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Vertigo (1958) Poster

(1958)

Trivia

Jump to: Director Cameo (2)  | Director Trademark (2)  | Spoilers (13)
The opening title sequence designed by Saul Bass makes this the first movie to use computer graphics.
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Uncredited second unit cameraman Irmin Roberts invented the famous "zoom out and track in" shot (now sometimes called "contra-zoom" or "trombone shot") to convey the sense of vertigo to the audience. The view down the mission stairwell cost $19,000 for just a couple of seconds of screentime.
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The zoom out/track in shots were done with miniatures laid on their sides, since it was impossible to do them vertically.
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The Empire Hotel where James Stewart eventually finds Kim Novak is (as of 2009) the Hotel Vertigo (formerly the York) located at 940 Sutter Street in the heart of San Francisco. Novak's character lived in Room 501, which still retains many of its aspects captured in this movie.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock reportedly spent a week filming a brief scene where Madeleine stares at a portrait in the Palace of the Legion of Honor just to get the lighting right.
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This movie was unavailable for three decades because its rights (together with four other movies of the same period) were bought back by Sir Alfred Hitchcock and left as part of his legacy to his daughter Patricia Hitchcock. They've been long-known as the "Five Lost Hitchcocks" among movie buffs and were re-released in theaters around 1984 after an approximately thirty-year absence. The others are The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Rear Window (1954), Rope (1948), and The Trouble with Harry (1955).
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock had originally wanted to use his now-famous 'Vertigo zoom' as far back as Rebecca (1940), but due to lack of technology at that time, he couldn't do it. The technique was inspired by a time when Hitchcock had fainted during a party.
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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.
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The lighting changes when important events occur. For instance: When Scottie first sees Madeleine in Ernie's restaurant, the light around her becomes unnaturally bright for a moment. While Scottie is listening to the story of Madeleine's ancestor in the book shop, it gets very dark; once he exits the store, it brightens again. When Scottie first sees Judy made up completely as Madeleine, she is lit by a blurred, ghostly green light (the reflected light from the neon sign outside the window).
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When Kim Novak questioned Sir Alfred Hitchcock about her motivation in a particular scene, Hitchcock is said to have answered, "Let's not probe too deeply into these matters, Kim. It's only a movie."
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There is a twenty-five year age difference between James Stewart and Kim Novak, who were forty-nine and twenty-four, respectively when the movie was shot in 1957.
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In a later interview, Sir Alfred Hitchcock said he believed Kim Novak was miscast and the wrong actress for the part.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock described this movie to François Truffaut thus: "To put it plainly, the man wants to go to bed with a woman who is dead."
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Midge's remark about the "cantilevered" brassiere designed by an aircraft engineer is a reference to the story that Howard Hughes had an engineer invent a new type of underwired bra for Jane Russell.
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When this movie opened at San Francisco's legendary Castro Theater during its restored re-release in October of 1997 (only a few months after the death of James Stewart), it did more business there than any other theater in the U.S. that weekend.
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Kim Novak does not speak until more than one-third into the movie.
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Costume designer Edith Head and director Sir Alfred Hitchcock worked together to give Madeleine's clothing an eerie appearance. Her trademark gray suit was chosen for its color because they thought it seemed odd for a blonde woman to be wearing all gray. Also, they added the black scarf to her white coat because of the odd contrast. But when Kim Novak reported for filming, according to Hitchcock, she had "all sorts of preconceived notions" about her character, including what she would and would not wear. Before shooting began, she told the director she did not like the grey suit and black shoes she was slated to wear, thinking them too heavy and stiff for her character. Novak later recalled, "I didn't think it would matter to him what kind of shoes I wore. I had never had a director who was particular about the costumes, the way they were designed, the specific colors. The two things he wanted the most were those shoes and that gray suit." Hitchcock explained to Novak that the visual aspect of the film was even more important to him than the story, and insisted on her wearing the suit and the shoes that he had been planning for several months. Novak learned to make it work for her, as she saw it a symbol of her character.
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San Juan Bautista, the Spanish mission which is featured in key scenes doesn't actually have a bell tower; it was added with trick photography. The mission originally had a steeple, but it was demolished following a fire.
