Friday, 2 March 2012

Vertigo (1958) review

Movie Poster
Vertigo (1958) is a psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and stars James Stewart and Kim Novak as John “Scottie” Ferguson and Judy Barton/Madeleine Elster.  The film tells the story of Scottie while, retired due to his fear of heights tries to overcome his weaknesses and solves a mystery involving a woman he loves dearly.

The film’s plot mainly revolves around the main character Jeff and his fear of heights. However halfway through the film, it focuses on the mysteries of the character or “the crime” which decreases the tension and suspense as described by film critic GA from the Timeout Magazine. He states, “Hitchcock gives the game away about halfway through the movie, and focuses on Stewart's strained psychological stability; the result inevitably involves a lessening of suspense, but allows for an altogether deeper investigation of guilt, exploitation, and obsession.” (GA, 2008)

The film also gives a twisted view of human obsession and manipulating the ones they love, as described by Roger Ebert from, “It is *about* how Hitchcock used, feared and tried to control women. He is represented by Scottie (James Stewart) a man with physical and mental weaknesses (back problems, fear of heights), who falls obsessively in love with the image of a woman--and not any woman, but the quintessential Hitchcock woman.” (Ebert, 1996) This goes as far as Scottie once loving a woman he holds dearly but lost her, decides to manipulate a look-alike woman going as far changing her hairstyle, make up and the things his love wears.
Same woman Scottie loves?
Hitchcock used an effective way of camera movement in manipulating and depicting Scottie’s view of his fear of heights, or known as vertigo. This is depicted by using the camera to zoom in on the subject but at the same time the camera moves backwards. This not only focuses on the subject but the surrounding areas become wider, as mentioned by reviewer Martyn Glanville from the BBC. “A great piece of Hitchcock innovation to visually represent Scotty's vertigo: the simultaneous zoom-in and pull-back of the camera that creates a disorientating depth of field. This has been much copied by others, notably Steven Spielberg in "Jaws".”(2000)
The "Vertigo" shot
List of Illustrations:

Parker, A (2011) Movie Poster (onlie):

Hitchcockk, A (1958) (olnie):

B, E (2011) Same woman Scottie loves? (online):


GA (2008) Vertigo (1958) (online):

Ebert, R. (1996) Vertigo (1958) (online):

Glanville, M.  (2000) Vertigo (1958) (online):

No comments :

Post a Comment