Thursday 17 August 2023

Vertigo (1958) Movie Review: An Enthralling Psychological Thriller

Vertigo (1958) Movie Review

Vertigo movie poster

Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a classic film noir thriller that was released in 1958. It tells the story of John "Scottie" Ferguson, a retired San Francisco police detective, who is hired by an old acquaintance to follow his wife, whom he suspects of being possessed by a ghost. As Scottie becomes increasingly obsessed with the woman, the plot takes a number of unexpected turns, leading to a shocking conclusion that has left audiences captivated for decades.


The film's plot is intricate and layered, with numerous twists and turns that keep the viewer riveted from beginning to end. As Scottie investigates the mysterious Madeline, he becomes increasingly fixated on her, leading to a dangerous game of cat and mouse that culminates in a tragic and unexpected climax. The film's genius lies in its subtlety, as Hitchcock skillfully weaves together a complex and suspenseful narrative that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.


The film features outstanding performances from its two lead actors, James Stewart and Kim Novak. Stewart is particularly effective as the tormented detective, bringing depth and nuance to a character that could easily have been one-dimensional. Novak is equally compelling as Madeline, delivering a nuanced, multi-layered performance that keeps the viewer guessing until the very end. Their chemistry onscreen is undeniable, and their performances are a testament to their talent as actors.


One of the film's most notable aspects is its stunning cinematography. Hitchcock makes masterful use of color and composition, creating a visual style that is both beautiful and haunting. From the dizzying shots of San Francisco's winding streets to the ethereal green haze that surrounds Madeline, the film's visual style is a key component of its overall impact. It's no surprise that Vertigo is often cited as one of the most visually stunning films ever made.

Overall, Vertigo is an unforgettable film that has stood the test of time. With its gripping plot, outstanding performances, and stunning cinematography, it's a must-see for any fan of suspenseful cinema.

Plot Summary Review Vertigo (1958) Movie

Vertigo movie poster

The Story

Vertigo is a psychological thriller movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1958. The story centers around retired police detective John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart), who has become acrophobic after an incident on the job. He is then hired by an old friend to follow his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), who is behaving strangely. As Scottie begins to investigate, he becomes increasingly obsessed with Madeleine and her mysterious past.

The Analysis

Vertigo is often cited as one of Hitchcock's greatest works and a masterpiece of cinema. The movie explores themes of obsession, manipulation, and identity, all of which are portrayed through the character of Scottie. The film also features incredible cinematography, particularly in the iconic scene where Scottie follows Madeleine up the bell tower of a mission church.

The Performance

James Stewart gives a standout performance as Scottie, conveying a range of emotions from stoic detachment to intense passion. Kim Novak is equally impressive as Madeleine/Judy, portraying two distinct characters with depth and nuance. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable, making their story all the more tragic.

The Verdict

Vertigo is a masterful movie that has stood the test of time. Its exploration of complex themes, stunning visuals, and exceptional performances make it a must-see for any cinephile.

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Characters and their backgrounds Review Vertigo (1958) Movie

Vertigo Movie Review

The Characters

Vertigo is a classic Hitchcock film that explores the themes of identity, obsession, and perception. The story follows retired detective John "Scottie" Ferguson as he is hired to follow his old friend's wife, Madeleine. However, things take a turn for the worse as Scottie finds himself becoming obsessed with Madeleine, and their relationship becomes increasingly complicated.

The main characters in the movie are complex and multi-dimensional, with detailed backgrounds that make them both compelling and sympathetic. Scottie is a troubled soul, still dealing with the trauma of a past case that left him with debilitating vertigo. Madeleine is a fragile woman, haunted by the ghost of her ancestor who committed suicide decades earlier.

The Backgrounds

The film's narrative is deeply rooted in the backgrounds of its characters, with each individual's history playing a key role in shaping the story. Scottie's past trauma is central to his character arc, and his condition prevents him from doing his job effectively. Madeleine's troubled family history is a driving force behind her unraveling mental state, and it ultimately leads her to a tragic end.