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This movie is often credited or blamed for creating or popularizing the misconception that vertigo means a fear of heights. For the record, the proper name for that condition is "Acrophobia", whereas vertigo is "a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height" (Oxford Dictionary).
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The tree ring that Scottie and Madeleine visit was destroyed in the 2020 CZU Lightning Fire Complex that swept through Big Basin, which stood in for Muir Woods.
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When Scottie is tailing Madeleine driving around the city, the driving route is geographically correct. This is unlike many movies where routes driven are not accurate and may jump from one part of a city to another, like Bullitt (1968). So, it is possible to drive the exact route that is shown in the movie.
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The flower shop, Podesta Baldocchi, opened in San Francisco in 1871.
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Bernard Herrmann's score is largely inspired by Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" which, like this movie, is also about doomed love.
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After additional location shoots at the Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the Spanish mission San Juan Bautista, the cast and crew settled in at Paramount Pictures Studio sound stages for two months of filming. In the studio, Sir Alfred Hitchcock was in his element and could exert absolute control, though he had his share of creative challenges. One very striking sequence is the kissing scene that occurs when Scottie has finally made-over Judy as Madeleine. As the couple kiss, the background slowly swirls, and the viewer loses equilibrium as Judy's apartment become the livery stables of San Juan Bautista, the setting of an earlier emotional scene between Scottie and Madeleine. The shot was achieved with rear projection of the background plates. The camera tracking slowly back, then forward, and with James Stewart and Kim Novak revolving on a circular platform. A key visual here that often is missed is that, as the camera circles, the scene switches to the stable at the Mission (where they first fell in love), then back to the hotel room. These simultaneous movements were difficult to coordinate, and to pull off without Stewart and Novak getting dizzy. In one take, Stewart fell and was slightly injured. Also, the green lighting in the hotel room earlier, before Judy emerges from the bathroom, is an indicator of Scottie's obsession and, when she emerges, she appears enveloped in it, like a ghost, drifting toward him. The ghost of his dream has returned. Principal photography was completed three days after this shot, just before Christmas 1957.
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Scottie's apartment actually exists, and it boasts the improbably stunning view of Coit Tower through its living room window, which looms over Scottie and Madeleine in the apartment scenes. True aficionados can find it (near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco) by positioning themselves in the same relation to the tower that is seen through the window.
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Kim Novak already had a reputation for being difficult, so perhaps it was not a surprise when she refused to show up for work one day. She was striking for more money from her home studio Columbia Pictures, who was paying her $1,250 a week, even though they were receiving $250,000 for her loan-out for this and one more movie. The ploy worked, and Novak got a raise.
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Poorly received by U.S. critics upon its release, this movie is now hailed as Sir Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece.
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When Sir Alfred Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, saw this movie, she said that she liked it, except for one shot where Kim Novak walks towards the San Francisco Bay, which she felt made Novak look too large on the screen. For years afterward, when discussing this movie, Hitchcock would insist that Alma hated it.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted Vera Miles to play Judy, but she became pregnant and, therefore, was unavailable.
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The original source material for this movie was the French novel "D'entre Les Morts", and the action was set in Paris. Sir Alfred Hitchcock changed the setting to San Francisco, a city well known for its unique topography and hilly landscape, in order to add further torment to Scottie's life and emphasize the debilitating nature of his vertigo and acrophobia.
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The screenplay is credited to Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor, but Coppel didn't write a word of the final draft. He is credited for contractual reasons only. Taylor read neither Coppel's script nor the original novel. He worked solely from Sir Alfred Hitchcock's outline of the story.
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The movie's poster was selected as #3 of "The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever" by Premiere.
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The word "vertigo" is only spoken once in the movie, towards the beginning by Scottie to Midge.
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While Madeleine recovers in Scottie's apartment from her fall into the bay, he waits on his sofa. Seen on his coffee table is a copy of the 1950s pulp men's periodical "Swank", which consisted of a mix of cheesecake pictures and action/adventure stories by contemporary writers.
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In 2012, this movie replaced Citizen Kane (1941) in the Sight & Sound critics' poll for the greatest movie of all time.
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Ransohoff's of San Francisco was a famous and trendy high-end boutique. It closed in 1976.
