directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Category: "Suspense"
Year of Release:1958
Date Added:01/24/2008
Date Watched:12/03/2005
Description:A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.
My Rating:7

Reviews for Vertigo

Review - Vertigo

Detective Scottie Ferguson retires from the police force when a fellow officer falls to his death attempting to save Scottie’s life. The tragedy has given him vertigo, and he can no logner function as a cop. He’s hired by an old friend, Gavin Elster, to follow his wife, Madeleine. Elster things Madeleine has been possessed by Carlotta Valdez, a wronged woman who lived in San Francisco in the 1800s. Scottie follows Madeleine and sees her buy flowers like the ones in Carlotta’s portrait at the gallery, visit Carlotta’s grave and enter Carlotta’s old hotel room. He begins to believe the possession, especially after following Madeleine to the shore of the bay and seeing her throw herself into the water. Scottie dives in and saves her and takes her to his apartment. When she “comes to,” she has no memory of the event.

Scottie continues to follow Madeleine, and they begin meeting together on purpose. They fall in love, and when Madeleine describes her childhood at a mission, Scottie recognizes the place she’s describing as a restored mission out in the country. He takes Madeleine there and she goes into a trance. She runs away up the bell tower. Scottie follows, but his Vertigo only allows him to get halfway up. He sees Madeleine fall past a window and then sees her body crumpled below. The autopsy declares suicide due to madness but isn’t entirely kind to Scottie for not following her to the top.

Scottie goes nuts and spends a year in an asylum. When he comes out, he spots a girl on the street, Judy Barton, who reminds him of Madeleine. He follows, then approaches her and asks her out to dinner. As time passes, he buys her clothes like Madeleine’s and insists that she comb her hair like Madeleine did. Then he sees her put on a necklace like the one Carlotta wears in the museum portrait. He realizes something that the audience has known since right after he met Judy (because of a flash-back). Judy was playing Madeleine all along. Elster paid her to trick Scottie into becoming a witness to his wife’s “suicide.” What really happened in the bell tower was this: Knowing Scottie wouldn’t make it up because of his vertigo, Elster threw his real wife from the tower then hid with Madeleine/Judy until they could sneak out.

Not that he realizes what happened, Scottie forces Judy back to the mission and up in the bell tower. He confronts her and she confesses, but explains that she could have ducked out as soon as he found her as Judy. She tells him she stuck around because she loves him. They kiss, but then a nun comes in and scares them. Judy stumbles backwards and falls to her death.

• Director Cameo: [Alfred Hitchcock] about 11 minutes in wearing a gray suit walking past Gavin Elster's shipyard.

This is supposed to be Hitchcock’s best film, but I didn’t care for it much. Much of it was psychological, which means it was pretty dull. There were long stretches where Scottie was just following Madeleine in his car and other stretches where he’s just sitting around talking with Midge, a woman he used to date. I thought Hitchcock shouldn’t have revealed that Judy was Madeleine until the very end. Doing it when he did ruined the suspence. It just didn’t move me much. Kim Novak’s beauty grows on me. When I start to watch one of her movies, I’m not impressed, but as the movie goes on, I start to understand. But I still didn’t care for it much.
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