This post for
Backlot’s Hitchcock Halloween
both new and previous material.
Happy Halloween to Fearless Leader Lara & Bloggers!
You’re in The House Where Spoilers Dwell! ***
(No fooling —
SPOILERS galore here!)
For me, Vertigo
keeps getting better over time! It’s hard to believe
now, but when I was younger, I used to have a love/hate relationship with Alfred
Hitchcock’s classic romantic psychological thriller
I loved its suspense; its
moving performances; the dreamlike quality of its haunting love story; and most
of all, Bernard Herrmann’s score. So why did it take me years to embrace
as wholeheartedly as our beleaguered
hero John “Scottie” Ferguson embraces his beloved Madeleine Elster? The
ever-awesome James Stewart (from such classic Hitchcock thrillers as Rear Window;
The Man Who Knew Too Much; Rope;
and the not-Hitchcockian but nevertheless
Oscar-winning performance in The Philadelphia
(yes, sometimes even Team Bartilucci enjoys non-Hitchcock movies!).
|Dames! They always put a guy in a spin!|
John Ferguson, “Scottie” to friends (more about that shortly). Scottie is a
former police detective who finds out the hard way that he has acrophobia (fear
of heights, to us laypeople) when he can’t save a patrolman from falling to his
death during a rooftop chase. Since Vertigo
is a Hitchcock movie, what
better place for our hero to live and wrestle with his phobia than San
Francisco; oh, that Hitch, always adding a touch of sadism for his beleaguered
protagonists to work through, that scamp!
|Poor Scottie would rather be on The Spirit of St. Louis right now!|
Scottie as he’s visiting longtime friend Midge Wood, played by scene-stealer
Barbara Bel Geddes from Panic in the Streets; I Remember Mama;
as the beloved Miss Ellie. Fun Fact:
Bel Geddes was
also the daughter of Norman Bel Geddes, the renowned theatrical and industrial
designer. But I digress! Scottie and Midge had been engaged “for three whole
weeks” before they opted to be just friends instead, though it sure looks to me like it’s clear Midge
would like more. Midge is working on a cantilever bra invented by an engineer;
nice work if you can get it! Ever loyal, Midge tries to help Scottie overcome
his fear of heights gradually with stepladders: “I look up, I look down...” And
it was all going so well! Too bad the ladders happened to be next to Midge’s
high-rise apartment window; poor guy, it's always something!
| Madeleine Elster: It's magic...or maybe witchcraft...whatever it is,we're spellbound!|
Scottie’s old college chum Gavin Elster (suave Tom Helmore from Designing
Woman; Advise and Consent;
and several episodes of Alfred
offers Scottie a private investigator
job tailing his lovely but troubled young wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak in her
finest, most challenging, and moving performance, even more so than The Man
with the Golden Arm
and the 1964 version of Of Human Bondage)
seems that Madeleine—one of the coolest and most elegant of the director’s
legendary “Hitchcock Blondes"—thinks she’s possessed by the spirit of her late
great-grandmother Carlotta Valdes, and is behaving accordingly. Scottie, ever
the “hard-headed Scot,” is a tough sell at first:
“Scottie, do you believe that someone out of the past, someone dead, can enter
and take possession of a living being?”
“If I told you that I believe this has happened to my wife, what would you say?”
Scottie: “Well, I’d say take her to the nearest psychiatrist, or
psychologist, or neurologist, or psycho—or maybe just the plain family doctor.
I’d have him check on you, too.”
But it soon becomes clear Gavin is serious about his troubled wife, so for old
times’ sake, Scottie takes the job and discreetly tails Madeleine all over San
Francisco to the places where the tragic Carlotta lived, loved, and went mad
after her sugar daddy “threw her away” and kept their love child. Midge has
plenty of knowledge about the old days of San Francisco, like “…who shot who in
the Embarcadero in August 1879.” Midge and Scottie go to The Argosy Book Shop,
where all the great San Francisco sleuths like Sam Spade in
The Maltese Falcon
and Phillip Marlowe in
The Big Sleep
and Murder, My Sweet
take care of no-goodniks, with the help of book seller/historian “Pop” Liebel
(Konstantin Shayne from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty The Stranger; The Seventh
It’s like the most elegant, discreet
shadowing ever — that’s what I call class!
