Write descriptive essay about Vertigo movie 1958, write an essay of at least 500 words on Vertigo, 5 paragraph essay on Vertigo, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
Alfred Hitchcock
James Stewart as John 'Scottie' Ferguson
Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster
Barbara Bel Geddes as Midge Wood
Tom Helmore as Gavin Elster
Henry Jones as Coroner
Raymond Bailey as Scottie's Doctor
Ellen Corby as Manager of McKittrick Hotel
Konstantin Shayne as Pop Leibel
Storyline: 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, he believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine.
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A Great Classic Thriller That Works on Many Levels
Vertigo is many things - a meditation on the illusions engendered by romantic attraction, an original and engrossing psychological thriller, a story about how people cope with trauma and psychological problems in ways that can ultimately prove self-defeating, a film about how people deceive each other, and a look at the ways that men and women lie to each other in the context of heterosexual relationships. Not only is the plot engrossing and the story told one that touches on many interesting and important themes, but the motifs employed throughout the film (the hairstyle employed by the woman in the picture in the art gallery and in other places throughout the film, the necklace, paintings, the old church building, the nuns, the grave, and agoraphobia and vertigo themselves as phenomenological experiences and psychiatric conditions) are nuanced, expertly deployed, and lend themselves to an even deeper analysis than the one provided here. I also found the contrast between John's ex-fiancé and the other woman he falls in love with to be an important contrast in the film as well. The score is amazing and the way that the sound and visual elements work together make it very clear why people say that Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense.
Fine puzzler from Hitchcock.
The initial critical verdict of Vertigo was that it was not one of Alfred Hitchcock's better films. Time has turned it into his most analyzed and revisited movie and, in the eyes of many, his masterpiece. I still don't subscribe to the opinion that this is Hitchcock's greatest film (give me The Thirty Nine Steps, Foreign Correspondent or North By Northwest) but it is certainly a wonderfully absorbing mystery, and the original indifference that greeted the film from critics and audiences was totally unjust. It takes multiple viewings to fully appreciate what Hitchcock is up to in this movie - it is a sophisticated and multi-layered film that grows in stature the more times you view it.

San Francisco cop John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart) has a hair-raising escapade on a rooftop while chasing a robber. Thereafter, he develops vertigo (a fear of heights) and retires from the force. Some while later Scottie is contacted by his old friend Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) who wants to hire him for a little unofficial private detective work. Elster is worried by his wife's increasingly outlandish behaviour - she seems to go into a dreamy state of mind and wanders off for hours on end without any explanation as to where she has been. Scottie's job is to tail her and learn where she goes. The mystery thickens when Scotties starts following Madeline Elster (Kim Novak).... the more he learns about her and her wanderings, the more it seems that she is possessed by the spirit of her long-deceased ancestor Carlotta Valdes. Eventually Scottie saves Madeline when she tries to drown herself in San Francisco Bay, and soon after they fall in love. But just as Scottie begins to make headway into her psychological problems, she kills herself by leaping from a bell tower. Scottie is left in a state of mental shock but later, following his release from hospital, he bumps into a woman named Judy (Novak again) who is the exact double of Madeline....

Hitchcock generates a stunning air of mystery with Vertigo, coaxing brilliant performances from Stewart and Novak and using the location of San Francisco as almost a third leading "character" in his story. Stewart's obsession with Novak, and his descent into madness as he grieves over his inability to protect her, is brilliantly portrayed. As ever - in fact, more so than ever - Hitchcock keeps the audience off-balance with his disorientating camera work, ingenious plotting and atmospheric use of colour. Bernard Herrmann contributes a haunting score (his fourth for Hitchcock) that heightens the passion and suspense even further. The solution when it comes is extremely clever, and proves (as if proof is needed) that Hitchcock has a masterful touch when it comes to clever plot twists. The film's chief drawbacks, for me, are the excessively studied pacing in the first half, and the somewhat abrupt ending. On the whole, though, this is a superb film which is always a pleasure to come back to.
A fascinating psychological suspense masterpiece which worked on the audience on several levels...
Scottie Ferguson is a retired detective with a paralyzing fear of heights… He had quit detective work after he sees a colleague falling to his death, and nearly he looses his own life at the same time while chasing a crook across some San Francisco rooftops…