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A theme song titled "Vertigo" by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans was recorded by Billy Eckstine; it was reportedly used for promotional purposes but was not included in the final cut. Word has it that Sir Alfred Hitchcock didn't feel it was appropriate.
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John Ferren, the artist for the "Nightmare Sequence" design, also painted the pivotal "Portrait of Carlotta" that transfixes the main characters of this movie. Production designer Henry Bumstead did the joke one of Carlotta with Midge's head. Ferren also did a portrait of Vera Miles when she was to play the role of Madeline.
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Both the interiors and exteriors of "Ernie's" restaurant were filmed on sets, although the restaurant was a San Francisco landmark which closed its doors in 1999.
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On-location filming lasted sixteen days.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted to cast Lana Turner in the lead role, but she "wanted too much loot" and was dropped from consideration.
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Scottie's house is located at the corner of Lombard and Jones streets. The exterior remained unchanged until about 2013, when the owners did an extensive remodel. They wanted to add a front wall to screen out the noise from the schoolyard across the street.
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Scottie and Midge supposedly went to college together, but in real life, James Stewart was fourteen years older than Barbara Bel Geddes.
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Even though another trivia reference says second unit cameraman Irmin Roberts invented the "contra-zoom", the effect is oddly similar and nearly identical to a zoom and vertigo shot seen in Hobson's Choice (1954), where a drunk Henry Hobson is seen falling down a shaft into the basement of Freddy Beenstock's shop. This movie was released four years later, and other special effects elements in the movie oddly mirror what was seen in "Hobson".
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Saul Bass designed the titles and poster for this movie and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) in 1958 and 1959. The image of the body is very similar in both.
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John Ferguson's apartment is located at the corner of Jones and Lombard, just one block east of the famed steep switchback block of Lombard Street.
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Many critics attributed this movie's failure to James Stewart, who was considered miscast as the romantic lead, partly due to his age.
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James Stewart drives a 1956 DeSoto Fireflite.
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The McKittrick hotel exterior shots were filmed at the abandoned Portman Mansion at 1007 Gough Street in San Francisco. It was demolished in 1959.
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The famous gray suit worn by Kim Novak is now owned by film expert and Alfred Hitchcock biographer Frederick Cinao and actress Simone Peterson, professionally known as Arlène Fontaine.
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In 1989, this movie was added to the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress.
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The original novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac is entitled "D'entre les Morts" (From Among The Dead). It is a play on Luke's Gospel Chapter 24 verse 5, spoken by the Man, or Gardener, after the Resurrection: "Who comes to seek the living amongst the dead?" This is said to, amongst others, Mary Magdalene whose name is nowadays used as Madeleine, the name of the protagonist in the novel and movie.
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Kim Novak hated wearing the important gray suit because it felt confining. However, she learned to make it work for her, as she saw it a symbol of Madeleine's character.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock had originally opted for another location for the famous staircase sequence, but associate producer Herbert Coleman's daughter (Judy Lanini) suggested the Mission at San Juan Bautista (The location that was eventually used.) as a more suitable location for filming.
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Though It is commonly reported that Vera Miles's pregnancy was the sole reason for her being replaced by Kim Novak, the author Dan Auiler claimed that both Sir Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart had expressed concern over Miles's ability to play the role as early as November 1956 and had already been seriously considered Novak as a possible replacement by the time Miles announced her pregnancy.
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Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008.
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Scottie's car is a light gray 1956 Desoto Firedome Sportsman Hardtop Coupe. This added to the following of Madeleine's gray suit. To add further to the dizzying effects of following, Scottie passes an identical gray DeSoto on his right while following Madeleine. Madeleine's car is a green 1957 Jaguar Mk. VIII. Midge's is a gray 1956 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Coupe.
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The post-production period in early 1958 was consumed with retakes, editing, and the creation of special effects shots involving models and matte paintings, particularly of the all-important bell tower.
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Gavin Elster tells Scotty that Madeleine enters a trance while viewing the columns known as the Portals of the Past. These were once the portico of a mansion in the Nob Hill neighborhood, and were left standing after the rest of the building was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. The owners donated the portico to Golden Gate Park, and it is now a National Monument commemorating San Francisco's resilience and optimism after the 1906 disaster.