Scottie: so close and yet so far! |
Our determined hawkshaw
finally comes face to face with his quarry after saving her when she jumps into
the bay in one of her fugue states. That’s “meeting cute” on a whole other
level! Interestingly, Scottie introduces himself by his Christian name, John,
and Madeleine says she likes that strong name — and yet they both end up calling
him “Scottie,” a more playful, almost childlike name. Perhaps it’s because the
two of them aren’t truly comfortable because Madeleine just might be hiding
secrets from him? To quote The Marvelettes
, the hunter is captured by the game. Soon Scottie and
Madeleine are mad for each other— but it seems poor troubled Madeleine is also
mad in a less romantic way. When she confides in Scottie about her recurring
morbid dreams about the Mission at San Juan Bautista, Scottie brings her there
in hopes of curing her obsession. Bad move, Scottie — Madeleine bolts to the
bell tower! Scottie gives chase, but his vertigo paralyzes him halfway up the
stairs (great spatial F/X here). Poor Madeleine! Where’s Dr. Constance Petersen
when you need her? And
poor Scottie! He hears a woman screaming, sees a body fall past the
window...and his beloved Madeleine is no more.
|Carlotta Valdes' final resting place...unless she's subletting with Madeleine's soul!|
Or is she? After he recovers from a grief-induced nervous breakdown, Scottie
spies shopgirl Judy Barton (the versatile Novak again). Except for her red hair
and somewhat tacky fashion sense, Judy’s a dead ringer for Madeleine! As their
relationship grows, so does audience apprehension as Scottie obsessively tries
to give Judy the ultimate makeover, recreating his lost love. Granted, the hosts
of What Not to Wear
have lately gone their separate ways while still
being pals, but still: where are Stacy and Clinton when you need
|Yikes! Not a lifeguard in sight! Thank goodness for Scottie's |
quick thinking and Madeleine's natural buoyancy!
turns out to be a quick study — because she’s really Madeleine! You see, Judy
was Gavin Elster’s mistress, and he coached her to look and act like the real
Madeleine Elster as part of a murder plot. ’Twas the real Mrs. Elster who died
at the mission that fateful day, and Elster’s real purpose for poor Scottie was
to witness the “suicide.” The hell of is that Judy truly loves
Scottie. On top of that, she also has all
the self-esteem of a squashed grape, poor thing, and doesn’t want to spill the murder plot,
what with those pesky laws and such. So Judy’s willing to play Eliza Doolittle
to Scottie’s macabre Henry Higgins. But the jig is up when, post-makeover, Judy
wears a necklace Scottie recognizes as part of Madeleine's Carlotta Valdes
Collection! Furious at being played for a sucker, Scottie takes Judy to the
mission tower and forces her to confess. With their emotions kicked up, Scottie
and Judy embrace with yearning and regret, but a black shape looms.
Guilt-ridden Judy is so spooked by what turns out to be a curious nun (Judy
must’ve gone to one of those tough parochial schools) that she loses her balance
and falls...and a shattered Scottie loses his Madeleine a second, final time,
looking like he wants to join her.
|I love Scottie and Madeleine's big romantic kiss;|
it's like From Here to Eternity with clothes on!
