Vertigo

Vertigo

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 condition

Overview

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.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/07/2008
UPC:
0025195018357
Original Release:
1958
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:10:00

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

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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Vertigo 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
LeoSmith More than 1 year ago
I showed this to my class last semester- a poetry workshop, mind you- as a film I watch when I'm feeling a little lost, a little tapped out. Vertigo always brings me back in- always sets the mental bearings back into place. As someone who writes poems for a "living," Vertigo is something that works on all levels. Hitchcock shot it immaculately as each second has a vision in it that only he could have and one which leads the viewer into the film with the eyes ready. The first scene grabs you: what a traumatic event for anyone to survive, but it gives us Jimmy Stewart and his character's vulnerable nature right away. If you haven't seen it, the very best is passing you by.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've only seen older prints of this movie on TV, you have to see this marvellously restored version -- worth it for the lush, vibrant colors alone. The music and sound effects have also been extensively reworked.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is pre-tarantino story telling,tone down and sophisticated. The story is very dark and explores compulsion, obsession and nature of longing, maybe, you decide. There are incredible sequences of telling silences. It a mystery of what goes on inside someones head rather than whodunnit. Both Stewart and Novak are outside their typical casting. The ending is so so but the story and character are timeless. It make one think about the senselessness of it all. Each time you watch it, there's another revelation. It's a minimalist film awashed with details.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the most visually beautiful films ever made, VERTIGO is a stunning Hitchcock masterwork. The soft-focus &amp pov camera work (Robert Burks) is mesmerizing as is the haunting musical score by Bernard Herrmann. Obsession has never been so suspenseful and heartbreaking.
RedSoxFan More than 1 year ago
Fans of Hitchcock all have differing opinions on what they consider to to be his best film. Some love the suspense and adventure of North By Northwest. Others prefer the darkness and twists of Psycho. For me, all the elements of what made him one of the great directors of all time come together in his most personal film, Vertigo.

Hitchcock was a hit by the time he made Vertigo. He had established himself as one of the most popular movie makers of his era with hits like Rebecca, Notorious and The Man Who Knew Too Much. So, with the power he had amassed in Hollywood he set out to take a chance to make movie that, at the time, could not be considered to have a very mainstream plot. Add to that, the fact that he chose to cast Jimmy Stewart, Hollywood's Everyman, in the title role of tortured former detective John "Scotty" Ferguson, Hitch was taking a gamble that audiences would embrace a tale that hiding just under the surface has some controversial themes that could leave the observant viewer a little wierded out.

In my opinion, this is Stewart's best and most nuanced performance of his storied career. He gives the character's obsession with Kim Novak's forlorn Madeline many layers which slowly peal away throught the course of the film.

Of course, the movie transitions from well-made suspense into a comment on the nature of obsession and grief when Madeline kills herself. Hitchcock was notorious for his reputation as a control freak when it came to his female characters. He obsessed over their clothes, looks, and their performances. All of that comes through in Jimmy Stewart's performance as he tries to bring his lost love back from the dead through his makeover of new girlfriend, Judy (also played by Kim Novak).