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The name "Madeleine" refers, of course, to Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Migdala. "Migdal "is Hebrew for "tower". "Madeleine" is the only name of the four main characters from the original French novel that was retained in this movie. "Judy" was "Renée" in the book. So it is fascinating that Sir Alfred Hitchcock did not keep the name. After all, Renée = re-née = reborn.
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Kim Novak was borrowed from Columbia Pictures for the production in exchange for both a payment of $250,000 by Paramount Pictures to Columbia Pictures and the agreement that James Stewart would co-star with her in Bell Book and Candle (1958).
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The building exterior used for Madeleine's apartment building is located at 999 California Street, The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, across the street from the Fairmont Hotel. This is also the location of The Top of The Mark, a location mentioned when Scottie is discussing his acrophobia with Midge early in the film.
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Scottie's lonely walk at dawn, after rejecting Midge's portrait of herself, was shot in San Franciscos Union Square, the same park where Mitch first sees Melanie going to the pet shop in "The Birds".
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In the scene where James Stewart's "Scottie" first sees Kim Novak's "Madeleine" in Ernie's restaurant, a blonde lady dressed in the exact same gray outfit with which "Scottie" transforms Novak's "Judy" later in the film, passes right between them, as sort of a clever subliminal message used by Hitchcock.
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Kim Novak said in a January 2020 CBS interview that she adored Alfred Hitchcock, even though he publicly referred to her as a weak actress and a cow.
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As with most Alfred Hitchcock movies, the filming went relatively smoothly. Hitchcock avoided surprises, preferring to have every detail planned out in advance. Extensive storyboarding of most sequences assured that his trusted production staff would know what was expected of them.
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Average Shot Length = 6.7 seconds
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Scottie wears suits of four separate colors in this movie: blue, blue-gray, gray, and brown. This is a collection that would be considered typical for a professional bachelor of the era.
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Kim Novak did not have to screentest for this movie.
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In Vertigo, when Scottie declares his love, the music references a song from Tristan und Isolde, an opera composed by Richard Wagner. Also, the doctor diagnoses Scottie with "acute melancholia." The 2011 film Melancholia features excerpts from Tristan und Isolde.
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The similarity of the plot theme of this movie and Beyond Oblivion (1956), shot in Buenos Aires, had all Argentine movie buffs obsessing for decades. Finally, the question was explained. The link between the movies is the novella "Bruges-la-Morte" (1893) of the Belgian writer Georges Rodenbach. Hugo del Carril adapted it directly; Sir Alfred Hitchcock indirectly, through a French novel titled "D'Entre Les Morts" (1954) that its authors Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac hatched a childish police plot about the double tragedy of Rodenbach.
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Voted #2 in Total Film's 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time list (November 2005).
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Madeleine (Kim Novak) lives at 1000 Mason Street, North Beach, San Francisco, California. Scottie (James Stewart) follows her from this location in the beginning of the movie. This is the same building used in The Woman in Red (1984), as Charlotte's (Kelly LeBrock) apartment building, where Teddy (Gene Wilder) gets caught outside the window at the very end.
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In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #9 Greatest American Movie of All Time. In AFI's 1998 listing, Vertigo (1958) had been placed at #61.
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Bernard Herrmann wasn't able to conduct his score for this movie. Muir Mathieson conducted Herrmann's score for this movie. Because of this, the music score in this movie lacks Herrmann's "personal sound", which he applied in every score he conducted.
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Joseph Cotten, Lee J. Cobb, and Everett Sloane were also under consideration for the role of Gavin Elster.
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When Judy first meets Scottie, she is showing him her driver's license from Salina, Kansas. Kim Novak starred in Picnic (1955), which was filmed in Salina.
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It is well known that Hitchcock loathed filming outdoors and would often spend exorbitant amounts of money on studio sets to mimic exteriors (e.g. a whole courtyard of apartments in "Rear Window"). He had an exact replica of the entrance to Ernie's restaurant recreated on a soundstage. The expensive and highly detailed set was used in two quick shots, for a total of 15 seconds on screen.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock hired Maxwell Anderson to write the first draft of the screenplay titled "Darkling I Listen" but it was rejected by Hitchcock.
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The brand of shoe that Scottie forces Judy to buy in Ransohoff's is Delman.
