Posts Tagged Vertigo

Strike a light

And finally on Vertigo, an extended scene which captures many of the film’s key themes – obsession, a hint of necrophilia, love (of sorts), the echoes of the past – and features a beautiful example of one of the defining aspects of the film, in the use of the green neon light.

The next time you have a shade over 2 hours to spare, just sit down and watch it.

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In the beginning

One of the things that struck me when re-watching Vertigo was how pleasant it is to have the credits up front: I’m much more alert, actually take an interest in the wider team who made the film, and don’t need to think “well I’d best turn this off and put the DVD away before it gets muddled up with Star Wars, The Wiggles, and Cars 2″.

This also gives me the excuse to listen to the music again [shudder].

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Don’t. Look. Down…

There is no end of discussion about this technique from those who know proper technical things about film and cameras and stuff. I know none of this stuff, but I am pretty confident in asserting this to be some kind of genius.

(nice little plot teaser at the end by the way)

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Messing with the middle-ear

I don’t normally pay enough attention to film soundtracks. Bernard Herrmann’s score for Vertigo, however, grabs me right by the, well, the hairs on the back of my neck. It’s edgy, it’s creepy, it’s noisy, it’s quiet, it’s perfectly atmospheric, and it can quite easily unsettle the hell out of me.

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In the beginning

One of the things that was brought home to me when re-watching Vertigo was how surprisingly pleasant it is to have the credits right up front at the beginning of the film: I’m a bit more alert and paying a bit more attention, rather than thinking “right, best put the DVD back in the box before it gets muddled up with Star Wars, The Wiggles, and Cars 2″.

It’s also a nice excuse to listen to the music again [shudder].

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Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

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Dizzy, my head is spinning

I used to be obsessed with ‘Vertigo’, but I’m alright now. I still love the film, and admire it deeply, but I no longer need to watch it five times a week at two in the morning, sometimes with the volume down, to soak up every nuance, every image, every location, and every directorial flourish.  I don’t know quite why it struck such a chord, to be honest, but ‘Vertigo’ is a film that inspires devotion, dedication – it’s a film that haunts you, stalks you, until – one day – you find you’re stalking it.

‘Vertigo’ is Hitchcock’s most enigmatic and profound film: it’s confusing and confused, it’s unrealistic and surrealistic, and it has strong, dangerous emotions at its core. Hitchcock took great pleasure in promoting it as a film about ‘a man who wants to sleep with a dead girl’, but ‘Vertigo’ isn’t really about necrophilia, it’s about fear, obsession, love – obsessive love, and the various types of temporary madness and permanent psychosis it can bring.

An uncommon term commonly applied to the film is that it is hypnogogic, i.e. it has the feel of something taking place in the transitional period between dreaming and waking. It’s an accurate assessment of a film which, after you’ve seen it, will nag at the corners of your mind and memory, never quite revealing itself entirely.  Whether you’ve seen it before or not you should watch it today. Just watch it. Films don’t get any better than this.

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