When I first saw Vertigo
in my college years during its 1980s re-release,
I thought it was well worth seeing, but Scottie’s necrophilic mania to recreate
Judy as Madeleine really upset me at the time. I found myself rooting for/angry
at/sorry for Scottie and Judy all at once. Stewart’s portrayal of a man obsessed
is tragic and unnerving; Hitchcock really knew how to tap into his leading man’s
dark side. As if the ghoulishness of Scottie’s romantic obsession and the
malleable Judy’s heartbreaking lack of self-esteem weren’t frustrating enough,
even the department store salespeople and salon personnel in the film go along
with Scottie’s demands. As the salon stylists say, “The gentleman certainly
seems to know what he wants,” and even they
were giving Scottie odd
looks, despite Judy’s anguished protests. Even Vinnie, my husband, aptly noted
that everyone on screen acted as if Scottie was simply having a pedigreed dog
groomed. Kind of brings a new take on Hitchcock’s famous “Actors are like
cattle” bon mot,
|Poor Scottie! Even in his dreams, Carlotta gives him the Hairy Eyeball!|
On my first time around, it seemed to me that Hitchcock gave away the mystery's
solution too soon, making the rest of the film anticlimactic. But my
appreciation for Vertigo
grew over the years as I matured and learned
more about life, people, and emotions. By the time Vinnie and I saw the
beautifully restored version of Vertigo
at NYC’s Ziegfeld Theatre in
1996, Judy’s revelatory letter touched my heart and added to the suspense of
waiting for the other shoe to drop for Scottie. There’s no question that
has long since become one of my favorite Hitchcock films! (Fun
Fact: Our longtime buddy Jason Simos of Focus Features happened to be waiting
on line for the movie, so we all went together and had a great time, and I was
surprised with a baby shower at my mother-in-law’s home!
The Lighter Side
Make no mistake, I’ve found
progressively more riveting and fascinating over time. I wouldn’t change a frame
of it now, from the powerful performances to Bernard Herrmann’s swooning,
poignant score. That said, in my heart of hearts, I’m still a sucker for, if not a
full-tilt happy ending, then at least a hopeful one. Heck, I’ll even take an
ending that isn’t entirely plausible, if only because I find myself feeling for
the characters. That’s why I’ve sometimes toyed with alternate ways that
plot could have turned out, at least to satisfy my own private amusement and
“what-if” thoughts about the characters' fates. It’s just that I’ve come to care
so much about those obsessed but strangely lovable crazy kids John “Scottie” Ferguson and Madeleine Elster,
Judy Barton, so the softie in me can’t help wondering how Vertigo’s
would have unfolded with just a few little behavioral tweaks in these
characters. Goshdarnit, where are screenwriters Alec Coppel & Samuel Taylor and
source authors Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac when you really need them?
|"Oh, Johnny-O, where's your wry sense of humor? And you wonder |
why we broke up our engagement in college!"
obvious change, of course, would have been for Judy not to go along with Gavin
Elster’s wife-killing scheme in the first place, but then we’d have no movie. So
let’s say Judy goes along with the San Juan Bautista murder plot up until the
fateful moment when, in Madeleine mode, she skedaddles up to the mission
tower—where poor acrophobic Scottie can’t follow her—and screams when Scottie
can no longer see her, cuing Elster to give his real wife’s body the big
sendoff, making it look like poor possessed Madeleine leapt to her death. Remember how,
before Judy/Madeleine breaks free from Scottie’s embrace to dash for the tower,
he gives her that heartfelt speech about how the past should be forgotten,
they’re together now, and hugging and kissing ensue? What if Judy took a moment
to think it over (by now it’s obvious that she loves Scottie more than that fiend Elster
anyway) and said, “You’re right, Scottie my love, we were meant for each other.
Let’s blow this clambake and start a new life together,” or some
Madeleine-appropriate equivalent? I can see it now: Scottie and his beloved
drive away while that murdering bastard Elster is left holding the bag, no pun
intended. If nuns or tourists should happen upon Elster getting ready to toss
the real Madeleine’s corpse over the side, he might try to squirm out of it by
claiming she slipped and hit her head, breaking her neck. Elster might even try
to sue the mission for damages—unless, of course, an autopsy proved foul play.
How sophisticated were autopsies in 1958, anyway?
|Judy's gonna sit right down and write herself a letter confessing the murder plot—or will she? |
Considering Scottie is still calling our heroine “Madeleine” at this point, I’m
imagining her snuggling up to him as they drive away, cooing, “You can call me
Judy. All my friends do.” Hey, if Scottie can go by his nickname, so can Judy!
