Vertigo


Stars:★★★★★

Year: 1958

Country: USA 

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: James Stewart (John “Scottie” Ferguson), Kim Novak (Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton), Barbara Bel Geddes (Midge Wood)

Genre: Mystery – Romance

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James Stewart embodies Scottie, a San Francisco detective who suffers from acrophobia (fear of heights). After retiring due to his impediment, he comes across and old aquaintance that asks Scottie to investigate his wife Madeleine, claiming she’s possesed. Scottie doesn’t believe this but accepts the job anyway. As he follows her movements closely and digs more into her story, he starts wondering if she isn’t in fact possesed. Is she? Or is there another explanation? One way or the other, this story will unravel in a way no one imagines.

It is undeniable that Hitchcock had a great talent as a director. But apart from that, he seems to have had a sixth sense for choosing just the right stories for his movies. Vertigo is a good example of this. The book on which it’s based, D’entre les morts (Boileau-Narcejac), provided him with a very intelligent and original plot. I was engaged in it from the beginning, wondering what would happen next and how on Earth such a complicated story would end. And then, just as I started to think there was no possible solution to the problem in the movie, the perfect ending came. Ironic, shocking and perfect. It was there that I realized I was in front of a real masterpiece.

This story was also an oportunity for Hitchcock to experiment with innovative filming techniques. He played with light, colours and blurring, he added a bit of animation in a dream sequence, and he used the Dolly zoom to represent the sensation of vertigo. Some of these cinematic techniques may look laughable nowadays, but when you remember that the movie was made more than half a century ago, you start to judge it differently.

Another remarkable aspect in this film is the music. It was in charge of Bernard Herrmann, who collaborated in many other Hitchcock movies, including the legendary soundtrack from Psycho. The score from Vertigo is brilliant as well, as it increases the suspense and helps create the expected atmosphere. And whenever you listen to that music again, you’ll always remember the movie it comes from.

One of the things I like most about Vertigo is the cast, and that’s mostly because of James Stewart. I just love that man. I saw him for the first time in Hitchcock’s Rear Window (great movie, by the way), and was absolutely marvelled by him. But apart from being so charming, he is a splendid actor. His best scene in this movie is in my opinion, the one at the end, when he’s seized with uncontrollable rage. Luckily for me and any other who likes Jimmy Stewart, he starred in a lot of famous classics, so it’s quite accesible to see more of him. His love interest in the movie was played by Kim Novak, whose performance is not precisely brilliant, but not any bad either. According to what I’ve read, negative reception to the movie at the moment of its release was in part due to the big difference of age between Stewart and Novak. He dobbled her age, since she was 25 and he 50 when they filmed Vertigo. However, this was not a problem to me, since I felt the relationship between them was quite convincing.

I loved every bit of this movie, and I was absorbed in it from beginning to end. Not only did I enjoy Stewart’s performance, but also a smartly wrapped story under the superb direction of Alfred Hitchcock. Vertigo is, in my view, one of the best movies ever made. ☜

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Watch the trailer ↓

This is a fan made trailer, which I like more than the original since it doesn’t say too much about the story. The trailer from 1958 has some spoilers, so if I were you, I’d skip it until I watch the movie.

– Written by GuadiRC –

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8 Responses to Vertigo

  1. Pingback: Page not found | Glutton for books, movies & series

  2. Pingback: Movies – Vertigo | Glutton for books, movies & series

  3. Ben says:

    Alfred Hitchcock? I kept hearing that name in a film book I was reading the other week. I want to see it badly! But sadly, I can’t I have to watch action films for now. Recently, there is a film competition in our school and I’m planning to join. The story is set up but I have to look for cast and write the script. Wish me luck!

    Regarding classic, have you seen Citizen Kane by Orson Welles. It was actually good. The main character is an anti-hero. Hmm. . . and if this does not convince you, rottentomatoes’s critic rated at 100%. I was told that film was revolutionary. :]

    Thanks for the review!

    • fictionworms says:

      Which is the film book you were reading? Good luck with the competition! What is it about exactly?

      Thanks for the recommendation! I love when on this blog, people tell me about movies to watch. The title Citizen Kane rings a bell, but I’m sure I haven’t seen it. I already added it to my watchlist 🙂

      You are welcome, and as always, thank you so much for your faithful readership 😉

      • Ben says:

        It was Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. It was really good and it has an accompanying blog site with all new news about the current industry. :] Too bad I got busy and so I had to return it to the library.

        If you do watch Citizen Kane, prepare to watch a B/W film in a letterbox format. XD

        Your welcome :] I do like visiting your website. I like your prose XD.

        PS: Is it me or your website renders a falling snow?

    • fictionworms says:

      There’s a book about films I would love to have! It’s called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. There’s also another one about books, I always read a little bit of that one when I’m at the bookshop. Too bad they’re kind of expensive, but one day I’ll have them 🙂

      Don’t worry, I’ve already seen movies in black and white and in letterbox format 😛 If the movie’s good, then it is totally worth it!

      PS: Yes! It is indeed snowing on my blog! If you want that on yours, you have to go to settings and click on “Show falling snow on my blog until January 4th”.

      • Ben says:

        Thanks for the handy information but I’m too lazy to toggle that button. :]

        I have also read that 1001 Movies and Books. They sit in our library but the previous book I mentioned earlier, “Film Art”, talks an in depth characteristic of Films such as its Form and Style, the acting, the editing, the film theories. It will really change the way you see movies and you will appreciate subtle details the film makers have put in their work.

        BTW, what happened in your college admission?

  4. fictionworms says:

    Thanks for asking, Ben! 🙂 I passed all my exams so I’m already a University Student! 😀 Now I have three months of vacation, and I start classes in March (or April, I’m not sure yet). I also finished High School, and I couldn’t be happier, haha. I’m so excited about University!

    Yes, I figured out the book I told you about had nothing to do with the one you read, except they’re both Film books 😛 I’ll see if I can get that one or anything alike. It sounds interesting indeed!

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