Vertigo (1958) - spoilers

On a whim I bought the widescreen DVD version of this classic. Though I’ve seen it many times, any Hitchcock film deserves to be seen either in a theatre or as close to the original format as possible.

Some vapid impressions and questions follow…

What kind of car is Scotty driving. I can’t quite read the name on the front. It appears to be a six letter name ending in either YO or VO.

Novak as Madeline. Don’t like the hair. Makes her look too old, kind of severe.

I like the zoom out effect of Scotty’s vertigo.

James Stewart has always been one of my faves.

The matte paintings blended so well with the studio images. Marvelous.

The actual location shots were very well done, too. I’ve been to almost every one of them. Sort of a hobby…

They sure drink alot.

Midge. “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” What was the deal with the Carlotta painting? Did she actually think it simply a cute joke? She’d seen Madeline leave Sotty’s place. She was there during the Carlotta story. She could’ve put two and two together.

The trial/inquiry. A seven man jury? Wierd.

Judy. Now there’s how I like Novak. My god, I would sell my legs to have a week with that woman. As she was in 1958, that is. And the legs transaction would be be after the week was up of course.

The “Special Sequence” wasn’t really very enjoyable. Except for the music.

The musical score was almost perfect throughout the entire film.

They never do adequately explain the relationship between Midge and Scotty. Except that she loves him and he sees her as a friend.

The colours! From the marble floors and warm wood furniture, to the cushioned couch and the hard benches, to the blue sweater and the red red lipstick, the green dress and thecars on the street… wow.


Maybe more later.

Cool…a thread about probably my favorite movie of all time.

It’s a 1956 DeSoto Fireflite. To be honest, I knew it was a DeSoto but I had to google the year and model.

It was a coroner’s inquest. California statutes may have changed since the 1950s. Today:

Consistently ranks on the top ten of the Sight&Sound poll. Certainly one of the best Hitchcocks, though The Birds is the best (IMO; it’s my favorite).

When I’m not pressed for time, I’ll come back and explain my theory about how Scotty actually fell off of the roof in the beginning, and the rest of the film is a visual metaphor for his life and death. Like anybody really cares.

Well, you can post whatever you want. The trick will be in getting me to read it. :stuck_out_tongue:
I don’t look for hidden meanings in films, I relish in the art. Vertigo, Rope, Rear Window, Strangers On a Train, and others, are so well done, I can simply immerse myself in the cinematic experience and let the talent of geniuses wash over me.

Do keep in mind the historical perspective. Nowadays, with the incredible computer graphics we’ve seen, that sequence looks pretty tame. For 1958, with those designs all (basically) hand-animated, that was a helluva sequence.

Agreed, one of my favorite movies, and one of Hitch’s most personal.

**Ilsa, **you are one sick puppy.

Yeah, true.

My main beef with it, though, is that it’s garish, disjointed, and discordant. Sure, it sets up the break with sanity for Scotty, but I still think Alfie could’ve done it more subtly. But, what do I know? Hitchy’s the genius, not me. My one nit for what is almost a perfect movie. Not really a nit, either, more of a ymmv.

This is a great, great website that compares the locations from the original movie with how they look today.

San Francisco is a great city.

She had a long, ongoing crush on Scotty. She was jealous. It was meant to be a dig, but she didn’t realize until she saw his reaction just how much it was going to affect him.

You could spend the remaining time sitting in your apartment and watching your neighbors through the back window. And I don’t get the appeal of Kim Novak at all. Those eyebrows are just unsettling. I always thought Barbara Bel Geddes was the more attractive one in the movie.

The music for this sequence is the best in the movie, which is saying a lot because the entire score is just absolutely perfect. But I completely disagree with you about the visuals. I first saw the movie on broadcast TV when I was a teenager, and I didn’t really “get” it. But for years I remembered little more than the image of the body falling off the top of the mission, and the dream sequence. That one image of the flowers in a kaleidoscope, and Scotty’s horrified face in the middle of it, was just burned in my brain – mostly because I didn’t expect the sequence at all in the middle of what was a weird but fairly traditional movie.

