Hitchcock’s Vertigo almost gave me vertigo!

This was my first time fully watching Vertigo, and it really was a great experience. It almost feels like two films put it one, where the second half gives the audience all these plot twists that the first half needs to be seen again. As I left the class, the image of the vertigo effect in the film replayed in my mind. And soon I began to feel it, Hitchcock’s cinematography really gave me vertigo. Maybe the headache came from other things but nonetheless, the film really was a great suspense story.

Reading the article by Francois Truffaut, he portrayed a big, hyper fan of Hitchcock. Truffaut gave so many compliments to Hitchcock’s work, his nerves must have really trembled that surface of ice he cracked and fell into. Hitchcock is presented as a film genius with a perfect balance of social performance, gifted talents with inner humility and sensitivity, all through Truffaut’s view. I can see how the director does have skill and has a good sense of humor, but the author of this article really hypes up Hitchcock a lot. It began to feel as if the writer was enthralled by Hitchcock’s image without really having anything negative to say.

The actual interview (which seemed to be cut off at the last page) was very interesting to read. To me it seemed like reading a fanboy getting that once in a lifetime chance of talking to his biggest idol. Maybe all the research the author did gave him a big impression on the amazement of Hitchcock. During the Q&A, it was fun to read about the behind the scenes of Vertigo. For Hitchcock to say that the main character, Scottie, had a necrophiliac fetish was one of the most entertaining and funny things I’ve ever heard from him, and it never crossed my mind before. It made a lot of disturbing sense, also the symbolism of taking off the clothes in the second half of the film. In which by dressing up Judy, it was really a sense of undressing her to reveal Madeleine within, the naked Madeleine, who Scottie was really looking for.

An interesting reveal in the Q&A was when Hitchcock talked about the scene where Judy placed the necklace on her, and the jewelry was the real spark that gave Scottie the realization of what was really happening. For me I imagined that he had known from the moment he found Judy. All the dressing up and trying to get her to remember the different locations, it seemed as if he wanted her to crack and reveal the truth, but really Scottie was sick with a demented love. Scottie, in the second half, was a very different character from the first half, because we didn’t know what he was thinking. The beginning of the film, he was our guide in the story, but the second half that guide was Judy. The parallels give the whole story a sense of dizziness when thinking of how unnoticeable the transition was done. Hitchcock did do a good job at making the theme of dizziness go throughout the film, not only in that camera effect, but also in the story and characters. People really need to re-watch the movie, now knowing the inside secret to perceive it differently and start noticing hints of how obvious it all seems now. It’s very fun to do with many movies that have good twists where the whole movie is transformed into a different one the next time one watches it.

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3 Responses to “Hitchcock’s Vertigo almost gave me vertigo!”

  1. I find it interesting that you call Scottie and Judy a guide to the movie and divide their duties for different part of the movies. However, I am not entirely sure as to what you mean by ‘guide’. Do you mean that they are sort of the driving force that guides the movie. If thats so then I totally agree with you. Scottie drives the movie in the beginning by accepting his college’s friend’s request to follow “Maddie”. If the movie ended with Maddie’s death, and Scottie’s hospitalization, it would have been anticlimatic. It is Judy that helps to continue push the movie by accepting Scottie’s request to be with him. I think it is ironic that both characters were reluctant to be a part of either situation and yet they managed to get caught up with each other eventually becoming one another’s downfall.

  2. I agree Hitchcock has been presented as a film genius, the ” Master of Suspense”. He captures the audience and tries to make us have the vertigo, to feel and see what Scottie does. Without the twist the story just would not be the same and it would not be Hitchcock.

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