The supporting characters, including Scottie's ex-girlfriend and Madeleine's husband, are also well-developed and add an extra layer of depth to the story. Each of them has their own motivations and secrets, which makes for a truly immersive viewing experience.

The Conclusion

Overall, Vertigo is a must-see movie for fans of psychological thrillers and character-driven dramas. The film's pacing is slow and deliberate, which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the payoff is worth it. The characters are richly drawn, with complex backgrounds that lend weight to their actions and motivations. Hitchcock's direction is masterful, with each shot and camera angle serving a specific purpose in advancing the story. If you're looking for a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you thinking long after the credits have rolled, then Vertigo is definitely worth a watch.

Setting and Location Review Vertigo (1958) Movie

Vertigo (1958) Movie Scene

Vertigo, a 1958 American psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is set in San Francisco and has become an iconic representation of the city's landmarks. Throughout the movie, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the San Francisco streets are featured, showcasing the beauty of the city.

The setting of the movie is crucial to its storyline, with the city's landmarks playing a significant role in the plot's development. James Stewart's character, Scottie, uses the city's architecture as a tool to track down Kim Novak's character, Judy, ultimately leading to the climax of the movie at the top of the Mission San Juan Bautista bell tower.

The city's haunting atmosphere is also an integral part of the movie. Foggy nights and eerily empty landmarks add to the tension of the film, emphasizing the psychological thriller's haunting nature.

Overall, the setting and location of Vertigo are integral to the story and its mood. The film's iconic shots of San Francisco's landmarks provide not only a backdrop to the development of the storyline but also elevate the film's beauty and unique style of cinematography. Hitchcock masterfully used the city's atmosphere and landmarks to convey a sense of unease and foreboding throughout the movie.

Cinematography and Visual Effects Review of Vertigo (1958) Movie

Vertigo Movie

Vertigo is a 1958 movie directed by the legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. The movie features James Stewart as John Ferguson, a retired San Francisco police detective, suffering from acrophobia, who is hired as a private investigator to follow a woman named Madeleine, played by Kim Novak. The movie has received widespread critical acclaim for its brilliant cinematography and excellent use of visual effects.

The movie features stunning visuals as it was shot on location in San Francisco, which adds a realistic touch to it. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge has been featured in the movie in a brilliant fashion. The camera used by the cinematographer Robert Burks perfectly captures the landscape of San Francisco in the 1950s.

The use of visual effects in the movie is exceptional. The scene where John Ferguson first sees Madeleine is a masterpiece of visual effects and camera work. The use of colors and tones gives the scene a chilling impact, which perfectly sets up the tone of the movie.

The final sequence of the movie features a dizzying camera work where John Ferguson finds himself trapped on a bell tower. The camera work in this sequence is one of the most iconic aspects of the movie and has been responsible for influencing many filmmakers and cinematographers.

Overall, Vertigo is an excellent example of how brilliant cinematography and excellent use of visual effects can enhance the overall impact of a movie. The use of San Francisco as the backdrop for the movie adds a touch of realism, and the camera work and visual effects elevate the movie to another level.

Sound and Music Review Vertigo (1958) Movie

Vertigo movie poster

The Sound Effects

Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" features outstanding sound effects that add to the eerie, suspenseful mood of the movie. The sounds of footsteps and doors creaking help to set the scene and create tension. In particular, the film's score composed by Bernard Hermann heightens the sense of the characters' emotional states. The music swells as emotions rise, creating a seamless integration between sound and character development.

The Theme Music

Bernard Hermann's haunting theme from "Vertigo" is one of the most recognizable pieces of film music ever composed. The music adds a layer of complexity to the film's themes of obsession and deception, and further enhances the emotional impact of the story. The theme music sets the tone for the film and is masterfully woven throughout, complementing the stunning visuals and Hitchcock's expert storytelling.

