4.5 36
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes


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Dismissed when first released, later heralded as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finest films (and, according to Hitchcock, his most personal one), this adaptation of the French novel D'entre les morts weaves an intricate web of obsession and deceit. It opens as Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) realizes he has vertigo, a conditionSee more details below


Dismissed when first released, later heralded as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finest films (and, according to Hitchcock, his most personal one), this adaptation of the French novel D'entre les morts weaves an intricate web of obsession and deceit. It opens as Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) realizes he has vertigo, a condition resulting in a fear of heights, when a police officer is killed trying to rescue him from falling off a building. Scottie then retires from his position as a private investigator, only to be lured into another case by his old college friend, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore). Elster's wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), has been possessed by a spirit, and Elster wants Scottie to follow her. He hesitantly agrees, and thus begins the film's wordless montage as Scottie follows the beautiful yet enigmatic Madeleine through 1950s San Francisco (accompanied by Bernard Herrmann's hypnotic score). After saving her from suicide, Scottie begins to fall in love with her, and she appears to feel the same way. Here tragedy strikes, and each twist in the movie's second half changes our preconceptions about the characters and events. In 1996 a new print of Vertigo was released, restoring the original grandeur of the colors and the San Francisco backdrop, as well as digitally enhancing the soundtrack.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bruce Kluger
Released in 1958, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was the first of a four-movie run -- North By Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds followed -- that would embody the essence of the director's mastery of his craft and his inimitable knack for telling a scary story. Vertigo introduced Hollywood to an intangible but eminently destructive villain: obsession. James Stewart plays a retired police investigator hired by an old college pal to secretly follow his wife (Kim Novak), whom the friend says is behaving strangely. As Stewart trails Novak through the bayside parks of San Francisco, backed only by Bernard Herrmann's mesmerizing score, he becomes mysteriously, and romantically, fixated on her. A series of plot twists -- including an apparent suicide, an act of betrayal and the titular psychological disorder suffered by Stewart -- ultimately upends the action, and the film reaches a fevered crescendo. Based on the French novel D'entres les morts, Vertigo was originally met with a lukewarm reception by critics. In the years since, however, it has become one of Hitchcock's most analyzed -- and admired -- films.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
It did middling business and the critics were unimpressed in 1958, but Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo has come to be considered his greatest film for its complex examination of romantic pathology. Seamlessly combining evocative imagery and thematic concerns, Hitchcock structured Vertigo through numerous visual and narrative circles and twists, beginning with Saul Bass's opening title sequence. Steadily drawing the viewer into the figurative whirlpool of Scottie's mind as he investigates Madeleine, Hitchcock then broke the rules of suspense (as he would again in Psycho) with a mid-movie revelation that transforms the film from an eerie mystery into a deeply disturbing story of necrophiliac obsession. Using such visual effects as a track-out/zoom-in to signal Scottie's vertigo, Judy's hazily green-lit reemergence as Madeleine, and a surreal nightmare sequence, Hitchcock reveals Scotty's tortured psyche, belying James Stewart's nice-guy surface. Further ducking convention, Hitchcock allowed a character to get away with murder, while leaving Scottie metaphorically hanging in uncertainty. Admired by the film school generation of Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma but unavailable for years due to rights problems, Vertigo had its critical reputation further burnished by its 1983 reissue. Its 1996 restoration returned the washed-out colors to their original clarity and digitally enhanced Bernard Herrmann's haunting score.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:

Special Features

Disc 1:; Feature commentary with associate producer Herbert Coleman, restoration team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz and other Vertigo participants; Feature commentary with film director William Friedkin; Forein censorship ending; The Vertigo archives; Production notes; Original and restoration trailers; Disc 2:; Obsessed With Vertigo: new life for Hitchcock's masterpiece; Partners in Crime: Hitchcock's collaboraters; Hitchcock/Truffaut interview excerpts; Alfred Hitchcock Presents "The Case of Mr. Pelham"

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart John "Scottie" Ferguson
Kim Novak Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton
Barbara Bel Geddes Marjorie "Midge" Wood
Tom Helmore Gavin Elster
Henry Jones Coroner
Raymond Bailey Doctor
Ellen Corby Manager
Konstantin Shayne Pop Leibel
Lee Patrick Older Mistaken Identity
Ed Stevlingson Attorney
Dori Simmons Middle-Aged Mistaken Identity
Nina Shipman Young Mistaken Identity
William Remick Jury Foreman
Jack Richardson Escort (uncredited)
Sara Taft Nun
Paul Bryar Capt. Hansen
Roxann Delman Model
Margaret Brayton Ransohoff's Saleslady (uncredited)
John Benson Salesman (uncredited)
June Jocelyn Miss Woods
Fred Graham Death Fall Officer (uncredited)
Buck Harrington Gateman
Mollie Dodd Beauty Operator
Roland Got Maitre d'
Don Giovanni Salesman

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director,Producer
Samuel A.Taylor Screenwriter
Henry Bumstead Art Director
Robert Burks Cinematographer
Herbert Coleman Associate Producer
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Alec Coppel Screenwriter
George Dutton Sound/Sound Designer
Farciot Edouart Special Effects
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
Winston H. Leverett Sound/Sound Designer
Harold Lewis Sound/Sound Designer
Daniel McCauley Asst. Director
Frank R. McKelvey Set Decoration/Design
Hal Pereira Art Director
George Tomasini Editor
Wally Westmore Makeup

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Vertigo
1. Main Titles [3:22]
2. The Fallen Cop [1:36]
3. Johnny-O and Midge [6:19]
4. A Favor for a Friend [5:33]
5. Elster's Wife [5:19]
6. Among the Dead [3:28]
7. A Portrait of Carlotta [2:03]
8. The McKittrick Hotel [6:06]
9. Beautiful Carlotta, Sad Carlotta [4:26]
10. Carlotta's Blood [1:58]
11. To the Golden Gate [2:38]
12. Into the Bay [:59]
13. Scottie's Guest [9:11]
14. Two Wanderers [5:17]
15. The Sequoias [3:39]
16. The Fragments of the Mirror [3:25]
17. The Desperate Urge [3:03]
18. Madelein's Dream [3:55]
19. It's All Real... [3:29]
20. The Tower [2:16]
21. Things Left Undone [5:31]
22. Nightmares [1:37]
23. Melancholia [3:36]
24. Ghosts [2:35]
25. The Woman At the Empire Hotel [6:27]
26. The Living and the Dead [4:15]
27. Because I Remind You of Her... [3:06]
28. The Gentleman Knows What He Wants... [3:46]
29. There's Something in You... [2:50]
30. The Transformation [5:23]
31. The Necklace [1:58]
32. Back into the Past [2:36]
33. My Second Chance [3:51]
34. There's No Bringing Her Back [2:16]
35. Restoration Credits [1:29]
Disc #2 -- Vertigo
1. A Masterpiece Almost Lost [2:20]
2. Development and Restoration [5:46]
3. Casting and Vistavision [2:22]
4. Shooting Begins Septemper, 1957 [1:53]
5. The Stars: Locations At San Juan Bautista [3:38]
6. Costumes by Edith Head [1:47]
7. Production Design [1:12]
8. The "Vertigo Effect" [1:01]
9. Music and Titles [1:32]
10. Vertigo Fully Restored [6:37]
11. End Titles Credits [1:05]

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