Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere. – Madeleine in ‘Vertigo’

The highest compliment a person has ever paid me was this ‘if I meet another woman in my life, I would dress her up just like Scottie tries to dress Judy to resemble Madeleine’.And if you watch Vertigo , you would know why.

One cannot forget the theme music of Vertigo; it is at once compelling as well as mysterious that you associate it with the haunting tale of Scottie and Madeleine.
Scottie (Jimmy Stewart), a retired police officer who suffers from vertigo is employed by a man to follow his wife, Madeleine’s ((Kim Novak) movements.
Little does Scottie realize the trap he is getting into.

I used to think ‘Rope’ is my most favorite Hitchcock movie, but then I was mistaken. Vertigo has totally knocked it off to the second place. While Rope is all about good dialogue, Vertigo takes the cake for cinematography and the misty way it has been shot. It has dream-like elements especially in scenes where Madeleine (Kim Novak) seems possessed by a woman long dead.
The scene in the redwood forest where you find her in a state of trance actually makes you jump for minute. The dreamy eyes of Madeleine would make any man go crazy and so it is no surprise that Scottie falls for her.

You are now at the edge of the seat to see where this leads to until you are led three fourths of the movie and you find Madeleine killing herself by jumping off from the tower of a convent, which she always used to dream about.
Scottie is heartbroken and is hospitalized for a while, he comes out of the hospital unable to forget Madeleine, until one day he bumps into Judy, a look-alike of Madeleine. It is at this point you realize what an obsessive and controlling man Scottie has turned into.
He tries to make Judy dress like Madeleine, he even tries to make her color her hair and knot it the same way that Madeleine used to.
But the truth of the matter is much darker than you would guess!

The cinematography along with the music almost makes you feel you are watching an illusion especially those moments where Madeleine remains so lost and you are lost looking at this mysterious woman who seems so vulnerable at the same time holds dark secrets.

Like I said, I am a huge Hitchcock fan and I do have many favorites including ‘The Birds’, ‘Rebecca’ , ‘Shadow of a doubt’ and ‘Rope’ , but yes I think ‘Vertigo’ now rates as my favorite Hitchcock movie.
Do watch it if you would love a thriller on a cold October afternoon.

1 comment:

Arvind Swarup Pathiki said...

you are on a roll!

Vertigo was a movie i watched twice and its greatness missed me both the times. I later realised that it is one of those special movies that has more to do with the layers it presents and the horrific atmosphere than the story or anything.

Isn't Jimmy Stewart's Scottie a grand departure from his other endearing everyman roles in other films?

very nice review. enjoyed reading it.

PS: i hope you ran farthest from the person who wanted to model himself after the Jimmy Stewart's obsessive Scottie. Smiles. ;)