The Scene with the Tower

One of the most memorable scenes in "Vertigo" involves the climb up the tower at the Mission San Juan Bautista. In this scene, the sound of the vertigo-inducing bells creates a sense of danger and disorientation, leaving the audience on edge. Hermann's score further exacerbates the tension and emotion of the moment, creating a truly unforgettable scene.

Overall, the sound and music in "Vertigo" play a crucial role in creating and sustaining the eerie atmosphere of the film. Through the use of sound effects, a memorable theme, and expert scoring, the movie truly becomes a masterpiece of suspense and drama.

Themes and Messages Conveyed in Review of Vertigo (1958) Movie

Themes and Messages Conveyed in Review of Vertigo (1958) Movie

The Plot and Characters in Vertigo

Vertigo is a 1958 movie directed by the prestigious Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of Scottie Ferguson, a retired police detective who is hired to follow Madeleine, the wife of an old college friend. Madeleine believes she is possessed by the spirit of a woman who died a century earlier. Scottie becomes obsessed with Madeleine and falls in love with her. Later in the movie, Scottie meets Judy, who looks exactly like Madeleine. Scottie's obsession leads him to a spiral of madness.

The Themes Conveyed in the Movie

One of the themes conveyed in Vertigo is obsession. The movie portrays how Scottie's obsession leads him to a downward spiral of madness and how it affects his relationships. Another theme is identity. The movie addresses how our pasts define us and how we carry them with us. The characters' identities and motives are constantly questioned throughout the film.

The Messages Conveyed in the Movie

Vertigo delivers a message about the consequences of obsession. Scottie's obsession with Madeleine brings destruction to his own life and the lives of those around him. Another message is about perception and reality. The movie asks the question: what is real and what is just a projection of our own desires and fears? The film suggests that our perspectives can be manipulated and that the truth is not always what we perceive.

The Impact of Vertigo

Vertigo is widely regarded as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces and a landmark in cinema's history. It has influenced filmmakers' work ever since its release and remains a prime example of the psychological thriller genre. The movie's impact on contemporary culture can be seen in various references in TV shows, books, and other movies.

In conclusion, Vertigo is a movie that portrays themes such as obsession and identity and delivers messages about the consequences of the former and the paradox of perception. Its cinematic excellence and cultural impact ensure its continued relevance and significance to modern audiences.

Critical Reception and Reviews Review Vertigo (1958) Movie

Movie reel


Vertigo (1958) is a classic American psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. The movie has been known as Hitchcock's greatest masterpiece and is considered one of the most iconic and thought-provoking films in cinema history.

Critical Reception

Upon its release, the movie received mixed reviews from different film critics. Some praised it for its compelling story, cinematography, and impressive acting performances by the lead characters. However, others criticized it for its slow pacing and long runtime. Despite the mixed reception, Vertigo has had a lasting impact on cinema and is still discussed and analyzed today.

Contemporary Reviews

Over the years, many contemporary reviews of Vertigo have been overwhelmingly positive, and it has become a fan favorite. The film has been analyzed and praised for its exploration of themes such as obsession, memory, and identity. Furthermore, Hitchcock's unique visual style and storytelling techniques have been studied and admired.

Audience Reviews

Audience reviews of Vertigo are equally positive, and it has consistently been a fan favorite over the years. Fans have praised it not only for its narrative but also for its incredible cinematography and music score. It has become one of the most influential movies in history, with many filmmakers citing it as a source of inspiration.

In conclusion, Vertigo is a film that has remained relevant and iconic for over 60 years. Its critical reception may have been mixed initially, but it has become a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. The movie's exploration of themes and excellent filmmaking techniques have inspired generations of filmmakers and will continue to influence cinema for decades to come.

Box Office Performance and Awards Won Review: Vertigo (1958) Movie

Movie poster of Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958) is a psychological thriller directed by the legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. The movie stars James Stewart and Kim Novak in the lead roles. Upon its release, Vertigo was not a box office success. However, it has since gained a cult following and is widely considered one of Hitchcock's greatest works.

