Vertigo has all the hallmarks of Hitchcock. This film tells the story of a detective who quits out of guilt for his dead colleague. While chasing criminals through the roofs of San Francisco buildings, the detective called Scottie (James Stewart) is slipped and has acrophobia (phobia of heights) which makes it difficult for him to get out of his grip. His co-policeman who was in pursuit turned around trying to help Scottie. Unfortunately, his colleague slipped and fell from the roof of the building to his death. Best Movie Site
There is an interesting discovery when presenting Scottie’s acrophobia. The cameraman Irmin Roberts lowered the camera as he reduced the magnification, this effect became known as the “Vertigo effect”. This effect also brings us closer to the character Scottie, feels his fear, and presents a sense of vertigo itself that is caused by his acrophobia.
This shortcut to the first scene does not provide a concrete answer to whether Scottie survived the events. From the next scene, when Scottie talks to her best friend, Midge (Barbara del Geddes), it is clear that this scene occurs after the incident on the roof. Their chat explains that Scottie resigned from the police for fear that her phobia would reappear and the incident on the roof would repeat itself.
Other than that, there’s Hitchcock’s deliberate oddity here. Scottie’s back was in pain as if to give an indication that he had fallen from the roof. The probability that Scottie survived falling from the roof was virtually impossible, given the death of his police officer. There are several possibilities. First, Scottie survived and caused him back pain. God may be giving this ex-detective a second life to pursue what he hasn’t achieved before, which is to love and be loved. This love affair is recorded in Scottie-Midge’s conversation, at their age that they are no longer young, looking for a partner might be the goal of life.
The second possibility is more interesting, Scottie is dying and we are looking at a shortcut to life while he is guessing his future. This phenomenon is similar to a life review, except that Scottie is not reviewing his past, but his future. This possibility is also shared by film critic James F. Maxfield’s journal article entitled “A Dreamer and his Dream: Another Way of Looking at Hitchcock’s“ Vertigo ””.
Hitchcock is skilled at imprinting the symbols that make up this film. Love can make Scottie have goals, while her phobias can keep her from reaching them. Then, Scottie is given encouragement from his old friend, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) to overcome his phobia and perhaps reach his last goal of life, which is to stalk Gavin’s wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak) who is acting strangely. This impulse was apparently under the guise. From this scene Hitchcock, the mystery master, can show off his best.
We are invited to follow Scottie’s normal life as a detective in a mystical case. Madeleine is believed to be possessed by Carlotta Valdes, a woman who killed herself because her child was taken. Gavin gives a hint that Madeleine is Carlotta’s great-grandson. Trying to believe in all these supernatural things causes Scottie to lose her mind, fall for Madeleine’s beauty, and show her obsession with love. Movie Review
Even though Madeleine had an affair with Scottie, we don’t see any guilt in either character. We are constantly fed and blinded by Scottie’s obsession to find reasons and justifications for Madeleine’s possession. By stringing Carlotta’s memories that crossed Madeleine’s mind, the friction between the past and the present is hoped that Scottie can be a cure for this woman. However, it seems that here the detective is obsessed with finding justification to satisfy himself.
The first hour of the film is a very interesting mystery solving. After that, comes the first tension in Madeleine’s suicide scene on top of the San Juan Bautista tower. Hitchcock’s directional concoction in building tension in this scene was brilliant. The tug of war for Scottie and Madeleine was twisted little by little. The tension that is built very well is also very much determined by the musical factor of Bernard Herrmann. The violin and cello accompaniment was brilliant, slowly raising the tension, adjusting to Stewart’s movements, then killing with a gong during Madeleine’s fall. In fact, the scene in the second San Juan Bautista is similar to the first scene there, the concoction is much more intense with incredible suspense. An ultimate climax.
The second half of this film further shows the acting prowess of the two main characters, namely Stewart and Novak. Stewart, who often dominates the scene with his messiness, is confused by Hitchcock and is required to display gestures and facial expressions that are often doubtful. He was even “muteed” when Scottie was admitted to a mental hospital due to trauma over the Madeleine incident. Stewart’s appearance may not have been as brilliant as his tears in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), but here we see another persona of Stewart. He was no longer a gapless protagonist, but an ordinary human with many gaps. Her role as Scottie is very effective.
Luckily Hitchcock refused the ending to clarify the future of Scottie and Gavin who fled to Europe. Roughly cutting the story of Judy’s death presents thousands of interpretations that make this film look richer and more famous. Until now, many think Vertigo is just a wishful thinking of Scottie’s future hanging on the roof of a building, or half the end is just an image of Scottie playing in his mind. Only Hitchcock knew. One thing is clear: Vertigo is one of the best films of all time. Top Movie