John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, he believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine. Written by
This film is often credited (blamed) for creating or popularizing the misconception that vertigo means a fear of heights. For the record, the proper name for that condition is "Acrophobia", whereas vertigo is "a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height" (Oxford Dictionary). See more »
When Scottie is following Madeline, whilst they are driving, Scottie's car turns a couple of seconds before his hand turns the steering-wheel. See more »
Along with "Psycho", Hitchcock's best film that wraps itself around the viewer very fast and never does let go. San Francisco detective Jimmy Stewart is slowly going crazy due to a failed mission which did not work because of his intense fear of heights. This is all front-page news of course and Stewart is shamed about the whole event. But a ray of light shines as he gets a job to watch a man's wife (Kim Novak) who is supposedly having an affair with another man. Stewart believes this is his chance to put the past behind him, but sometimes the future is even darker. Stewart falls in love with Novak and the love turns into a dark and twisted obsession that becomes deeper and deeper as the film progresses. When tragedy strikes, that is the end. Right? Not quite. An amazing screenplay and arguably Hitchcock's greatest directing venture make the film solid and Stewart's stunning performance raises the whole project to a classic level. Somewhat ignored around the awards circuit in 1958, but ages beautifully as the years go by. 5 stars out of 5.
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