In terms of box office performance, Vertigo performed poorly upon its release, grossing only $3.2 million against a budget of $2.5 million. However, the movie was later re-released and managed to make a profit. It is worth noting that despite its poor box office performance, Vertigo has been highly regarded by critics and audiences alike.

Vertigo was nominated for two Academy Awards in 1959 - Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Sound - Recording. Although it did not win any of these awards, the movie has since been reevaluated and is now considered a classic. In fact, the movie was ranked at number one in the American Film Institute's (AFI) 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list released in 2007.

Apart from the AFI list, Vertigo has also been featured on several other prestigious lists. It was ranked at number nine in the Sight & Sound Critics' Top 250 Films list in 2012 and was also included in Time magazine's list of the 100 best movies of all time in 2005.

In conclusion, while Vertigo may not have been a box office success upon its release, it has since gained a reputation as one of the greatest movies ever made. Its inclusion in several prestigious lists is a testament to its enduring impact and influence on cinema.

Conclusion Review of Vertigo (1958) Movie

Vertigo movie poster
Vertigo (1958) is an Alfred Hitchcock classic that is still widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. It's a psychological thriller that explores the complex relationships between men and women, and the emotional turmoil that comes with love and loss.

The film follows John "Scottie" Ferguson (played by James Stewart), a detective who is forced to retire when he develops a fear of heights, or vertigo. He is hired by an old friend to investigate his wife's strange behavior, but things take a dark turn when Scottie develops an obsession with the woman he's been hired to watch.

One of the main themes of the movie is the idea of duality and the different personas people adopt in their lives. This is most apparent in the character of Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton, played by Kim Novak. Scottie becomes obsessed with her, but it's not just because of her looks. He is drawn to the mystery surrounding her, and the fact that she seems to have two different personalities.

The movie is beautifully shot, with stunning visuals and a haunting musical score. It's a slow burn of a movie that requires patience and attention to detail, but the payoff is worth it. The ending is shocking and unexpected, leaving the audience with a sense of unease and lingering questions.

In conclusion, Vertigo is a cinematic masterpiece that has stood the test of time. The performances are stellar, the direction is impeccable, and the story is both engaging and thought-provoking. It's a movie that demands repeat viewings and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Vertigo (1958) Movie Review: A Must-Watch Classic

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time since its release in 1958. Its gripping storyline, stunning visuals, and unforgettable characters make it a must-watch for any cinephile.

The Plot

The movie follows Detective John "Scottie" Ferguson, played by James Stewart, who has retired from the police force due to a debilitating case of acrophobia. Scottie is hired by an old friend to follow his wife, Madeleine Elster, played by Kim Novak, who he believes is possessed by a past life. As Scottie becomes more involved in Madeleine's life, he starts to fall in love with her. However, things take a dark turn when Madeleine dies by jumping off a building, leaving Scottie consumed by guilt and despair. He later meets Judy Barton, who bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine, leading to a suspenseful and thrilling climax.

The Cinematography

The cinematography in Vertigo is exquisite and is often regarded as some of the best in cinema history. The use of color, especially green, and the iconic spiral staircase bring a certain hypnotic quality to the film. The locations in San Francisco, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, also play a significant role in building the atmosphere of the movie.

The Characters

The characters in Vertigo are complex and leave a lasting impression on the viewers. James Stewart's portrayal of Scottie Ferguson is both haunting and captivating. Kim Novak's performance as both Madeleine and Judy is effortless and adds another layer of depth to the film.

The Verdict

In conclusion, Vertigo is a cinematic masterpiece that has influenced countless other films. Its suspenseful plot, stunning visuals, and memorable characters make it a must-watch for anyone who appreciates great cinema. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and give it a watch.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did. Don't forget to share this review with your friends and family.

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Review Vertigo (1958) Movie