Vertigo' is psychological thriller movie starring James Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes and made in 1958 by director, Alfred Hitchcock.
It is a compelling and disturbing movie which is now regarded as a masterpiece although on release it was not a box-office success, and received just two Academy Award nominations, for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Sound, but won none, most of the awards that year going to 'Gigi.' Nevertheless its reputation has since steadily grown and it is now recognised as a classic, and as one of the finest movies ever made.
The screenplay was by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor, based on a French novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac.
In the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies it is listed at number 61 and in their Top Mystery Films category it is listed at number 1.
In 1989, Vertigo was recognized as "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The plot is as intricate as it is unlikely and works on several levels with many twists and turns. It tells the story of a detective who meets his dead mistress's look-alike and obsessively molds her into the reincarnation of of his mistress.
The casting is wonderful. James Stewart was a Hitchcock stalwart and his ability to convey a character's inner turmoil under intense psychological pressure is unequalled. Kim Novak is a typical Hitchcock icy blonde in the mold of Grace Kelly and Tippi Hendren, and her performance in the difficult dual roles of Madeleine Elster and Judy Barton is one of the keys to the movie's success. Another key is the music. At many important moments, the relentless, probing Bernard Herrman score swells to a crescendo and is absolutely integral to the mood of the entire movie.
'Vertigo' is a genuinely wonderful film. There is so much in it, that a single showing is not enough for a complete understanding. To be appreciated fully it undoubtedly needs multiple viewings. Part suspense thriller, part murder mystery, part strange, icily romantic love story, the film is a classic, a powerful examination by a master film maker of the nature of romantic love, voyeurism, duplicity, and murder. It is a fascinating, multi-layered masterpiece, a combination of murder mystery, love story and classic thriller, representing the pinnacle of achievement of Hitchcock's brilliant career.
Main CastJames Stewart ... Detective John "Scottie" Ferguson
Kim Novak ... Madeleine Elster / Judy Barton
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Midge Wood
Tom Helmore ... Gavin Elster
Henry Jones ... Coroner
Raymond Bailey ... Scottie's Doctor
Ellen Corby ... Manager of McKittrick Hotel
Konstantin Shayne ... Pop Leibel
Lee Patrick ... Car owner mistaken for Madeleine
CreditsDirector ... Alfred Hitchcock
Producer ... Alfred Hitchcock
Associate Producer ... Herbert Coleman
Production Company ... Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc., Paramount Pictures
Written by ... Pierre Boileau, Thomas Naracejac from their original novel ("D'Entre les Morts")
Screenplay ... Samuel A Taylor, Alec Coppel
Format ... Color (Technicolor)
Initial Release ... 9 May, 1958 world premiere
Running time ... 120mins
Academy AwardsNo Wins:
2 Unsuccessful Nominations:
Art Direction/Set Direction ... Hal Pereira, Henry Bumstead/Sam Comer, Frank McKelvy
Sound ... Paramount Studio Sound Dept., George Dutton, Sound Director