Of course, presuming our lovebirds don’t head off at once for someplace where a
suspicious San Francisco death might not be news, Judy would probably have some
explaining to do when Scottie got wind of Mrs. Elster’s untimely demise. Would
Judy tell Scottie the truth, taking a chance on him becoming disillusioned with
her and leaving? Would she try to make it look like Elster had backed her into a
corner, leaving her no choice but to go along with his plan until the last
|"Pop" Leibel" knows all the scuttlebutt from old San Francisco,|
plus the first-ever draft of Fifty Shades of Gray, that slyboots!
Then again, if Elster were arrested for murder, Judy would surely either be
arrested as an accomplice or be required to testify in court. (In 1958, would
Raymond Burr have been cast as Judy’s attorney?) Would Scottie decide that,
regardless, he loves Judy so much (especially in her Madeleine garb) he’d lie
for her, or run off with her to Rio or some other place where extradition is
more trouble than it’s worth? And what about his faithful, long-suffering gal
pal, Midge Wood? What if she gets tired of being Scottie’s soft place to fall,
finds out about Scottie trading her in for Judy/Madeleine, and decides to make
trouble for the lovebirds? Sounds like a heck of a film noir to me!
On the other hand, Midge might decide her “Johnny-O” isn’t “the only man for
(her)” after all. Come to think of it, we never did find out why Scottie and
Midge broke off their college engagement. What was the real story behind that, I
wonder? Maybe he’s got cold feet, or maybe Midge did. Sometimes it’s easier to
fall in love with someone he can never really have because of his own issues.
Anyway, I want to see Midge find a nice fella on her wavelength who’d give her
his undivided attention. She could stop worrying about Scottie and concentrate
on her career. She could join forces with that engineer who came up with the
cantilevered bra Midge was working on when we first met her. They could design
the lingerie and the factory!
|It's not easy to live a double life (oy, my head...)|
Let’s say love conquers all plot devices, and Scottie and Judy make a life
together. What about his obsession with “Madeleine”? Would Judy decide blondes
really do have more fun, and stick with the Madeleine look on her own terms and
not just because Scottie’s dotty about it? I can hear the lovebirds now:
|...but there's some perks to the gig! |
Stacy & Clinton would approve!
“Scottie, sweetie, I’ll wear my hair Madeleine style Monday through Friday and
wear it loose on weekends, okay?”
“Aw, Judy, honey, if the style’s too much work, I’ll learn how to make that
little chignon ’do for ya.”
Would Judy gradually bring in more Judyish attire? V-e-r-y gradually,
since Scottie has apparently become more of an expert on feminine fashions and
grooming than most “red-blooded” men of that era would dare admit. Scottie
Ferguson, World’s Earliest Metrosexual! So would Judy sport a tacky bracelet
here, a schmear of fire-engine-red lipstick there, until she’s more like
her old pleasantly trashy self? She could even come home from the beauty salon
one evening with more of a strawberry blonde tinge to her tresses. If Scottie
ever complained that “You’re not the girl I fell in love with,” he’d be right!
|Oh, to be torn 'twixt love and Judy!|
Here's a clip of that magnificent 360 shot that shifts from the hotel room to the mission.
And here's a fan-made video of the song "Carlotta Valdez" by Harvey Danger!
Wait! You're writing about a film I've actually seen? OK, no one leaves the room until I've determined what happened to the real Dorian.ReplyDelete
Anyway . . .
When it comes to Hitchcock and James Stewart I tend to prefer REAR WINDOW. Not that VERTIGO isn't a good film. In fact I find it to be brilliant . . .
No, that's not right. Truth be told I usually find the movie on TCM. But I still consider VERTIGO to be brilliant. My problem is that Hitchcock (and Stewart) did their jobs too well. VERTIGO is at the top of my list of Creepiest Films Hitchcock Ever Made. Others might quibble, but compared to VERTIGO I find PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and others to be sunny strolls in the park. Stewart's portrayal of a man undergoing gradual obsession with a woman invariably sends little icy kittycat paws strolling up and down my spine. If I'd been sitting next to Scottie Ferguson on, say, a park bench, and just learned of what the heck had been going on, I'd be surreptitiously edging further and further away, and that's even given the fact that the obsession is over Kim Novak (who, admittedly, is worth obsessing over, but we're not talking BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE here).
