Sunday Movie Night: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ (1958)

Happy Sunday. Tonight is movie night at my house, so that’s just me and Kiyo. If there is cat-like typing detetected, That’s because she’s gnawing on my wrist right now with one leg sprawled across my keybroad. Honestly, this week nearly killed me. In addition to my nine fucking job titles, my CEO asked me to help him design a graveyard. Like in 3D [AutoCAD not Revit]. Dead serious. Like in 3D. He’s concerned about headstones toppling over on some special project that isn’t even associated with our company. I actually went to a really old Masonic cemetery down the road yesterday to research the project. Also, I purriscoped it because he wants us live stream stuff in the future, but he only thinks YouTube, *coughs* but there are better ways. Either way, the results of the scope were that it was a stiff crowd.

Enough with the graveyard puns. I have to work tomorrow and my brain is completely warped. Thought I’d watch Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, Vertigo.

MV5BNzY0NzQyNzQzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTgwNTk4OQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_

Here’s why:

tumblr_inline_nh4507lFBy1qgp297
This handsome motherfucker.

Via Wikipedia…

Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D’entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppeland Samuel A. Taylor.

The film stars James Stewart as former police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson. Scottie is forced into early retirement because an incident in the line of duty has caused him to develop acrophobia (an extreme fear of heights) and vertigo (a sensation of false, rotational movement). Scottie is hired by an acquaintance, Gavin Elster, as a private investigator to follow Gavin’s wife Madeleine (Kim Novak), who is behaving strangely.

The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California, and at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. It is the first film to utilize the dolly zoom, an in-camera effect that distorts perspective to create disorientation, to convey Scottie’s acrophobia. As a result of its use in this film, the effect is often referred to as “the Vertigo effect”.

The film received mixed reviews upon initial release, but is now often cited as a classic Hitchcock film and one of the defining works of his career. Attracting significant scholarly criticism, it replaced Citizen Kane as thebest film of all time in the 2012 British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound critics’ poll[2] and has appeared repeatedly in best film polls by the American Film Institute,[3] as well as being named in 2008 as the 40th greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine in its issue of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.[4] In 1996, Vertigo underwent a major restoration to create a new 70mm print and DTS soundtrack. In 2007, it was ranked by theAmerican Film Institute as the ninth-greatest American movie of all time.

[Trailer]

[Synopsis] | (Spoiler):

After a rooftop chase, where his acrophobia and vertigo result in the death of a policeman, San Francisco detective John “Scottie” Ferguson retires. Scottie tries to conquer his fear, but his friend and ex-fiancée Midge Wood suggests another severe emotional shock may be the only cure.

An acquaintance from college, Gavin Elster, asks Scottie to follow his wife, Madeleine, claiming she has been possessed. Scottie reluctantly agrees, and follows Madeleine to a florist where she buys a bouquet of flowers, to the grave of Carlotta Valdes at Mission Dolores, and to an art museum where she gazes at Portrait of Carlotta, which resembles her. Finally, she enters the McKittrick Hotel, but when Scottie investigates, she is not there.

A local historian explains that Carlotta Valdes tragically committed suicide. Gavin reveals that Carlotta (who he fears is possessing Madeleine) is Madeleine’s great-grandmother, although Madeleine has no knowledge of this, and does not remember where she has visited. Scottie tails Madeleine to Fort Point, and she leaps into San Francisco Bay. Scottie rescues her.

The next day Scottie follows Madeleine; they meet and spend the day together. They travel to Muir Woods and Cypress Point on 17-Mile Drive, where Madeleine runs down towards the ocean. Scottie grabs her and they embrace. Scottie identifies the setting of Madeleine’s nightmare as Mission San Juan Bautista. He drives her there and they express their love for each other. Madeleine suddenly runs into the church and up the bell tower. Scottie, halted on the steps by his vertigo, sees Madeleine plunge to her death.

The death is declared a suicide. Gavin does not fault Scottie, but Scottie breaks down, becomes clinically depressed and is in a sanatorium, almost catatonic. After release, Scottie frequents the places that Madeleine visited, often imagining that he sees her. One day, he notices a woman who reminds him of Madeleine, despite her different appearance. Scottie follows her and she identifies herself as Judy Barton, from Salina, Kansas.

A flashback reveals that Judy was the person Scottie knew as “Madeleine Elster”; she was impersonating Gavin’s wife as part of a murder plot. Judy writes to Scottie explaining her involvement with Gavin’s murder of his wife. Gavin had deliberately taken advantage of Scottie’s acrophobia to substitute his wife’s freshly killed body in the apparent “suicide jump”. Judy rips up the letter and decides to continue the charade, because she loves Scottie.

They begin seeing each other, but Scottie remains obsessed with “Madeleine” and asks Judy to change her clothes and hair so that she resembles Madeleine. After Judy complies, hoping that they may finally find happiness together, he notices her wearing the necklace portrayed in the painting of Carlotta, and realizes the truth. He insists on driving her to the Mission.

There, he tells her he must re-enact the event that led to his madness, admitting he now understands that “Madeleine” and Judy are the same person. Scottie forces her up the bell tower and makes her admit her deceit. Scottie reaches the top, finally conquering his acrophobia. Judy confesses that Gavin paid her to impersonate a “possessed” Madeleine; Gavin faked the suicide by throwing the body of his wife from the bell tower.

Judy begs Scottie to forgive her, because she loves him. He embraces her, but a shadowed figure rises from the trapdoor of the tower, startling Judy, who steps backward and falls to her death. Scottie, bereft again, stands on the ledge, while the figure, a nun investigating the noise, rings the mission bell.

[Tl;Dr]

Alfred Hitchcock’s films are all great, Don’t think there’s an argument about that. Really tho, Vertigo, despite the nausea inducing opening title credit sequence, is slow, morose, and boring. Example: A nearly three minute long scene of Jimmy Stewart driving a down a damn hill in San Francisco with no dialogue whatsoever, violins playing in the background. Oh well.

[Two cnets]:

Imo, not as good as Rear WindowsXP

😉

The whole movie is on YouTube now so have fun with that. [see below]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s