Following his early retirement as a detective from the San Francisco Police Department, John Ferguson - Scottie to his friends - becomes obsessed with two women in succession, those obsessions which trouble his long time friend and former fiancée, Midge Wood, a designer of women's undergarments. 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 thinking that she has recently been possessed by the spirit of Carlotta Valdes, Madeleine's great-grandmother who she knows nothing about, but who Gavin knows committed suicide in being mentally unbalanced when she was twenty-six, Madeleine's current age. The second is Judy Barton, who John spots on the street one day. Judy is a working class girl, but what makes John obsessed with her is that, despite her working class style and her brunette hair, she is the spitting image of Madeleine, into ...Written by
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was embittered at the critical and commercial failure of this movie in 1958. He blamed this on James Stewart for "looking too old" to attract audiences any more. Hitchcock never worked with Stewart, previously one of his favorite collaborators, again. See more »
A hand mysteriously rises from behind a gate over James Stewart's left shoulder (as he follows Kim Novak) and waves at the camera, about 55 seconds into the Mission Delores graveyard scene.
This may have been done purposely by Hitchcock to create more of a Madeleine Spirit. See more »
An additional ending was made during post production for some European countries due to certain laws prohibiting a film from letting a "bad guy" get away at the end of a film. In the new ending, after Scottie looks down from the bell tower (the original ending) there is a short scene of Midge in her apartment sitting next to a radio and listening to reports of the police tracking down Gavin Elster hiding out in Europe. As Midge turns off the radio, the news flash also reports that three Berkeley students got caught bringing a cow up the stairs of a campus building. Scottie enters the apartment, looks at Midge plainly, and then looks out a window. Midge makes two drinks and gives one to Scottie. The scene ends with both of them looking out the window without saying a single word to each other. This alternate ending can be found on the restoration laser disc. See more »
Symphony No. 34 in C K. 338, 2nd Movement, Andante di Molto (piu tosto allegretto)
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Played as 'cue 10B' on a record in the psychiatric ward See more »
Classic Hitchcock and Stewart
An interesting psychological piece that richly displays Hitchcock's talents. It is unfair to compare this film to the suspense thrillers of today which are subjected to more realism in sex and violence. Hitchcock had to be more subtle in 1958, where I'm sure a work like this, that seems tame by today's standards, appeared bizarre and risqué. Also the acting here seems histrionic; not that people actually spoke like that in the 50s but the audiences liked such dictionally refined dialogue back then as opposed to the lines of modern-day scripts that more accurately portray the way individuals speak.
James Stewart and Kim Novak are appealing on numerous levels, the former mainly because he doesn't wander far from the amiable joe we have come to expect (even though he does weird-out near the conclusion) and the latter because she maintains a veneer of vulnerability that we can relate to.
This is not a film I especially like (I couldn't watch it again and again) but I respect for its strong filmmaking.
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