But, all disturbances aside, I will usually plop myself in front of the television to watch VERTIGO for several reasons: chief among them being the relationship between Stewart's character and the character of Midge (interestingly played by Barbara Bel Geddes), which to me was the far more interesting story (it could be said that I'm more interested in the Bel Geddes than the bell tower, but you people go through enough hell with me as it is). Also worth waiting for is the scene at the Argosy Book Store (every so often, while in the course of performing a chore, I'll find myself murmuring "the Sad Carlotta . . . the crazy as a bucket of wet rats Carlotta . . ."
And another "Real Story We Should Hear": do San Francisco museums readily hand out freebie shmoozy catalogs to any shmoe who wanders in and asks for them? The reason I ask is because if I had filmed VERTIGO, and placed the story in (for example: Houston), the similar scene in the museum would've produced peals of derisive laughter from the guard.
Michael -- or should we say "Mikey-O" in playful tribute of our movie and the ever-charming Barbara Bel Geddes?:-) -- you've outdone yourself with your witty comments throughout this post! I especially got a kick out of:Delete
"VERTIGO is at the top of my list of Creepiest Films Hitchcock Ever Made. Others might quibble, but compared to VERTIGO I find PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and others to be sunny strolls in the park."
And: "Also worth waiting for is the scene at the Argosy Book Store (every so often, while in the course of performing a chore, I'll find myself murmuring "'the Sad Carlotta . . . the crazy as a bucket of wet rats Carlotta . . ."'
And: '"Stewart's portrayal of a man undergoing gradual obsession with a woman invariably sends little icy kittycat paws strolling up and down my spine. If I'd been sitting next to Scottie Ferguson on, say, a park bench, and just learned of what the heck had been going on, I'd be surreptitiously edging further and further away, and that's even given the fact that the obsession is over Kim Novak (who, admittedly, is worth obsessing over, but we're not talking BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE here)."
Thanks for joining the Hitchcockian fun and frolic (we all know what a prankster he was, especially on Halloween), and all of us here at Team Bartilucci HQ hope you and yours have a fun yet safe Halloween! :-D
This piece reminds me that I have to rewatch Vertigo soon. Yet I wouldn't have the surprises and the mind blowing twists of the first time, I'm sure I'll see new details.ReplyDelete
You made a very good point about letting the pair together. I wish this, too, and as well I wish Norman wasn't such a crazy guy in Psycho. But maybe this would ruin the whole Hitchcock world.
By the way, I'm crazy about Madeleine's hair styles!
Don't forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)
Le, I'm glad you and I agree that it would be great if we could somehow figure out how to give Scottie and Judy/Madeleine happy endings in VERTIGO -- even one for poor Norman Bates! We should be writing these films, even though we know it would change the whole thing! :-) And yes, I like her hairstyles, too! :-) I'm looking forward to reading your contribution! Thanks, and kisses and Happy Halloween to you, my friend! :-)Delete
The first time I saw "Vertigo", my reaction was "What did I just see?". It's also my reaction on the fifth and sixth time. However, the inflection is different. I'm no longer befuddled, but in awe.ReplyDelete
I loved the journey through your fevered imaginary endings. This truly is one of those movies where the characters become so real that they live beyond the screen.
