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Vertigo (1958)

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A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Samuel Taylor) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,601 ( 205)
Top Rated Movies #73 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Scottie's Doctor
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Car Owner Mistaken for Madeleine
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Storyline

John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, he believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine. Written by filmfactsman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Alfred Hitchcock engulfs you in a whirlpool of terror and tension! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 July 1958 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

'Vertigo'  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,479,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,783, 30 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,000,000, 31 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1996 restored)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.50 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was unavailable for decades because its rights (together with four other pictures of the same period) were bought back by Alfred Hitchcock and left as part of his legacy to his daughter. They've been known for long as the infamous "Five Lost Hitchcocks" amongst film buffs, and were re-released in theatres around 1984 after a 30-year absence. The others are The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Rear Window (1954), Rope (1948), and The Trouble with Harry (1955). See more »

Goofs

When Madeleine enters the church, she leaves the door wide open behind her. Scottie follows her only moments later and the door is closed. He has to open it, and he then has to deliberately pulls it shut as he enters, unlike Madeleine. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Officer on rooftop: Give me your hand. Give me your hand.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Paramount logo is in black and white while the rest of the film, including the closing Paramount logo, is in Technicolor. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost Highway (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 34 in C K. 338, 2nd Movement, Andante di Molto (piu tosto allegretto)
(uncredited)
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Played as 'cue 10B' on a record in the psychiatric ward
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Let there be color!
26 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Since there are already so many real good comments on this film I want to focus on only one aspect.

Vertigo is a great example for what color films really can look like! Not only do I want to praise the quality of the Technicolor dye transfer prints but also more the way Hitchcock used color to create moods. Many directors used light to create moods in black and white movies but only very few ever got so far as to use the much greater palette of colors for the same purpose. One wonders why. Some directors decide for an overall color look, which is often done in the lab, but not on the set.

Vertigo is full of scenes where the colors have been saturated or changed to create a special feeling. Hitchcock even went so far as to openly dye some frames is bright unnatural colors. He played around with colors in all his color films but never as much as in this one. Think for example on James Stewart's nightmare in the middle of the film. There are frames dyed purple and green; the cemetery scenes are red, inserted to the rhythm of the music with normal frames. Kim Novak is often bathed in colored light like in the famous hotel room scene, where she appears like a ghost with all the green light around her.

The shading is also important. In the scene in the bookshop we hear a dark and sad story while at the same time the light dimes down to simulate dusk. In the scene where Judy remembers the real events in the bell tower it starts with an outdoor scene, which we have already seen but it is now much darker than the first time. In the sequence where Stewart follows Novak to the cemetery everything feels unnatural since every scene glows through the use of a filter that creates a blur.

The non-color of Kim Novak's dress as Madeleine is also a very important aspect in the film. She has to color her hair to become Madeleine again at the end of the picture.

The way color is used in this film gives it this dreamlike quality that allows endless interpretations. A true masterpiece!


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