Scottie Ferguson (Stewart) is hired to watch ghost-like Madeleine Elster (Novak), a disturbed young woman. He falls in love, but his vertigo renders him powerless to prevent her suicidal leap from a bell-tower. Mentally scarred, he roams San Francisco until meeting Judy, a dead ringer for Madeleine, after which the truth slowly unravels.
Picture yourself on a rollercoaster at the highest peak of its circuit. That terrifying moment before your stomach plunges to hell is the best description of having vertigo. It's what Jimmy Stewart suffers from here, and it's what you'll experience leaving the theatre after watching Hitchcock's most disturbing masterpiece. Painstakingly restored from a destroyed 1958 negative to a majestic 70mm print by the team who renewed Spartacus, Vertigo can now terrify and seduce a whole new generation of cinemagoers, and still have enough intellectual clout to be one of, if not the finest, American movies ever made.
First and foremost it's a chilling thriller, but dig deeper and you'll uncover sinister references to Dante's Inferno, psychological colour codes and, most controversially, the master of suspense at last baring his soul on film.Resigned from the force after a rooftop fatality, Scottie Ferguson (Stewart) is hired to watch ghost-like Madeleine Elster (Novak), a woman seemingly possessed by a dead countess. He falls in love, but his vertigo renders him powerless to prevent her suicidal leap from a bell-tower. Mentally scarred, he roams San Francisco aimlessly until meeting Judy (also Novak), a dead ringer for Madeleine, after which the truth slowly unravels.Vertigo presents the dizzy heights of many fabulous careers. Nice Guy Stewart has never been so complex and calculating, Novak never more mesmerising and Bernard Herrmann's score is magnificent. Even Saul Bass' whirling title credits have you gripping the arm-rest, but Hitchcock has stamped his personality on every scene.Using revolutionary techniques -the celebrated zoom-forward-track-back shot, the whodunnit giveaway, the scary downbeat ending - Hitchcock's obsessions with romantic love and female deception are exposed in this spine-tingling tale of mistaken identity. Sit in the front row for this one, it's the closest you'll get to genius all year.
Gripping throughout with frame upon frame of standout images and superb performances from the two leads