Casabloga: Vertigo

Right…. First off I must say I have a three-way bias here.

1) Alfred Hitchcock directed it.

2) Jimmy Stewart is more or less my favourite actor.

3) I’ve always been obsessed with San Francisco.

I already decided I was only going to do three Hitchcock films on this series. They were planned before I wrote the Rear Window review. I’m just spacing them out. Pretty sure everyone can guess what the third one will be. Here’s a hint; it’s Psycho. Ok, I suck at hints.

Just a little peek at what's to come.

Just a little peek at what’s to come.

Vertigo is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films. That’s not just me saying that because I love it. It’s been voted as the greatest movie ever made, beating out longtime greatest movie, Citizen Kane (which I saw recently and…frankly will never make it here on Casabloga). The film is about John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart), a retired detective. At the opening of the film, we discover Scottie finding out he has a fear of heights, a revelation that could have come at a better time, as he was hanging from the top of a tall building, and a colleague falls to his death trying to help him.

Scottie gets a call from an old college friend, Gavin (Tom Helmore) who wants to hire him out of retirement to follow his wife, Madeline (Kim Novak). He believes she’s being possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie finds this to be crazy talk, but his friend insists that he do it, so he eventually accepts. The very first day, he follows her all over San Francisco, following a little too closely.

Hitchcock famously hated filming on location. All his movies were shot in-studio, where he could control every tiny detail. But the city of San Francisco is so amazing that the picky director chose to film on-location for this film. In the scenes where Scottie follows Madeline through the streets of 1950s San Francisco adds massive amounts of historical significance to the film. This was before the city had skyscrapers.

There was a time when this building didn't exist! Shocking, but the truth!

There was a time when this building didn’t exist! Shocking, but the truth!

I took that picture above in 2011 when I visited the city. I really wanted to see the spot where Kim Novak jumped into the Bay, but a security person at Fort Point told me that after 9/11 they closed off that part of the Fort.

Vertigo Kim Novak

I didn't take this. Surprisingly, I didn't think to take a picture of it while I was there.

I didn’t take this. Surprisingly, I didn’t think to take a picture of it while I was there.

I love this!

I love this!

The three acts of this film are each completely different from each other. In the first act, it plays like a regular detective story. Follow her, find out what’s up. The second act is a love story. The third act is a dive into madness. that has a very unexpected conclusion. Usually when a movie changes so much like that so quickly, it’s confusing and terrible. But Alfred Hitchcock had a way to never lose you. He keeps your attention even when the characters are just driving around to the music of Bernard Herrmann.

Next time I go to San Francisco, I fully intend to take the Vertigo Tour.

Advertisements

About Trevor Boot

I’ve been officially writing since 2004, when I was 15, but I started writing for fun now and then in 2001, when I was 12. I mostly wrote short stories and poems, but then in 2008, I wrote my first novel, titled Xangsburgh. Before this, my writing never really had any direction. I would just write independent stories that had no connection with each other, so I always had to start over from scratch. With Xangsburgh, I had a fictional city I could base all my stories in, with the stories building on each other. For me, that made writing easier, because now I don’t have to start from scratch every time. I could use Sheriff Brock without having to introduce him every time. In 2011, I realized I really enjoyed taking pictures. Several of my friends would comment that my pictures were near-professional quality. So on top of my writing, I’m also an amateur photographer. In 2014, I published Xangsburgh, as well as a photo book with some of my favourite photos I have taken, and a book of poems I’ve written between 2001 and 2013.
This entry was posted in Casabloga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s