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Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO


MissGoddess
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Question: What do these three films have in common?

 

THE LADY VANISHES

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

SHADOW OF A DOUBT

 

(1.) All three films were directed by Hitchcock.

(2.) All three films threatened the lives of older women.

(3.) All three films had Pullman porters named George.

 

Am I warm, RaininViolets??

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Sorry no --it's so obvious I' m surprised nobody got it...

THE LADY VANISHES - MARGERET LOCKWOOD

FOREIGN CORESPONDENT - LARRAINE DAY

SHADOW OF A DOUBT - TERESA WRIGHT

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN - RUTH ROMAN

 

ARE BRUNETTES !

ALL THE REST OF HITCHCOCKS LEADING LADIES ARE ICE-COOL BLONDES...

 

.

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Hitchcock didn't want Laraine Day for the leading female role in Foreign Correspondent (1940). He wanted Joan Fontaine or Barbara Stanwyck. But Selznick refused to loan Joan Fontaine out. And Barbara Stanwyck wasn't interested. So the role finally went to Laraine Day. I thought Laraine Day did a great job doing her role.

 

Hitchcock didn't want Ruth Roman for the leading female role. He had to take her, because Hitchcock had no other actresses from Warner Bros.

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> {quote:title=TripleHHH wrote:}{quote}

> Speaking of Hitch - dvdactive and digitalbits are reporting special editions of Vertigo, Psycho and Rear Window...

> In our Upcoming Releases it was posted but the artwork is on dvdactive...

> Great news

 

I saw that---ironically, I only just ordered the Masterpiece Collection with those two dvds. I mean, if I had just waited one more week for this announcement...

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  • 1 month later...

> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=TripleHHH wrote:}{quote}

> > Speaking of Hitch - dvdactive and digitalbits are reporting special editions of Vertigo, Psycho and Rear Window...

> > In our Upcoming Releases it was posted but the artwork is on dvdactive...

> > Great news

>

> I saw that---ironically, I only just ordered the Masterpiece Collection with those two dvds. I mean, if I had just waited one more week for this announcement...

 

I don't think the newer editions coming out in the fall will be worth getting (for those of us who already have the Masterpiece Collection) unless they'd done an amazing job with a new remastered video transfer. In any event I'll just wait until the reviews are in and if there's something worthwhile in terms of picture quality I may just get the *Vertigo* SE (but probably not the other two).

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  • 7 months later...

> {quote:title=konway87 wrote:}{quote}

> SPOILERS

>

> Hi Everyone,

> Did anyone notice the some of mysterious elements in Vertigo? For Example, the history happens again and again. It moves from one illusion to another.

 

I think there are definitely motifs that come up repeatedly, and some of the key story points repeat themselves.

 

It is part of what makes the film so hypnotic, and makes it so rewarding with multiple viewings.

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SPOILERS

 

Similar themes can be found in Hitchcock's Under Capricorn. For Example, characters trying to be free from the past. What interested me with Vertigo is there are some mystery elements that we can't solve. Somehow the events happen again and again.

 

In the beginning, we see Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster) talking about San Francisco to Scottie (James Stewart). Gavin Says "San Francisco's changed. The things that spell San Francisco to me are disappearing fast." James Stewart looks at Old San Francisco Picture and says "Like all this." Elster replies " I'd like to have lived here then. The color and excitement... "the power... the freedom."

 

Pop Leibel says similar thing when he tells about Carlotta Valdes. Carlotta Valdes was found dancing and singing in a cabaret by the rich man and he took her and built for her the great house in the Western Addition. And there was a child. Pop Leibel says like this "Yes, that's it. The child. The child. I cannot tell you exactly how much time passed......or how much happiness there was......but then he threw her away. He had no other children. His wife had no children.

So, he kept the child and threw her away. You know, a man could do that in those days.

They had "the power and the freedom."

 

After the rich man got what he wanted, he threw Carlotta away, because she was no use to him. After Gavin got what he wanted, he ditched Judy. He also did same thing with Scottie.

 

In the beginning of the film, Gavin says "My wife's family is all gone; someone has to look after her interest. Her father's partner runs the company yard in the East -- Baltimore -- so I decided as long as I had to work at it, I'd come back here. I've always liked it here." So only Gavin's wife is last remaining person in the family. Gavin murdered his wife, because she was no use to him.

 

What interested me is similarities between Carlotta and Scottie. Carlotta became mad and she tried to find her baby by asking people. Madeleine's death shocked Scottie and after the recovery, he tried to find Madeleie by going to the places where she went.

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Welcome back, Konway! -- I really enjoyed reading your latest thoughts on Vertigo.

I was especially struck by this:

 

What interested me is similarities between Carlotta and Scottie. Carlotta became mad

and she tried to find her baby by asking people. Madeleine's death shocked Scottie and

after the recovery, he tried to find Madeleie by going to the places where she went.

 

That's brilliant! I never made the connection between Carlotta and Scottie. We're led to

believe it's "Madeleine" who is Carlotta and under a spell when it's really Scottie. Excellent

observation by you.

