Even though I have not seen the other films on the British Film Institute’s list, I believe that Vertigo definitely deserves the spot as number one. It’s a film about identity as Scottie forces Judy to change her appearance in order to look like Madeline. I fully support Roger Ebert’s review of the film written in 1996 (1). In this way, Hitchcock is commenting on the way he treated and controlled the “Hitchcock blondes”. Hitchcock told them how to act, what to wear, and what to say.
When I first saw Vertigo a few months ago, I did not know who Judy was, nor did I recognize her as Madeline. It was not until Scottie changed her appearance that I was finally able to understand it. Seeing the film a second time, however, I was able to notice the artistic/cinematographic elements that I had missed the first time. After Judy’s transformation, she emerges from the bathroom in the hotel surrounded by fog, hinting that she was a ghost that had been awakened. The film also includes all of the “Hitchcockian elements” that are usually utilized in his films, including staircases and the panning of the camera to give the audience the effect of having vertigo.
- Ebert, Roger. “Vertigo.” Rev. of Vertigo. n.d.: n. pag. Roger Ebert. Ebert Digital LLC, 13 Oct. 1996. Web. 5 Nov. 2014. <http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-vertigo-1958>.