All in all, Vertigo is a seriously underrated film, and should be at the top of any serious list of the greatest movies of all time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vertigo is one of Hitchcock's most mesmerizing and haunting films. James Stewart and Kim Novak give stellar performances. The bonuses are informative and intriguing. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Superbly twisted and confusing, it begs for repetitive watches to grasp everything. And boy, with this movie, you will be more than willing to watch it more than once. the commentary is so interesting, you have to watch it, because it only enhances all of the intentions of hitch that no one can grasp until it's pointed out. that's the magic of movies i suppose. the score is absolutely fabulous, it will be running through your head. You feel such empathy for Jimmy Stewart's character, as the obsessive, demanding, emotionally messed up man. His best friend Midge causes heartbreak even though she's a small character, because she wants so desperately for him to choose her, and to stop thinking about kim novak's character(s). Click add to shopping bag right now, you will NOT be sorry i told you too.
Brigit More than 1 year ago
Another brilliant masterpiece by Hitchcock. Vertigo is spellbinding, mesmerizing, visually stunning and a tense ride through the dark side of human emotion and deception with some very good twists thrown in for good measure. The score for this film is haunting and really helps you to feel the mood of the characters. James Stewart and Kim Novak give brilliant performances. Stewart and Novak are would-be lovers who are torn apart by circumstances beyond their control as well as being caused by their own volition. The cinematography is masterfully done. The distorted views and the figures appearing through mist or darkness lend themselves well to the emotional state of Stewart's tormented character. This is a must see film.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Hitchcocks masterpiece ''Vertigo'' is a haunting and chilling story about a beautifull woman who believes that she is possesed by a spirit from the past and a retired police dective stricken with vertigo. As the dective falls deeper and deeper in love with this mysterious woman, he also gets tanlged in a web of terror.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alfred Hitchcock is back again with what is considered his best work ever, Vertigo, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. James Stewart plays Scottie, a retired detective who is stricken with the fear of heights after he witnesses a fellow cop fall to his death. The story begins when Scottie is hired by Gavin Elster, a former classmate(Tom Helmore), to follow his wife, Madelene (Kim Novak), who is suspected of being possessed by the spirit of the suicidal Carlotta Valdes. Naturally, the two starring roles fall in love, but in an unlikely twist Madelene dies of the same death the acrophobic Scottie fears most. The depressed Scottie then seeks refuge in an identical-looking woman and falls in love. From here Scottie must solve the mysteries of his past. This marvelous plot, brilliant screenplay, terrific acting, and a surprise ending make Vertigo a must see film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alfred Hitchcock is back again with what is considered his best work ever, Vertigo, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. James Stewart plays Scottie, a retired detective who is stricken with the fear of heights after he witnesses a fellow cop fall to his death. The story begins when Scottie is hired by Gavin Elster, a former classmate (Tom Helmore) to follow his wife Madelene (Kim Novak) who is suspected of having suicidal tendencies.As he follows her he becomes aware of her unseemly behavior. She first travels to the florist to pick up a boquet of flowers. Next she stops at an old churchyard cemetary to gaze at the grave of a certain Carlotta Valdes. After that, she travels to an art gallery where she sits in a trance fixed upon a portrait of the same woman, Carlotta Valdes. This ends her trips for the day, but the next day she is out again, and Scottie is on her tail following her to the same places. However, when she is through, she proceeds to the San Francisco Bay where she jumps in in an attempt to kill herself. Scottie then jumps into the icy cold water, saves her, then takes her in. Naturally, the two starring roles then fall in love and begin to see each other. Scottie continues to investigate Madelene's awkward behavior as they are romantically involved. On one of the couple's romantic getaways Scottie plans to take Madelene to the churchyard that he has seen her in to try to get some answers. When they arrive, the spirit possessing Madelene causes her to ascend to the top of a tower and jump off killing herself in the same fashion that Scottie had witnessed before from his fellow officer. Scottie is then depressed as he feels that it was his fault because he could not follow her to the top of the tower because of his severe case of acrophobia. Scottie then seeks refuge in an identical looking woman to Madelene and again falls in love. From her Scottie must solve the mysteries of his past. This marvelous plot, brilliant screenplay, and terrific actors make Vertigo a wonderful movie watching experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...but go buy this movie. It is a great movie; Vertigo does not rely on special effects for its attractions (like many recent movies do) but it relies on plot and depth. One of the most important cinematic creations in the 20th century, this movie still retains the power that has enthralled viewers for nearly half a century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This an amazing film and one of the best films of all time! Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, and Kim Novak have never done anything better! It was definitely ahead of it's time and Stewart and Novak have amazing chemistry. All I have to say is this a must to have in your video\DVD collection. Go buy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
my favorite movie,very lively and you can't miss a second of it or you will be lost.this is an alfred hichcock masterpeice.my grandmother enjoyed it 45 years ago and I enjoy it today.james stewart and kim novak are fabulas.some parts are frightnig but it is a personal favorite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite movie! Great plot, actors, and cinematography; definitely Hitchcock's best. Go see Vertigo right now!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is very good Alfred Hitchcock movie. And a good drama .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw it multiple times yet I always see new things that I've never seen. It is probably one of the most sophisticated film that Hitchock has ever made in his career. James Stewart is at his best, so is Kim Novak. This is probably 2 or 3 most beautiful film that I've ever seen in my life. Great acting, great screenplay, great performance, great visual effects. This is must see film for those who proclaimed themselve movie buff. This is undoubtedly best film ever made in 20th century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No denying a great film by Hitchcock, but personally I was disappointed by the time I saw it. I had heard so many great things about it, that my expectation level for this film was far too high to be met by any movie. I became bored at certain points and was disappointed by the time it was all said and done. Definitely check it out to see a Hitchcock classic, but keep your expectations at a reachable level.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whoever said "slow movies" had to mean "boring"? At its best, an unhurried tempo is something to luxuriate in. It can lead us to a quieter age, mimic our contemporary ennui, even take us into the world of dreams. I think of "Vertigo" as part hallucination, part bubble bath. To say that this movie is about a man with fear of heights is like saying "Psycho" is about a motel with 24 hour room service. For James Stewart, the retired San Francisco cop, acrophobia is really the fear of life itself. "Vertigo" is a meditation on the idea of plunging, which is exactly what Stewart must do when he "falls" for Kim Novak, the mysterious woman he has been hired to follow. Is Novak really the reincarnation of her great-grandmother? Competing with Novak is Barbara Bel Gettes, as an authentic blonde who pales next to Novak's manufactured glamour. As an actress, Novak never exuded self-assurance, making her the perfect pawn for this Hitchcock exercise in sexual melodrama, and Bernard Herrmann's score is as haunting as Novak's performance. The film is about terror, lust and (above all) mystery. Hitchcock buffs celebrate the movie for its thematic dimensions, yet what really puts "Vertigo" over is that the entire film seems to unfold in a trance state. It's as if Hitchcock slowed down the mechanics of his earlier films, peeked through the cracks, and seen the abyss. Be sure to watch the original ending on the DVD. It should explain why certain cuts are blessedly made (The Production Code be damned!). [filmfactsman]
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