Years later, I saw the movie again, and I actually understood it this time, and I was disappointed by the dream sequence. Because I’d remembered it as being so stunning, and it didn’t seem quite as cool the second time. But of course, that means that it worked perfectly – the images it planted into my brain were so vivid that they were more powerful than the reality of it. I don’t know what modern CGI could add to that.

I got the impression that they had had a brief fling early on in their relationship, but it ended and they remained friends. I can’t remember if they say anything to that effect outright.

But the relationship is perfectly explained in the context of the movie. She doesn’t just love him, she has a crush on him that won’t go away. And he sees her not just as a friend, but one of his most intimate friends (in the relationship sense, not the physical sense) and he sees her basically as an equal. Which is crucial for a movie about a man who’s destroyed by his obsession.

A friend of mine described it as a modern re-telling of Pygmalion and Galatea – Scotty becomes obsessed with this unrealistic ideal of love and passion that he thinks he’s found in this self-destructive woman he doesn’t really know. He’s so devastated when he loses that, that he goes insane. Eventually, he’s given the chance to know the real woman, but he doesn’t want to know her. He wants to recreate his obsession, and he tries to turn her into the woman he thought he knew, but who actually never really existed.

Midge has an intense crush on Scotty, as well, but he’s either oblivious to it or ignores it. Even though in reality, she’d be the ideal person for him, because they know each other intimately and she’s completely devoted to him, he rejects it for a fantasy. Midge is real, genuine love, while Madeleine is this imagined passion that’s doomed to failure.

You can find entire books written about the color symbolism in Vertigo. Err, you can find them, because I can’t think of any off-hand.

(And on a personal note: never discuss the movie Vertigo with someone on whom you have an enormous crush, but who only sees you as a friend. It ends only in misery.)

Barbara Bel Geddes (Midge) was supposed to be the plain-Jane girl-next-door.

I thought she looked pretty damned nice, myself. And she didn’t look bad thirty years older when she was on Dallas, either.

They’d been briefly engaged when they were both in college, but Midge decided to break it off.

Now see, I remember the line, almost a throwaway actually, where Jimmy (Scotty) says something about once being engaged, but the rest of that just passed right by me. A lot of good yummy dialogue at the front of that flick.

Not my favorite Hitchcock, by a long shot. For me,* The Birds *works better as a very personal fever dream. I find *Vertigo *too intellectually cloying; too cleverly worked out. I much prefer the more ambiguous Hitchcock–like The Birds. And I HATE hate hate *Rope *with a passion. I watch it every once in a while to see if my mind has changed, but John Dall is such a horribly, horribly bad actor that none of the rest of it works for me.

For me, *Vertigo *is a dry catalogue of Hitchockian tropes and techniques, nothing more. Give me Rear Window, or The Birds, or The Wrong Man, or Family Plot, or Notorious, any day of the week.

I similarly re-watched Rear Window recently to see if I like it better, but it still does nothing for me. Ditto with Rope, only more so. I agree about Family Plot - it really is a romp. The others you mention all pass muster too.

I should add I enjoy Vertigo, but still have it below The 39 Steps and North by Northwest in the pantheon.

Really, roger, you like NORTH BY NORTHWEST? … Ida never suspected.

Is that like me assuming you like Philadelphia Story?

Actually, I think Dexter is a secret fan of High Society, The Philadelphia Story being a bit highbrow for him.

Well, did you evah?!

The Thirty Nine Steps does it for me. I also like one of his earlier pictures- Sabotage which doesn’t often get a mention. I think it was renamed A Woman Alone for US release.

I own Sabotage, The 39 Steps, Juno and the Paycock, The Lady Vanishes, The Lodger, The Farmer’s Wife, The Secret Agent, Jamaica Innand Murder!. Sabotage is good, but among these my favorite is The Lady Vanishes, with Jamaica Inn a close second. *Sabotage *is not a favorite, but it’s way better than Saboteur.

That’s a mortal insult, roger. ::: Slapping roger thornhill with a leather glove ::: Name your second and choose your weapons. I’ll meet you in the pine forest atop Mount Rushmore.

PS - I have never seen HIGH SOCIETY all the way through. I find it unwatchable.