An old college friend gives him the job of following his blonde wife Madeleine who had some kind of mental problem or might even be possessed from beyond the grave by a figure from the past whose portrait she stares at in a museum…

Scottie follows Madeleine around San Francisco and when she tries to drown herself in San Francisco Bay, he rescues her and falls promptly in love with her… But Scottie' s vertigo made him powerless to save her when she climbed to the top of the bell tower at the mission at San Juan Batista, and jumped from the tower to her fatal end…

Scottie must spend the second part of the movie regaining from the trauma… His loyal ex-fiancée Midge helps him overcome his psychological torment…

One year later, completely recovered from his nervous breakdown, he meets a red-haired woman who seems the living image of Madeleine...

Stewart gives a terrific performance of a man recognizing his own limits, suffering by his acrophobia... When he is given the chance to pursue this enigmatic woman, his boring life takes on new meaning... He is drawn into her romantic obsession with the past… Madeline makes him feel important in her life… This is something totally new to his world: a lovely straight-forward woman who takes him into a haunting dream... When he fails to keep her alive, his real world was suddenly shattered…

Stewart delivers an accurate portrait of an annoyed human being searching for the unattainable… He is a pragmatic man dealing with events in the light of his intuition…

Kim Novak is so delicate as Madeleine… Her performance is skilled and highly refined… She is a pretty woman, very sensitive, not sensual, yet conscious of her charm and magic…

This fascinating suspense masterpiece reveals something new with each viewing…

Note: Hitchcock appears after eleven minutes of the beginning of the film, walking past a Shipbuilding Co.
I Adore Hitch: Bores Me To Tears
Spoilers Ahead:

Do not take just my opinion about this movie. My family contains two other Hitch collectors and nobody has this in their collection. I have 39 steps and The Lady Vanishes, Foreign Correspondent. This movie is simply boring beyond belief. There is a reason this was one of Hitch's worst box office performers. Since then, it has become a Rorshach test for people's projective values into the movie. They see so much; I am sorry, Freud said projection is almost an unavoidable human failing. When I read so many of these, really it is inside of you not the movie. The narrative is straight forward: a man commissions Stewart to watch his wife, Kim Novak, because she is acting crazy. She seems to be transforming into some woman in a painting. The movie follows Stewart tooling about following her. This is the central flaw in the movie. Long periods of the movie are Stewart driving here and there first following the putative wife, after she appears to have jumped off the building, he follows a look alike that he inadvertently runs into. She has red not blond hair but her face is a dead ringer for the dead wife he failed to protect. He is publicly humiliated at a hearing though exonerated criminally. The endless following, which consumes the movie is why the title is a misnomer. Stewart's vertigo while important is not the bulk of the movie: Obsession that is what the movie is about.

From the beginning, intelligent viewers suspect the man who hires Stewart, the sight of her suicide being so congruent with his weakness, trust me, you will figure out halfway through this bore fest what is going on right away. In my living room, guys were yelling out,"Yeah, he hired him cause he's up there with the dead wife already, come on." Do not let the movie's length fool you, it feels like Ben Hur only slower. Hitch was a genius but all great men make mistakes this is Hitch's greatest one followed later by The Trouble With Harry. All three of the Hitch collectors, in my family, got this in a multi Hitch Blu Ray collection and all three of us threw it away. Boring like no other Hitch movie, devoid of action except at the beginning and ending; it is one long following a woman all about town. Shadow Of A Doubt I consider to be his best, better than the more acclaimed Psycho or Rear Window; that is slow but there is more going on under the surface than Stewart driving all over town following the two women.

This is why it bombed at the box office. In the movie Hitchcock, when Alfred proposes Psycho, the executives first words are,"Is this going to be another Vertigo? You know, where we lost our shirts?" Some of Hitch's earlier movies, like Foreign Correspondent or Jamaica Inn, have slow parts: this is a slow movie with tiny scenes of action. You will likely be asleep by then. My review is easy: Do you really not enjoy Hitchcock? Disliked some of his films? Do not watch the movie. If you adore every Hitch: give it a try but do not say I didn't warn you. I think the dreadful Motionless Picture moves faster. A long coma inducer which has been canonized into a reputed masterpiece. When it was released, audiences left in droves for a reason, watch the movie.
Unforgettable and fascinating film about a retired police falling in love with a strange woman
Classic and haunting suspense by the master himself , Hitchcock , dealing with tragic events when an ex-cop keeps an eye on a gorgeous woman . Genuinely great movie focuses a San Francisco ex-detective (James Stewart) suffering from acrophobia , fear the heights , as he is contracted to shadow an old chum(Tom Helmore)'s wife . He investigates the rare activities of an old friend's spouse, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her . He finds himself eventually falling in love with her (Kim Novak) , then , tragic drama and fateful events stark .

