A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, as he believes she has been possessed by a dead ancestor who committed suicide. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees to the assignment after he sees the beautiful Madeleine.Written by
After additional location shoots at the Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the Spanish mission San Juan Bautista, the cast and crew settled in at Paramount Studios soundstages for two months of filming. In the studio, Alfred Hitchcock was in his element and could exert absolute control though he had his share of creative challenges. One very striking sequence is the kissing scene that occurs when Scottie has finally made Judy over as Madeleine. As the couple kiss, the background slowly swirls, and we lose equilibrium as we see Judy's apartment become the livery stables of San Juan Bautista, setting for an earlier emotional scene between Scottie and Madeleine. The shot was achieved with rear projection of the background plates; the camera tracking slowly back, then forward; and with James Stewart and Kim Novak revolving on a circular platform. A key visual here that often is missed is that, as the camera circles, the scene switches to the stable at the Mission (where they first fell in love), then back to the hotel room.These simultaneous movements were difficult to coordinate, and to pull off without the actors getting dizzy - in one take Stewart fell and was slightly injured. Also, the green lighting in the hotel room earlier, before Judy emerges from the bathroom is an indicator of Scotty's obsession and, when she emerges, she appears enveloped in it, like a ghost, drifting toward him. The ghost of his dream has returned. Principal photography was completed three days after this shot, just before Christmas, 1957. See more »
Gavin Elster mentions that Carlotta Valdes was 26 when she killed herself. However, her gravestone says that she lived from December 3 1831 to March 5 1857. That would make her 25, not 26. See more »
There are no accidents here. Next year, in a few weeks, Vertigo will be 60 years old and it will celebrate it on top of the list of The Greatest Films Ever Made overtaking Citizen Kane and many other masterpieces. Why? Maybe when a filmmaker of Hitchcock's greatness taps into his own unconscious and reveals himself. By now we know enough about Hitchcock the man to know he was obsessed in finding that woman who'll look and behave just the way he wants and once he find them, they are destroyed to then embark on a quest to replace or duplicate her. Vera Miles was suppose to be the object of James Stewart's obsession and she opted for motherhood instead. Kim Novak replaced her and her coldness and detachment worked beautifully here. Barbara Bel Geddes the real woman who loves him he doesn't even notice, his focus is in the impossible.The magic touch in Vertigo is truly Bernard Herrmann. Try to see Vertigo without the score. No, don't. This classic is a marriage of images and music. A thriller with an uncomfortable truth at its very center. A personal truth from its filmmaker. I don't know if Vertigo will still be the number 1 in the list a hundred years from now, I will never know but I suspect that it will always be among the top.
58 of 68 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this