this film and played well opposite Kim Novak's dark and confused character. Stewart shows the full range of emotions as he is taken by the alluring Madeline Novak and is driven to a deep depression. Novak had been criticized for playing her role too darkly which is a claim I find completely unfounded. For a woman who is going through so much stress or at least we are to believe that , she plays as well as this role could have been done. The interesting thing about the performances in this film is how much time Stewart and Novak are on the screen. For 95% of the film, there is not another character to add anything else to the plot. Other than Barbara Bel Geddes, who gives a short, supporting performance, the film revolves around the realtionship between Ferguson Stewart and Madeline.I must say that I enjoyed this film just as much as Rear Window and would even put this one above North by Northwest. Hitchcock does suspense so well and is quite obvious to see why he is imitated so much. A recommendation to all.8/10 stars.
Unforgettable and fascinating film about a retired police falling in love with a strange woman (by ma-cortes)
Classic and haunting suspense by the master himself , Hitchcock , dealing with tragic events when an ex-cop keeps an eye on a gorgeous woman . Genuinely great movie focuses a San Francisco ex-detective James Stewart suffering from acrophobia , fear the heights , as he is contracted to shadow an old chum Tom Helmore 's wife . He investigates the rare activities of an old friend's spouse, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her . He finds himself eventually falling in love with her Kim Novak , then , tragic drama and fateful events stark . The first part of this <more>
extraordinary production results to be slow-moving ; however , the rest takes off at fast speed . Hitch plays on the senses and keeps the suspense and action in feverish pitch . All the elements for a suspenseful evening are in place and things move at an intelligent pace . The story is typical Hitch fare , an issue of fake identity and treason that embroils a man in suicide and murder . Hitch had one of most charming actors of all Hollywood as James Stewart stars a detective who has acrophobia , he also played ¨Man who knew too much¨ and ¨Rear window¨. Furthermore , a marvelous Kim Novak at her best . Good secondary role from Barbara Bed Geddes as eternal girlfriend and Henry Jones as judge . As usual , Hitch's cameo as man walking . Samuel Taylor screen-written from the interesting novel ¨From among the dead¨ by Pierre Boileau . Colorful cinematography in dreamlike style by Robert Burks , Hitch's ordinary . Very good sets and production design by Henry Bumstead and Hal Pereira . Riveting and thrilling musical score by Bernard Herrmann who composed various masterpieces for Hitch as ¨North by Northwest¨, ¨Psycho¨ , ¨Wrong guilty¨ and ¨The trouble with Harry¨Vertigo is one of Hitch's most stylish and discussed films and will keep you riveted and excited until the edge-of-your-seat . Indispensable seeing this quintessential Hitch movie , demanding numerous viewings .
Hitchcock was on a roll during that period. Vertigo is one of his most celebrated films, even though it's modeled after Rebecca in that it's 3 films rolled into one: a love story, a metaphysical thriller, and a suspense drama. Nevertheless, the difference between the Hitchcock of 1940 and the Hitchcock of 1958 is vast. The Hitchcock of Vertigo is a much more elaborate director, that dwells on the human psyche to fill the canvas. The human psyche is the protagonist, the suspense is just the background, or even a detail. Vertigo is a major work and an essay on neurosis and repressed <more>
desire.The plot: John Ferguson is a retired detective suffering from acrophobia. A rich old friend Gavin Elster hires him to investigate the activities of his wife Madeleine , who he believes is being possessed by the spirit of a dead ancestor Carlotta Valdes . After seeing Madeleine, Ferguson agrees. Later on, we see that Madeleine half-lives in Carlotta Valdes' house, spends a lot of time in front of a Carlotta painting in a museum, and generally models her behaviour after Carlotta. Also, Madeleine suffers from blackouts, during which she isn't in control of herself. Ferguson forms a relationship with her. He then pressures her to get rid of the past by dwelling on it, visiting places where Carlotta lived etc. During such a visit, and in the same day Carlotta died, Madeleine commits suicide by falling from the bell-tower of a chapel. Ferguson is unable to rescue her due to his acrophobia.Following this, Ferguson is placed in a mental hospital, suffering from catatonic depression. After some time, we find Ferguson released from the mental institution and in better shape. He then meets a woman who looks a lot like Madeleine. Nevertheless, the woman, Judy Barton, seems less perfect and more vulgar than Madeleine. Ferguson forms a relationship with her, and is trying to model her after Madeleine, buying her the same clothes etc. But during one of their encounters, the truth is revealed due to Barton's carelessness. She used the same jewelry as Madeleine. Barton and Madeleine is the same woman. In truth, Madeleine/ Barton was a "doppelganger" to Elster's wife. Elster hired her in order to kill his rich wife, and manipulated Ferguson's illness so that he was a witness to the "suicide". It was the wife, and not Madeleine that fell from the tower.Unaware that Ferguson knows the truth, Barton continues the relationship and the "transformation" to Madeleine. She now is in love with Ferguson, but Ferguson is intent on freeing himself from his acrophobia. As Barton is completely transformed to Madeleine, Ferguson takes her to the same chapel and to the bell tower. Forcing her up, she confesses the truth. She claims she is in love with him. She then sees a shadow emerging, panics and falls into the void. It turns out that the shadow was just a nun. Ferguson stands and watches from above. He is cured....This is not an easy film to analyze. It is very dense and has lots of hidden meaning beneath the surface. The most obvious theme is the one of fixation and impotence. Ferguson suffers from vertigo; Madeleine seems to be possessed by a dead spirit; Ferguson's friend Midge is in love with him but unable to express her love and conquer him; then when Madeleine dies Ferguson becomes obsessed with her.Madeleine represents the ideal love, perfection.In the meantime, there are some other interesting ideas floating in the background. One is that in the second half of the film we witness a reverse situation than that of the first half. In the first half, Elster and Madeleine manipulate Ferguson's impotence. In the second half, it is Ferguson that manipulates the less-than-perfect version of Madeleine aka Barton , even though she regrets her accomplice and is genuinely in love with him.The ending, as well as the first half, is shrouded in the metaphysical and supernatural. The shadow that Madeleine/ Barton sees could be anything: a ghost, her guilt, Elster, the dark side of her relationship with Ferguson etc. Ferguson models Barton after Madeleine with almost necrophiliac obsession. Just before the second time that Madeleine "dies", she and Ferguson kiss, representing the ephemeral happiness in vain. After she dies, Ferguson is freed from his impotence, but we don't know his feelings, we just see him watching from above. Basically Ferguson is haunted by his search for perfection an ideal love, a god to believe in? . There is a clear parallel between that and his impotence the vertigo . When he tries to transform the down-to-earth Barton to the perfect Madeleine, the illusion isn't working. In order to cure himself from the impotence, he kills her he was the one that dragged her to the chapel .Moreover, what the film seems to project is the vortex of the human psyche. Both in the first and the second half, the conclusion is the same: the woman dies. It's the behaviour of the male protagonist alters dramatically. In the supernatural first half, the protagonist is crippled, while in the down-to-earth second half, he is more free but also less happy.The real moment Ferguson is freed is when he realizes the truth about Madeleine. Madeleine/ Barton is sitting in front of a mirror representing the dual personality . Then Ferguson sees the jewel and immediately thinks of the portrait of Carlotta Valdes a symbolism of the original sin? He and Madeleine had an adulterous affair after all . Vertigo projects the male-female relationship into the conflict between the human and the ideal the supernatural, the belief in the perfect . But there is no way out. Both stories the first and second half are two sides of the same coin.