Caftan Woman, many thanks for your enthusiastic comments about THE TWO FACES OF VERTIGO! You're so right: VERTIGO truly is the kind of movie where the film becomes more intriguing with each new viewing. I especially loved your comment: "This truly is one of those movies where the characters become so real that they live beyond the screen." You betcha, C.W.! :-)Delete
Well, interesting to read your post and the comments because I also respect but never quite warmed to Vertigo, (REAR WINDOW is the Hitchcock I love) maybe i saw VERTIGO too young to get it, or maybe I'm being my contrarian self when I rebel against liking what critics say now is the greatest movie ever. Maybe I need to just watch it again. Someone, maybe you, could pick up on that part in your post where you say it's very noir, to ponder on the most noir Hitchcock movies. He's not usually considered a noir director but THE WRONG MAN, I CONFESS, VERTIGO, would not be a bad fit in the genre. Good read, thanks. oh and, like we don't ALL know who shot who in the Embarcadero in August 1879!ReplyDelete
Kristina, you and I are in many ways on the same wavelength when it comes to VERTIGO, in that I too didn't totally love it right off the bat, but I appreciated it more as years went by. I think part of the thing about VERTIGO is that it was clearly a very personal labor of love for Hitch, kinda like having a child who marches to his or her own drummer, and even if it's not 100% your cup of tea or you're still trying to understand the kid entirely, you learn what makes them tick and when you get it, you love the kid all the more (kinda like my daughter, who's been diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome, who's doing splendedly, in a regular school with friends and everything! But I digress....)Delete
I like your comment: ..."it's very noir, to ponder on the most noir Hitchcock movies...He's not usually considered a noir director but THE WRONG MAN, I CONFESS, VERTIGO, would not be a bad fit in the genre Hitchcock movies." See, there's always a little Hitchcock in every suspense movie; indeed, I've always thought there's always an element of film noir in his work, whether he realized it or not. In fact, I think you'd like this piece from our friend and fellow blogger THE LADY EVE'S REEL LIFE, in which Eve discusses the noir-ish aspects of Hitchcock's unholy trio: SHADOW OF A DOUBT's Uncle Charlie, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN's Bruno Anthony, and of course, PSYCHO's Norman Bates! Here's the link, if you're interested:
For the record, my favorite Hitchcock films are NORTH BY NORTHWEST, REAR WINDOW, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, and THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. Your quip about the Embarcadero cracked me up, too!
Thanks for your praise and for being a great pal, Kristina, as always! I hope you and yours family are managing well with your mom, and have a great weekend, my friend!
Vertigo isn't a personal fave, but the Madeleine/Judy character is so interesting. The line between illusion and fantasy is such an intrinsic part of filmaking, and its rare that it's discussed or acknowledged; this is probably one of the best examples of it.ReplyDelete
I love the way character, costume and identity are so intertwined - this film is just clever on so many levels, I always take a new thought away every time I watch it.
Thank you for such an insightful post.
Girls On Film, we're happy to have you joining our Two Faces of VERTIGO chat here at Team Bartilucci HQ! I wholeheartedly agree that the Madeleine/Judy character is fascinating; indeed, even when I had to warm up to VERTIGO over the years, I was always fascinated by Judy/Madeleine, and Kim Novak's moving, complex performance in her dual role, including Edith Head and company for bringing both characters to stunning life. Thanks for joining the conversation!Delete
I really like "Vertigo" and very much enjoyed your take on it. (Self-esteem of "a squashed grape" is a brilliant description.) This is a creepy psychological thriller, and the casting couldn't be more perfect.ReplyDelete
Like you, I always wondered what happened between Midge and Scottie and I'm always a bit annoyed with Midge for not moving on.
Dor, I also loved your musings about "what if..." in this movie. Wonderful post!
