Vertigo – a masterpiece?

Vertigo, a 1958 suspense film, was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Many people beleive that this film is Hitchcock’s masterpiece.

The movie tells the story of a detective in San Francisco. The detectives name is Scottie who is played by James Stewart. Scottie leaves the police force after a fellow policeman falls and dies while the two were chasing a criminal across rooftops in downtown San Francisco. Unemployed at the time an old friend hires Scottie for his services to his wife Madeleine who is played by Kim Novak. His friend, Gavin Elster, claims that Madeleine often is found staring off into space and will even occasionally drive to an unkown point and than later have no memory of it. Scottie is skeptical, but Gavin believes Madeleine has a mental illness in which is possessed by a spirit of someone long dead.

Scottie follows Madeleine for several days. As he watches her, she visits the grave of a woman named Carlotta Valdes who killed herself years ago, makes frequent visits to an art museum where she spends long periods of time gazing at a large potrait of Carlotta, and rents a room at a hotel which was once Carlotta’s home. Madeleine dresses like Carlotta, with identical hairstyle and jewlery. This behaviour is very perculiar to Scottie. Madeleine faints one day and falls into a lake. Scottie gets her out from the water and brings her to his apartment. He sets her to lie in front of the fire to dry off. Here the two fall in love.

The above is just a quick play by play of events in the first part of vertigo. I don’t want to ruin the movie but more just give you an idea of what the movie is about without watching it. Most notably the film is known for Hitchcock’s famous Cinematic qualities like the “Hitchcock zoom,”. I hope this outline has been helpful and that if you choose to watch the film, you will enjoy it as I have!

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