 

And this is also a terrific observation by you:

 

After the rich man got what he wanted, he threw Carlotta away, because she was no

use to him. After Gavin got what he wanted, he ditched Judy. He also did same thing

with Scottie.

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SPOILERS

 

Thanks, FrankGrimes. There were many interesting things that we don't notice. In the beginning of the film, Elster asks this "Do you believe someone out of the past "someone dead" can enter and take possession of a living being? And Scottie says "No." We also see Elster trying to convince Scottie that his wife doesn't know where she is going and she is totally different person.

 

This is what exactly happened with Scottie. After the death of Madeleine in the middle of the film, Scottie is shocked. Right after the death of Madeleine, Coroner says that "He (Scottie) did not remain at the scene of the death. He ran away. He claims he suffered a "mental blackout" and knew nothing more until he found himself back in his own apartment in San Francisco several hours later." After the recovery, we see "illusion of Madeleine" possessing Scottie. But he doesn't even know where he is. He is a very different person. He is traveling throughout San Francisco to find the "illusion of Madeleine." Only the audience knows that the location is San Francisco. He is just trying to find "illusion of Madeleine" just like Madeleine traveling to the places where Carlotta Valdes once lived. For Example, the Apartment of Valdes.

 

The history somehow happens again and again from "one illusion to another illusion." We don't know why. For Example, the policeman falls from the roof in the beginning of the film. In middle of the film, we see Madeleine falling from the tower. In the end, we see Judy falling from the tower. All of them happens again and again in Scottie's life. Now that's a real mystery.

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> {quote:title=konway87 wrote:}{quote}

> The history somehow happens again and again from "one illusion to another illusion." We don't know why. For Example, the policeman falls from the roof in the beginning of the film. In middle of the film, we see Madeleine falling from the tower. In the end, we see Judy falling from the tower. All of them happens again and again in Scottie's life. Now that's a real mystery.

 

Hi Konway. :)

 

When you refer to the falls in the movie, do you mean a mystery from Scottie's perspective, or a mystery as to why Hitch did it? I think the first one with the policeman is essential in establishing early on the reasons for Scottie's vertigo, why someone who chose a physically challenging profession would have a fear of heights. But at its core, the movie ultimately seems to be about characters who are trapped in situations that force them to confront their worst fears. And not being able to confront them, in this situation at least, can become crippling, if not outright deadly.

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I was talking about the subjects of incident happens again and again. For Example, the characters die by falling. It all happens in the life of Scottie. In Vertigo, the incidents happen again and again. Another example of the story of Carlotta Valdes happens again and again throughout the film.

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Konway---I just had to say that your observations about the repetition of "history" and incidents in the lives of the characters throughout *Vertigo* just really floored me. I really can't wait to sit and watch the movie yet AGAIN to look for these patterns. It's so incredible how rich this movie is! Thank you for unearthing these treasures, you make the film "fresh".

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SPOILERS

 

Alec Coppel's screenplay for Vertigo was very weak. It had some interesting ideas. But it wasn't developed at all. But when Samuel Taylor arrived, everything started to change. Even the location "San Francisco" became a character. His simple dialogue made the situation far more convincing. His creation of Midge changed the story in many ways.

 

James Bridie was another writing who was very good in handling obsession. Under Capricorn has lot in common with Vertigo. History happening again and again. A Man's struggle to overcome his own darkness is common in both films.

 

It should be noted that both Under Capricorn and Vertigo has a lot to do with the use of names. In Vertigo, John Ferguson is also called "Scottie." In Under Capricorn, Lady Henrietta is also called "Hattie." We see the recreation of a character in the past in both films. We see illusion of the past on the present in both films. For Example, Scottie and his "walking stick" in the beginning. He had to use walking stick due to his fear of heights. In Under Capricorn, the past is revealed through the way Lady Henrietta dresses.

 

The Paradine Case foreshadows Vertigo to a certain level, because James Bridie worked in The Paradine Case too. In The Paradine Case, we see a sadistic judge played by Charles Laughton. In Vertigo, we see a sadistic coroner played by Henry Jones.

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Fankly, I see little or no validity in the examples you cite. All movies must rely on Heraclitus's dictum that character is fate, meaning that characters' actions determine not just their fates, but the very nature of the people they're supposed to be within the confines and context of the story.

 

As to charaters' names, the similairty between those in one Hitchcock film to another is irrelevant. Charles Dickens may have used the names of the creations who peopled his novels to make a point as to the characters' natures, but few had, or have, his skill for that. By the 1950s any attempt to give a character some name "relevant" to his or her nature came across as too precious by a factor of ten.

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SPOILERS

 

Hitchcock himself liked putting small details. He said that in many interviews. Check Truffaut/Hitchcock Interview Book especially "I Confess" section. Hitchcock himself put symbolisms and ideas for many purposes. They are there for a reason. For Examples, Edgar Allan Poe references in Marnie or Vampire references in Shadow of A Doubt.

 

In Truffaut/Hitchcock Interview, it is clearly explained that there is a huge connection between characters like Judge Horfield in The Paradine Case, Briane Aherne's character Willy Robertson (I Confess), and defense attorney in Murder (1930). Check "I Confess" Section of Truffaut/Hitchcock Interview Book.

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