Vertigo – 1958 – English
Synopsis: Following his early retirement as a detective from the San Francisco Police Department, John Ferguson – Scottie to his friends – becomes obsessed with two women in succession, those obsessions which trouble his long time friend and former fiancée, Midge Wood, a designer of women’s undergarments. The first is wealthy and elegant platinum blonde Madeleine Elster, the wife of his college acquaintance Gavin Elster, who hires John to follow her in Gavin’s belief that she may be a danger to herself in thinking that she has recently been possessed by the spirit of Carlotta Valdes, Madeleine’s great-grandmother who she knows nothing about, but who Gavin knows committed suicide in being mentally unbalanced when she was twenty-six, Madeleine’s current age. The second is Judy Barton, who John spots on the street one day. Judy is a working class girl, but what makes John obsessed with her is that, despite her working class style and her brunette hair, she is the spitting image of Madeleine, into…
Review: Two years before Hitchcock’s legendary horror movie Psycho (1960) hit the theaters, our Alfred stunned audiences with another masterpiece. Perhaps not as dark, cruel and shoking as Psycho (1960) or The Birds (1963), “Vertigo” (1958) still manages to be called a timeless classic.
First of all, Scottie’s condition allowed the use of an entirely new camera technique. “The Dolly Zoom” is one of cinematography’s most impressive camera tricks. Years before Steven Spielberg used it in “Jaws” (1975), Irmin Roberts was the first cameraman to ever use this technique, in a Hitchcock film.
This movie tells the story of Scottie, a retired cop who’s asked to investigate the case of his friend’s wife, which seems to be possesed by the spirit of a dead young woman who committed suicide.
As the chilling story goes on, several moments of suspense accompanied by chilling musical scores are happening. If you’re not a fan of it, you can still enjoy the superb settings throughout the movie, and as well the beautifuly filmed shots. These elements alone are a pure work of art in my opinion.
Because it’s a 50’s film, you will encounter extravagant dialogue between the characters, that still manages to look natural. It’s not over the top forced as you may see in other films of the era.
Toward the end of the movie, I appreciated the interesting depiction of madness that Alfred creates throughout dreams and illusions that our leading man deals with. The beautiful lighting used in the last half an hour of the movie is also outstanding enough to be mentioned. And, without spoiling anything, I’d like to mention how from my perspective, the leading man portrayed throughout the movie as a tragic hero, becomes an antagonist.
Definetly an unpredictable and stylish classic you don’t want to miss.