Vertigo is a 1958 American film noir psychological thriller directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The plot was based on Boileau-1954 Narcejac’s novel D’entre les morts. Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor co-wrote the screenplay. But did you know that Vertigo replaced Citizen Kane as the greatest film ever made?
Critics first dismissed Vertigo, but it is today regarded as one of the finest pictures ever made. In the 2012 British Picture Institute’s Sight & Sound critics’ poll, it surpassed Citizen Kane as the finest film ever made. It was named ninth on the AFI’s list of the finest American movies in 2007.
What is the Plot Summary of Vertigo?
Following his early retirement as a detective from the San Francisco Police Department, John Ferguson – Scottie to his friends – gets fascinated with two women in quick succession, causing his long-time friend and former fiancée, Midge Wood, a designer of women’s underwear, to become concerned. The first is wealthy and elegant platinum blonde Madeleine Elster, the wife of his college acquaintance Gavin Elster, who hires John to follow her in Gavin’s belief that she may be a danger to herself in believing that the spirit of Carlotta Valdes has recently possessed her, Madeleine’s great-grandmother whom she knows nothing about but who committed suicide when she was twenty-six, Madeleine’s current age.
Judy Barton, whom John meets on the street one day, is the second. Judy is a working-class girl, but what makes John infatuated with her is that, despite her working-class appearance and brown hair, she is a carbon copy of Madeleine, into whom he attempts to change Judy. John’s first inquiry is whether there is any relationship between Madeleine and Judy. What happens between John and Madeleine and Judy is influenced by the reason John chose an early retirement: a recent working event revealed that he is acrophobic, which causes extreme Vertigo whenever he stares down from great heights. (Source: IMDB)
What Impact Did Vertigo Have on Hollywood?
The American New Wave emerged in the 1960s, although it began in 1958 with Vertigo. Its artistry and craftsmanship set it distinct from every other film released at the time. It was tragic and depressing. It’s endlessly rewatchable and different each time you view it. Color, composition, and even motions such as the dolly zoom were all used to perfection in the film.
They all were director flourishes that reinforced the myth that the filmmaker was the genuine author of any film. This auteur notion also influenced how Hollywood shifted. They realized that directors with a distinct style might serve as their marketing weapon. And film theorists decided films dealing with complicated emotions and moral dilemmas were worth investigating.
Vertigo helped Hollywood be taken seriously, allowed movies to be regarded as both art and entertainment, and put the world’s weight on every director’s shoulders.
The film also altered our perception of endings. (Source: No Film School)
Image from Intofilm