Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO
Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO is a film which functions on multiple levels simultaneously.On one level it is a mystery about a man duped into being an accomplice to murder. On another level it is about a psyche burdened down with guilt. Finally, it is a story of a man who has lost his love.
The film’s screenplay, written by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor, was based upon the 1954 mystery novel D’Entre les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Even though Vertigo is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most powerful, deep, and stunningly beautiful masterpieces, it was the recipient of only two Academy Awards nominations, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Sound, and it was left without a single Oscar.
The film begins with a chase scene that ends with police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (JAMES STEWART) overcome by his fear of heights.He must retire from the police department until he finds an unlikely cure. With the help of an old girlfriend, the sensible Midge (BARBARA BEL GEDDES), Scottie attempts to return to a normal life. His friend Gavin Elster (TOM HELMORE) hires Scottie to take on a little freelance detective work. Elster asks him to shadow his wife Madeleine (KIM NOVAK), who he describes as “being possessed by a spirit” and being a “suicidal neurotic.” Madeleine is beautiful and Scottie finds himself yearning to understand the woman he watches.Scottie saves Madeleine from throwing herself into San Francisco Bay and begins a face-to-face relationship with her, keeping his other identity as her husband’s hired detective a secret.He falls in love with her but his vertigo keeps him from saving her when she tries to commit suicide again by jumping from a bell tower.Even thought she is dead Scottie continues to be haunted by Madeleine. He sees a woman walking down the street who looks just like her. He persues Judy Barton, a brunette department store salesgirl f…