The first part of this extraordinary production results to be slow-moving ; however , the rest takes off at fast speed . Hitch plays on the senses and keeps the suspense and action in feverish pitch . All the elements for a suspenseful evening are in place and things move at an intelligent pace . The story is typical Hitch fare , an issue of fake identity and treason that embroils a man in suicide and murder . Hitch had one of most charming actors of all Hollywood as James Stewart stars a detective who has acrophobia , he also played ¨Man who knew too much¨ and ¨Rear window¨. Furthermore , a marvelous Kim Novak at her best . Good secondary role from Barbara Bed Geddes as eternal girlfriend and Henry Jones as judge . As usual , Hitch's cameo as man walking . Samuel Taylor screen-written from the interesting novel ¨From among the dead¨ by Pierre Boileau . Colorful cinematography in dreamlike style by Robert Burks , Hitch's ordinary . Very good sets and production design by Henry Bumstead and Hal Pereira . Riveting and thrilling musical score by Bernard Herrmann who composed various masterpieces for Hitch as ¨North by Northwest¨, ¨Psycho¨ , ¨Wrong guilty¨ and ¨The trouble with Harry¨

Vertigo is one of Hitch's most stylish and discussed films and will keep you riveted and excited until the edge-of-your-seat . Indispensable seeing this quintessential Hitch movie , demanding numerous viewings .
Favorite Hitchcock and likely one of the most challenging, harrowing great films ever
Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is probably his most discussed film, and I believe that since it is so controversial- and yet living up to such hype by having a level of mystery, daring and true human interest that is open to interpretation- it gets better with every passing year. It deserves more credit than it gets (like most of Hitchcock's films) and though it is well credited with it's intrigue, I think that Psycho (not that it is a bad film) gets more credit than this film should get. There are at least a few reasons for this, arguably of course. One, the acting is spectacular including James Stewart in one of his very best turns as the weary, emotionally perplexed and obsessed cop with a slight fear of heights and a 'thing' for a certain 'dead' woman. Hitchcock's leading lady here Kim Novak, is equally interesting and ambiguous as the leading lady (or ladies).

Two, the atmosphere Hicthcock invokes in this film is just right for the psychological tailspin that Stewart gets into, with the usage of lighting, real San Fransisco locations, and particularly the color green all to perfect, eerie effect. And three, there's Bernard Herrmann's score, on par with the Psycho score though maybe even better as a straight piece of classical music in the guise of tense, haunting movie music. It's also the kind of picture that is a MUST if you've already seen it, or even if not, and it comes around town on the big screen as all the images and dark scenes come into great view. Not one of the more outright 'fun' Hitchcock films, with the few chuckles plain comic relief, and maybe his best serious work. A++
Obsession as Grand Melodrama in Hitchcock's Most Hypnotic Work
This legendary 1958 masterwork from Alfred Hitchcock plays like grand Baroque opera full of exaggerated character motivations and preposterous plot turns, yet it is one of the most consistently involving of his impressive canon of films perhaps because he takes an unsavory subject, sexual obsession, and shapes around it a remarkably perceptive character-driven mystery thriller. Co-written with intricacy by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor, the tightly drawn story focuses on John "Scottie" Ferguson, a plainclothes detective who quits the police force after his partner dies during a rooftop chase where Ferguson is debilitated by a severe case of acrophobia. An old college acquaintance, now a shipping tycoon, convinces the now-retired Ferguson to follow his disturbed, potentially suicidal wife Madeleine, and thus begins Ferguson's first obsession.