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Midge's reference to the cantilevered brassiere is, no doubt, a reference to Howard Hughes. Another interesting tie-in is that Barbara Bel Geddes' father was the industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes. There is also a reference to this in the movie The Aviator (2004).
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The characters played by Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes never meet.
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The rock band Faith No More used this movie as the basis for their music video of "Last Cup of Sorrow".
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Was voted the 19th Greatest Film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of the Top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies at #18.
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This film is in the Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films on Letterboxd.
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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When re-released to theaters in 1984, it was rated PG. But on home video releases, after the end credits, it says rated PG-13 by the MPAA, despite having the PG rating at the back of the DVD and VHS.
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In 2002, named by "Positif" (France) as one of the fifty best movies of the last fifty years (critics' choice: #2, readers' choice: #4)
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In her hotel room, Judy shows Scottie a photograph of her father. He is standing in front of a store, holding an upright pitchfork in his hand. The image recalls the famous painting "American Gothic". On the window behind him, one can see that this was his hardware store. However, the image is cropped such that the actual words one sees are "Barton's War."
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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According to his essayist film Sans Soleil (1983), it was Chris Marker's favorite movie.
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In the opening sequence, the police officer fires his weapon twice at the fleeing suspect. By modern standards this would seem highly illegal, using deadly force when not in imminent danger. However, up until 1985, the law was quite liberal on this practice in cases of a felon trying to escape.
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Background plates and second unit work were done in San Francisco during production delays.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2002 list of the Top 100 America's Greatest Love Story Movies.
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Although James Stewart had officially retired from public life by 1994, he helped to assist and consult James C. Katz and Robert A. Harris on their 70mm Vertigo restoration project for its release in 1996 and early 1997.
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The 19th century gothic exterior of the McKittrick Hotel, especially its lobby, and second floor, are strikingly similar to the Bates home in "Psycho".
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In the dress-fitting scene at Ransohoff's, Judy reacts violently to the suit that Scotty finally approves of. This reaction was quite natural for Kim because during pre-production she had argued with Hitchcock about her personal distaste for gray clothing.
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In the men's club scene, when Scotty gives Elster his first report on Madeline, Elster takes off his eyeglasses and closes them with a snap. In the 50s and 60s there was an optional snap-lock hinge that came with certain frames.
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For the viewer of this film "focuses on the implications of the active/looking, passive/looked-at split in terms of sexual difference and the power of the male symbolic encapsulated in the hero .. [so that] erotic involvement with the [the cinema audience 'spectator's own] look boomerangs: the spectator's fascination is revealed as illicit voyeurism as the narrative content enacts the processes and pleasures that he [the spectator] himself is exercising and enjoying. .. hence the spectator [viewing the film] lulled into a false sense of security by the apparent legality of his surrogate (James Stewart ), sees through his look and finds himself [the film viewer] exposed as complicit, caught in the moral ambiguity of looking." Laura Mulvey: 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' in 'Screen'; 1975.
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Visa d'exploitation en France #21096
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Director Cameo 

Alfred Hitchcock: At around 11 mins, wearing a gray suit walking past Gavin Elster's shipyard, carrying a case for a very high quality costume mask for the Doctor of the Plague.
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Alfred Hitchcock: The scene outside Elster's shipyard, where cameo appearance is made, was actually the Paramount Pictures prop department gates.
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Director Trademark 

Alfred Hitchcock: [hair] Carlotta and Madeline have spiral hairstyles, and Judy's hair color is significant.
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Alfred Hitchcock: [bathroom] Madeline emerges from the bathroom, ready for lovemaking.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Kim Novak told interviewers that she did not wear a bra when appearing as "Judy." (Actresses performing bra-less was an unusual occurrence in films made under the 1934-1968 Motion Picture Production Code.) Novak claimed it was this element of the Judy costuming that helped her feel more comfortable as Judy than as Madeleine, a character whose costumes were more severe and stiff.
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The only one of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's movies in which the killer is not punished. An ending in which Scottie and Midge hear news over the radio of Gavin Elster being sought by the police was filmed at the demands of the American Production Code Administration, but ended up not being used.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock had contemplated editing Judy's flashback sequence, which reveals that she and Madeline are one and the same. Hitchcock was worried that audiences would lose interest in the movie if audiences knew this twist early. Two screenings for critics were subsequently held in New York City: one with the flashback and the other without it. With the flashback, critics called it Hitchcock's best movie. Without it, critics called it one of Hitchcock's worst movies. With that in mind, the flashback was retained in the final movie.
