ver·ti·go “a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height”

During the release of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, in 1958, the film was not regarded as one of his best.  This was mainly because the audience and critics of the time could not get past its literal meaning and deeper delving into the subconscious of Hitchcock’s mind.  Many articles have described Hitchcock as a director who was ahead of his time and they were referring to the 21st-century characteristics that Hitchcock portrayed without knowing what they would become.  Anyway, Vertigo is now one of Hitchcock’s most popular films because scholars have done a lot more research and analysis of the film’s themes or meanings.  Penelope Houston describes Vertigo as “one of the two or three best films Hitchcock ever made, [it]is the most confessional, dealing directly with the themes that controlled his art,” in her article “Vertigo” from Sight and Sound. Vertigo speaks more to today’s Hitchcockian audience with what has already been studied about his motifs and stories from his past.  Scottie resembles Hitchcock with his controlling and obsessive attitudes towards directing while Novak portrays one of the best Hitchcock blondes.  Another aspect of the film’s difference has to do with its focus on simple but important shots like the scene by scene takes of Scottie following Madeline.  Altogether the film has its beauty and it doesn’t even have a happy ending.  Hitchcock does a great job in representing the characters as two people that we can root for at different times during the film.  The shock that Vertigo has instilled into the audiences of two centuries says a lot about the greatness of the film.


Judy’s First Kiss

The Painting by Barbara Bel Geddes in Vertigo



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