Monday, November 20, 2006

Vertigo (1958)

Actors: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Dir: Sir Alfred Hitchcock

A psychological thriller, it is one of the best movies of Sir Alfred. This is a fantastically designed movie right from the title sequence, where Sir Alfred has used some graphic elements to drive the Vertigo name through the viewers mind.

Given all that, the fact that Vertigo was recognized as a culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant film by the National Film Registry (USA) in 1989 is not at all surprizing. This monumental film had to be restored in 1996 and if you watch it now (like I have) you wouldn’t even believe that this film was made way back in the 50’s.

John Ferguson (aka) Scottie is a San Fransisco detective retires from the force because of an acrophobia (fear of heights) he has developed. While he is contemplating what he should do post retirement, he meets one of his old classmates, Elster. This man is now the husband of the last living heiress of a large business family. The man believes his wife is now being possessed by her great grandmonthers spirit and she is being forced to commit suicide by the spirit.

This man wants Scottie to follow his wife and prevent her from commiting suicide. Scottie reluctantly agrees to trail his wife and even falls in love with her. He manages to rescue Madaleine once from drowning but couldn’t the next time when she climbs on top of a tower to plummet to death, because of his acrophobic tendencies. Because of the death of Madaleine, Scottie becomes mentally depressed for a while.

Later Scottie finds a girl called Judy who resembles Madeleine in every aspect. This is when Sir Alfred’s master directorship comes into play. The story then takes a complete U-turn. It turns out that Elster had hired Judy (who resembled his wife) to kill his Madaleine, threw her body from the top of the tower making Scottie a witness. He makes Scottie the witness by making him first believe about the sprit story and exploiting Scottie’s acrophobic tendencies.

It is amazing to see the way Sir Alfred produces twists and turns to keep you at the edge of your seat throughout the movie. A must watch.

Trivia: Sir Alfred makes his cameo 11 minutes into the film. He is seen walking in the street dressed in a gray suit.

No comments: