Midge Wood
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Biography for
Midge Wood (Character)
from Vertigo (1958)

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A secondary character in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Midge, played by Barbera Bel Geddis, plays the role of Jimmy Stwart's confidant and friend. In the film she is a designer of Lingerie who listens to Jimmy's problems and tries to come up with solutions.

As the film progresses it would appear that she starts to fall for Stewart's character (Scotty) and she becomes jealous of his constant infatuation with Kim Novak's enigmatic character (Madeline). She eventually puts her profession on the back burners to paint a self portrait for Scotty, which he finds offensive.

The movie is really not about Midge. She serves a purpose for the viewer and then largely dissapears from the plot. However she remains faithful to Scotty throughout.

Where Madeleine represents a romantic, otherworldly ideal, Midge stands for its opposite. The bespectacled Midge is practical, competent, realistic, and well adjusted. An artist by training, she applies her skill to prosaic ends, creating advertisements for womens undergarments. Throughout the film, she attempts to keep Scotties feet on the ground. First, she tries to change Scotties mind about giving up his detective job and works on helping him overcome his acrophobia. When he begins his job trailing Madeleine, Midge attempts to unmask the improbability of the situation. Her constant attempts to make Scottie discuss the case reveal her desire to ground the mystery in reality and his unwillingness to do so. Scottie considers Midges treatment of Madeleines world to be a kind of blasphemy, and it becomes clear to Midge that she will find no entrance into that world. It is significant that the last shot of Midge is of her retreating down the hall of the sanatorium. She has been unable to bring Scottie out of his catatonic state and back to reality. He is now firmly entrenched in the world of illusion, beyond the reach of the real world.

Midge identifies herself at least three times as "mother." "Mother's here," she says to Scottie in the mental hospital. While Midge flirtingly discusses the architecture of the brassiere (her banter is bright but all on the surface, despite her deep feelings; shes "a known quantity," in Woods words), Madeleine is introduced as a mystery woman.

Midge herself contrasts markedly with Madeleine; Hitchcocks assessment of her is a sympathetic portrait: Midge is practical, realistic, emancipated, positive and healthy in her outlook. But from the outset the inadequacies revealed later are hinted it these flaws make here a more sympathetic/realistic character. A trained artist she devotes her energies to sketching advertisements for brassieres. Entirely devoid of mystery or reserve, the kind of sexuality she represents is suggested by her smart sex-chat about corsets and brassieres (You know about those things, youre a big boy now) again reflecting her mothering attitude.

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