Alfred Hitchcock - Vertigo Movie Review

Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・APA

The theme of love has been the dominant theme in the movie, Vertigo of Hitchcock. Often, movies based on emotional attachments have happy endings, however this one has proven to be exceptional. In Vertigo, love is not as beautiful as most would have predicted since the end is quite heartbreaking. The emotional attachments in it are based totally on delusion, deception, and obsession which make the love story a sick game that is quite unpleasant. Just as the title suggests; a feeling of imbalance that individuals feel when they look down from high-quality heights, Vertigo compares the idea of a person falling in love to that of one descending from a great height and not in an impressive way.

The Tools of Medium

The film uses several instruments of medium to explore the themes in it. Also, the tools of medium utilized in the movie create an ambient cinematic encounter of the chronological order of the scenes and the focus on what each character believes on every scene they play. The scene that Madeleine casts in the forest with Scottie is of strategic importance in understanding her part in the movie. The forest in the film and the role she is supposedly intended to play are symbolical and metaphorical at the same time. In the woods, it is normal that there are different trees but then most of them if not all have the green pigmentation. They foreshadow Judy impersonating Madeleine later on in the play after her death.

In the forest, Scottie mentions something about the tallest tree being always green and full of life all the time. She suddenly develops an attitude towards the trees owing to the comment that Scottie made about them. The green vegetation that Scottie mentions in the scene is symbolic in that they acknowledge the continuation of Madeleine's life even when she is dead through another character. The evergreen part is also an indication that Madeleine's impersonator would resemble her in outward appearance just as the green plants mirror each other from afar. The knowledge of her death justifies the hatred she has towards the plants. However, the death of the plants is beneficial since they help by decomposing and forming manure for other plants, but her death would not bring any good to the people around her. Hitchcock uses the green as a representation of Madeleine's life. 

The movie has a lot of dolly zoom and wide shots on the rooftop in the scene where Scottie was on the ledge which vividly paints the image of a scared detective and the depth of the height. Also, there is picturesque that divides the shot involving Scottie with Gavin standing behind him into three dimensions. In this part, the director utilized the short focal length of the shot by using a lens with a wide angle. In the visit that Madeleine and Scottie made to the Spanish mission, there is a green color which is used to make an appearance of the grass in the lawn in the front. The green color in this scene is a reminder of the conversation the two had in the forest and the view Madeleine gave regarding the green color. All meant to shed light on the way love alters the behavior and personalities of individuals.

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Delusion of Romance

Scottie is portrayed to have a penchant for love which is a mere illusion that is proven by his tragic flaw and acrophobia. He comforts himself in a romantic gratification with a woman who does not exist in his contemporary world because she is dead which makes him looks like a fool. Midge attempts to woo Scottie, but her efforts bear no fruit which is an easy way for Hitchcock to draw a portrait of her through the scenes as being a character who is of tremendous sympathy. While Scottie takes the swim for romantic delusion and an imaginary love, Midge proves to be an antithesis to romantic illusion and a typical 1950's woman since she commits herself to making Scottie happy and comfortable. In so doing, Hitchcock puts Midge in the limelight of being a person trying to live in a real world, unlike Scottie who lets the emotional winds take control of him and his emotional connections. Midge offers to give Scottie a love that is mature, but he rejects it boldly for the dreamlike love that is illusive and bestowed in his close friend Madeleine. It is his decision to reject Midge that makes the film have an ending that is tragic.

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Deep Obsession

Alfred Hitchcock envisions Scottie in Vertigo, as a man obsessed with his love for a woman. However, there are two sides of the latter that he does not know; the girl he loves is a ghost, and the other is that his obsession is controlling him. His necrophilia serves as the motivation to reconstruct his feelings through Judy Burton instead of Madeleine. The impersonation that Judy portrays in the movie of Madeleine is as a result of the plot of men who have plans for her. While Scottie does the reconstruction owing to his necrophilic love for a woman who does not exist, Gavin Elster uses Judy to find a way to murder his wife.

The most hilarious and ironical part of the movie is that Scottie is a detective and he does not know that the woman he loves is an impersonator. The story revolves around a Hollywood staple that has been known for so long in which a boy in love with a girl gets her, but they get lost to each other, and they find each other later. The story eventually ends in a disconsolate manner. The outlook that the movie director gives to Judy is that of a shadow fantasy woman. She is willing to take up someone else's lifestyle and appearance just to be with Scottie. Also, the movie portrays her as being an ordinary woman with emotions since she chose to let go of her personality for the sake of love. This is typical of women in the 1950s who love as they are always willing to do anything in their power to be with the man they love.

However, the worst part of it all is that she plans to live the kind of life she cannot manage as living in people's shadow's sometimes becomes tiresome and monotonous, so one feels like stepping out and living the life they once knew. The part of the script that Judy plays proves that most of the time we love people thinking that we have known them long enough to trust them only to end up realizing that we never really knew the personality behind the masks they were wearing. Also, it makes it sound as though real love is mere fantasy and since we love people who cannot love us back and that only hurts in the end as we often expect the people we have a feeling for to find it in their hearts to love back.

Madeleine is a visible representation of male fantasy in the movie because the men close to her feel as though they cannot live without her. Madeleine’s husband is afraid of losing her to death, and the ghosts that make her have suicidal thoughts, and that’s the reason he sought detective Scottie’s assistance. Scottie develops a profound love for Madeleine in the process and starts safeguarding Madeleine for his personal interests. This is an indication of the intense obsession that Scottie had for Madeleine. He is willing to be in her life despite the risk he may lose her since she is always busy trying to take her life.

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In the case of Midge, the obsession is much worse. She is deeply in love with John Scottie despite the fact that he is in love with someone else and may not be in the position to reciprocate her feelings. She tries to support him in all ways possible in the hope that he will finally notice her and forget about Madeleine which never happens. It is hilarious that he turns down Midge's love for a person who does not exist in the real world but just a mere impostor. Conclusively, the movie proves that some of the love stories have subdued endings. Love makes people live in worlds of fantasy which they would have otherwise not been living if it did not exist. Hitchcock averts the cinematic notion that all movies containing romance have fascinating ends.

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