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Audrey Hepburn expressed an interest in playing the dual roles of Judy and Madeleine.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock switched Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's story from Paris to San Francisco and changed their ending in which the enraged hero strangles the mystery woman upon discovering her trickery.
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It was rumored, and even written in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's script notes, that Kim Novak dubbed the last line of the movie, which was delivered by the nun. However, she denied this in an interview.
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Numerous uses of repetition and reflection throughout, including: The mirror on the way out of Ernie's restaurant; Scotty sees Madeleine reflected in it right after he has seen her for the first time. The numerous reflections and repetitions of Madeleine throughout, including at least two women whom Scotty mistakes for her. The metaphorical or dream mirrors that Madeleine describes as lining the corridor of her life. Midge paints herself into the portrait of Madeleine's ancestor, and, in one shot, sits next to the self-portrait, as if doubled. After showing Scottie the portrait, Midge sees herself reflected in the glass of the window. Judy as Madeleine's reflection. Madeleine as repetition or reflection of her ancestor. Scottie repeating his former life. Judy falling from the tower to her death the same way Madeleine did. There is a motif of spirals in this movie, as literal shapes in the opening credits, and as the more abstract shape of the movie's plot, as well as the shape of the pivotal tower staircase.
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The words "power" and "freedom" are repeated three times in the movie. 1. At the beginning, Madeleine's husband longs for the old San Francisco, because there was more power and freedom. 2. At the Argosy bookstore, Pop Leibel explains that in Carlotta's time, a man could just throw a woman away because he had more power and freedom. 3. During the climax of the movie, John suggests that after the murder was completed, Gavin left Judy because he had more power and freedom.
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Originally, in the book on which this movie was based (D'entre Les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac), it is revealed that Judy and Madeleine are the same person. Sir Alfred Hitchcock decided to change this, and reveal it just after the introduction of the character of Judy in order to create a sense of suspense in this movie, rather than a surprise at the end.
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This film contains many "echoes" of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's later movie, Psycho (1960): prolonged sequences of sedately driving a car through the countryside; a receptionist gestures at some keys on a key rack, which indicates the empty rooms; the leading lady writes a note, only to rip the paper to pieces; a special sequence designed by Saul Bass features a huge close-up of a woman's eye, then zooms out again; the leading lady is killed about halfway through the movie; a detective and his female associate visit a local retail store to make inquiries; watched from above, the detective climbs a carpeted staircase up to a landing, to seek a lady who isn't there; a dead woman is dramatically revealed; and a doctor gives his expert opinion on the psychosis which ails the leading man.
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This is Kim Novak's last appearance in a Hitchcock film, following his unspoken rule of never reusing the actor of a leading character who dies, in a later film. Apparently as he believed that if the same actor showed up again, it would lessen the impact of their earlier death scene. Janet Leigh's sole appearance in a Hitchcock film, "Psycho", also follows the rule. By contrast, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, and Tippi Hedren each made multiple Hitchcock films, but none of their characters died or were murdered.
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Marilyn Monroe campaigned heavily to be cast, but was rejected by Sir Alfred Hitchcock because he feared her immense fame would overshadow everything else. As a person who enjoyed strict control over his projects he passed on her, even though he had been on her approved list of directors to work with. A few years before she had starred in Niagara (1953), a film that was directed in such a Hitchcockian style by Henry Hathaway, that years later some mistakenly assumed it was. The similarities in structure and layout is quite interesting, and one wonders if Hitchcock was indeed a little influenced by it when making "Vertigo". That the character is named Madeline and commits suicide is also quite fascinating when one considers Monroe's own fate. That the two of filmdoms most legendary figures were never collaborate together will always be on of the great "what ifs" of cinema.
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Shortly after Ferguson meets Judy Barton, he invites her to dinner at Ernie's. The two can be seen side-by-side in the mirror at the restaurant. This hints that like his evil 'double', Gavin Elster, he is about to remake her into Madeleine, and that she will suffer the same fate as the real one.
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