Ruth, I'm delighted that you enjoyed my Two Faces of VERTIGO post; many thanks indeed for your positive comments and ruminations, my friend! I'm glad you agree that poor Midge REALLY needed to move on with her life; I always feel like saying, "Get over it and get a great new life for your own sake, Midge; face it, Scottie's just not that into you without the Madeleine look!" :-) Happy to have you join us here at our VERTIGO kaffeeklatch! :-DDelete
Loved your post on "Vertigo", one of my favorite movies. I agree that no matter how compelling the plot, and how beautifully filmed the story--we inevitably land with a thud at the ending, wishing for something kinder. That's human nature, I suppose, and perhaps the very thing Hitchcock was mocking. I think a lot of us have toyed with alternate endings, but never finding a solution.ReplyDelete
Jacqueline, thanks so much for your praise and thoughts on The Two Faces of VERTIGO! I'm glad to see that you and other fellow blogger pals agree that compelling as VERTIGO is, as you put it so well, "we inevitably land with a thud at the ending, wishing for something kinder...perhaps the very thing Hitchcock was mocking." I'm glad you joined us in the VERTIGO chat today!Delete
Great post, Dorian! I, like so many others, am endlessly fascinated with this film, although it makes absolutely no sense. As for alternate endings, I always imagine Midge skipping down the hallway of that hospital singing "I just dodged a bullet!"ReplyDelete
Chick, despite VERTIGO's many memorably moody, broody aspects, you also made great points, and you had me laughing out loud over your funny, clever "alternate ending!" I can't help giggling over the image of, in your words, "...Midge skipping down the hallway of that hospital singing "I just dodged a bullet!" :-D Thanks for joining the VERTIGO chat and leaving me with a good laugh to end the day! :-)Delete
Stating the obvious, VERTIGO is a brilliant film of Hitchcock's, arguably his best. It intensely re-watchable. But to tell the truth on a favorites level, I would rank REAR WINDOW, PSYCHO, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and a few others that I like to watch and love even more. It's kind of like Welles CITIZEN KANE and TOUCH OF EVIL. I know KANE is a masterpiece of cinema and can tell you many of the reasons why but on any given night, I rather watch TOUCH OF EVIL,one of my favorite noirs.ReplyDelete
Anyway. I especially liked your point about Hitch's dark humor in picking San Francisco as the location for a story about a man who is acrophobic. That never dawn on me. Superb piece here Dorian.
John, I understand where you're coming from in VERTIGO. Compelling and fascinating as it is, I also readily understand why you're more drawn to STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, REAR WINDOW, and many other Hitchcock films that are easier to cozy up to just from the sheer joy of Hitchcock's suspense thrillers, with their wry humor and pulse-pounding excitement. Just goes to show there are many facets of Hitchcock -- something for everyone, if you ask me! :-) Thanks for your kind praise and great comments about VERTIGO, John; always glad to have you join the conversation!Delete
What an enjoyable and fresh way to take on Vertigo, Dorian! Did you know there was an additional scene shot that was never used? I think the studio asked for it and Hitchcock obliged without much enthusiasm. It's a post-Judy's-death scene that takes place in Midge's apt. A worried-looking Midge, wearing her bathrobe, is sitting next to the radio listening to a news report that Gavin Elster is being tracked down in Europe and is expected to be extradited to the US soon. She hears Scottie at the door and turns off the radio. He enters and she hands him a drink. Both are pensive, gloomy - and silent. They walk to the window and look out into the night. The End. Glad it didn't make the final cut...I actually love Vertigo's ending, dark as it is. Absolutely stunning.ReplyDelete
I saw Vertigo again last Friday night. This time at the San Francisco Symphony. The score was stripped out and the orchestra provided it live, accompanying the film. Fabulous. This was the world premiere of Vertigo in this format. It was a wonderful event - we even sampled the special cocktail of the evening, "The Voyeur"...
Eve, thanks so much for your enthusiastic comments on "The Two Faces of VERTIGO"! I agree with you that even with my sentimental side wishing that Scottie and Judy/Madeleine could have made a life together, I still prefer Hitchcock's original downbeat ending version to the gloomy cop-out version with Midge and Scottie (I saw it on the deluxe DVD version my hubby Vinnie gave me last Christmas). Maybe someday I'll write that Judy/Madeleine version as a spoof just for the fun on it; I could call it I LOOK UP, I LOOK DOWN! :-) Which reminds me: when my sister's wedding hoopla runs its course (she's getting married on November 17th), I'm getting back to finishing my synopsis for my comedy-thriller THE PARANOIA CLUB, thanks to your kind encouragement! You're the best!Delete
Congratulations on getting to see VERTIGO again at the San Francisco Symphony, you lucky gal! I'm delighted that you got to enjoy it live, and I got a big kick out of the cocktail du jour that you described, "The Voyeur"! :-D