The image of the Tippi Hedren doll is an advertisement for collectible pop culture dolls on Amazon. The other two pictures are of Sienna Miller playing Tippi Hedren and Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock in the 2012 film, The Girl. It is a film about the making of The Birds, and the controversial relationship between Hedren and Hitchcock.
As of 2013, The British Film Institute voted Hitchcock’s Vertigo into the top spot on the list of “The 50 Greatest Films of All Time.” I am surprised at this information, as the themes of Vertigo do not seem to resonate with audiences today. The way that Judy allows Scottie to remake her into Madeleine, to change everything about her in order to fulfill either a fetish or bring back a lost love, was offensive.
Personally, I did not enjoy the film; the majority of the film seemed to be dedicated to Stewart’s character either watching Novak’s character, or driving, which was very boring to me. I thought that the implications that Madeleine might be possessed, or a reincarnation of a long-dead relative, were rather unconvincing and hokey. I did not care much for Novak’s essentially blank-faced acting, though that manner may have been intentional, as Madeleine was meant to be a more reserved character. However, I thought that Stewart did an excellent job in this movie, as well as in my current favorite Hitchcock film, Rear Window.
On the other hand, Roger Ebert calls Vertigo “one of the two or three best films Hitchcock ever made” in his 1996 review of the film. He writes that Hitchcock put all of himself into this film: Scottie is meant to represent him, a man obsessed with one type of woman, the icy blonde. While I would agree that this makes the film more interesting, I still would not call it one of the best of all time.
You can follow the link blow to the review by Mr. Ebert; he makes some interesting points and the article is worth reading.
Throughout Hitchcock’s films, a frequently recurring motif is staircases. In the movie Shadow of a Doubt, stairs are used for many reasons, including to symbolize escape. In the image below, Charlie is using the back staircase of her house as an alternate way to leave. She does this frequently, mainly in an effort to avoid her Uncle Charlie, when she begins to suspect him of being a murderer.
This staircase image is iconic as well. It has a very ominous cast; Uncle Charlie is looking down the staircase at young Charlie, and she already strongly suspects him of murder. The stairs represent danger; Charlie inevitably has to climb the stairs, even though her uncle is at the top.
Another movie in which stairs play an important role is Vertigo. The main character suffers from fear of heights, so staircases are an excellent way to dramatize this. In both scenes, the first when Scottie is unable to make it up the stairs to ‘save’ Madeleine, and again when roles are reversed and he drags her up the stairs, the stairs add dramatic effect.
Overall, in Hitchcock’s films, stairs are a tool to build suspense and dramatic effect, and to symbolize a journey for the characters.