Director – Alfred Hitchcock
Writers – Alec Coppel (screenplay), Samuel A. Taylor (screenplay), Maxwell Anderson (uncredited), Pierre Boileau (original story), Thomas Narcejac (original story)
There are some films that stick with you long after you finish watching them, ingraining themselves into your memory with their iconic imagery. Vertigo is one of those films, as unsettling as the psychological condition of the title. The down-trodden detective Scottie, a stern, dignified Jimmy Stewart, is tasked with tracking a mesmerising young woman, Madeleine, played by a striking Kim Novak, who happens to be the wife of his friend, and who is suffering from suicidal tendencies that his friend wants Scottie to protect her from.
The film is all about the act of falling – falling in love, falling from grace, and literally falling, on a number of occasions.
Then there’s THAT reverse zoom dolly shot, a benchmark in cinematography that manages to depict the head-spinning condition of acrophobia spot on. The soaring Bernard Hermann score enhances this feeling too, swirling and out of time, claustrophobic and breathless. The shimmering images and uneasy plot will disturb and disorientate you, just as the director intended. Vertigo is a head-spinning experience.