The film twists and turns until her apparent death from a fall from the San Juan Batista mission church steeple. This is where Hitchcock does something quite audacious. Suffering from this unexpected tragedy, the hero of the movie becomes a darker character we are suddenly not sure about. By fate back in San Francisco, Ferguson meets a shopgirl named Judy who bears enough of a physical resemblance to Madeleine for him to stalk her and force her to change her appearance to look like his lost love. At first, it feels rather necrophilic if not downright deranged for Ferguson to act on his obsession of a dead woman, but regardless, a final twist makes the love between Ferguson and Judy impossible to endure. Hitchcock lends a deepening sense of emotionalism to the maddening but addictive spirals of the plot which ultimately makes the film's title even more resonant than the medical condition Ferguson has.

Casting is crucial to making the storyline relevant to a viewer much less credible. In a nice change-of-pace, James Stewart makes Ferguson's obsession palpable, and his everyman demeanor takes on a convincing sinister edge, even though his natural affability sneaks through effectively as a counterbalance. In what remains a most underrated performance, Kim Novak manages to play her dual roles with a surprising lack of affectation, from the cool mystique of Madeleine to the desperate eagerness of Judy. Hitchcock uses Novak's natural detachment as an actress to the movie's advantage, as I doubt the more versatile Grace Kelly could have played at least the Judy part as well. Barbara Bel Geddes has precious few scenes in the relatively thankless role of Midge, Ferguson's sometime girlfriend. The San Francisco locations are used to great advantage - the Palace of Fine Arts, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fort Point, the now-defunct Ernie's restaurant, the Podesta Baldocchi flower shop, the cemetery at Mission Dolores - all shot in lustrous detail by Robert Burks. Bernard Herrmann contributes one of his great scores to complement the pacing and atmosphere of the mystery and suspense.

The DVD has the splendid 1996 restoration which captures all the visual and aural splendor of the film. It also includes an alternative commentary track that features Novak, restorers Robert Harris and James Katz, Hitchcock's daughter Patricia and most interestingly, associate producer Herbert Coleman who is full of anecdotes. Harris and Katz figure prominently in an interesting 1997 half-hour documentary on the original production and restoration process. There have been many knock-offs - including Brian DePalma's derivative 1976 "Obsession", Kenneth Branagh's blackly humorous 1991 "Dead Again" and most recently, Jun Ichikawa's coldly antiseptic 2005 "Tony Takitani" - but this is most definitely the one to experience.
quick reviews!
yes, quick, as others reviewers have gone into greater depth, and i can't add anything new.Oh baby, what a film! 1958!!! This has plot twists, even effects that put movies of today to shame. One of the most complex films ever made, with something new arising with each viewing, I think this, along with The Seven Samurai, is the best movie of all time. The first time I watched it, I had no idea how it would end, and what would become of Scotty and Madeleine. My only qualm is the fact that Midge completely disappears from the movie in the second half. Why?! It's not important though. Superbly shot, and immaculately directed, as always. 10 out of 10
Classic Hitchcock and Stewart
An interesting psychological piece that richly displays Hitchcock's talents. It is unfair to compare this film to the suspense thrillers of today which are subjected to more realism in sex and violence. Hitchcock had to be more subtle in 1958, where I'm sure a work like this, that seems tame by today's standards, appeared bizarre and risqué. Also the acting here seems histrionic; not that people actually spoke like that in the 50s but the audiences liked such dictionally refined dialogue back then as opposed to the lines of modern-day scripts that more accurately portray the way individuals speak.

James Stewart and Kim Novak are appealing on numerous levels, the former mainly because he doesn't wander far from the amiable joe we have come to expect (even though he does weird-out near the conclusion) and the latter because she maintains a veneer of vulnerability that we can relate to.

This is not a film I especially like (I couldn't watch it again and again) but I respect for its strong filmmaking.
Great Acting and Thills + Hitchcock= What Might Be the Best Picture Caught On Film
This movie is just breathtaking with all its visuals and its aura is just amazing. The cinematography and of course the directing and impeccable acting is just many of the ingredients to Hitchcock's masterpiece. It is undoubtedly his best work, and is a cinematic masterpiece to this day, it is one of the best pictures caught on film, so pure and enigmatic to film history, it flows like good wine. Anyone who doesn't agree doesn't understand film at all, or is just one-sided or biased against this film. THe only way this film should ever be remade is if Hitchcock rises from the grave to direct it himself, otherwise it should never be touched or ruined, and left alone as the masterpiece it is. This is a masterpiece through all cinema's history, so hopefully Hollywood will get the point, and not touch it. Some movies need to be remade, but this is not one of them.
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