My rating: 9
IMDB rating: 8.5
To me, watching a Hitchcock film is like stepping into an alternative universe. There, different rules apply than in our (in comparison) mundane, colorless world. We analysed this film in Film Class and although there exists countless literature on this film and its different narrative and stylistic features, everyone in the class was able to find something unique about the film. One in particular, talked about the depiction of the ultimate woman in this film, as embodies through Midge, Madeleine and Judy.
What I found quite amazing, and this was also the topic of my research essay, was the placement of the character Scottie in and between doors during the Judy/Madeleine transformation. To me, this can be compared to the mythical, Janus (the two-faced god of doors and beginnings) and during the the final scene Scottie undergoes a godlike transformation, that in the last high angled shot, likens him to Janus, fully.
Since the release of the 2012 movie, Hitchcock, emphasis has again been placed on Hitchcock’s obsession with blonde woman. Kim Novak is no exception; as Madeleine she is a blonde, but as Judy, a brunette she needs to be transformed into a blonde. This is just one of the many ways that the Oedipal figure of Scottie is compared to that of Hitchcock himself.
The use of color in this film is amazing; from the blonde hair, the beach scenes, to the famous green mist that Judy emerges from as Madeleine, this film uses literally every cinematographic element to its full advantage.
The question remains; why should you, as a 21st century viewer still be watching Hitchcock and his Vertigo? The answer is so simple, it is almost too easy. Vertigo is an amazingly technical film, with a brilliant narrative, all its issues are even more relevant today than it ever were, it was made in a time where Hollywood was at its prime but still it is unpolluted of the modern Hollywood ‘blockbuster-phenoma’. Initial reviews were so bad, that Hitchcock later refused to show the film, but since 1996 this film has been called the greatest achievement in cinema, and how right they are!
For other great reviews of Vertigo, read: