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
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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