Vertigo, or Being Driven Mad!

I recently took advantage of an opportunity to write a blog post for The Brattle Theater's blog, Film Notes. It was a rewarding process to pitch a particular take about a film and then write about it.  In this case, I decided to take a look at the role of cars in Hitchcock's Vertigo and I was delighted by what I found.  

The idea of cars in Hitchcock's films came to me several years ago when either watching this film for the first time or another of his film and I wondered about how Hitchcock used car scenes for meaning.  So, enjoy this piece.  Like other publications I've reposted on this blog, I give the first few bits and then pass you along to the full piece.  Be sure to let me know your thoughts--either here or on the Brattle's blog!

Screenshot of the Brattle Theatre's blog featuring Lance Eaton's post.

"Vertigo (1958) remains the top contender for the best film of Hitchcock’s impressive oeuvre. In the film, John “Scottie” Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart) suffers from vertigo after pursuing a robber over rooftops and plummeting nearly to his death. After his near-fatal accident, he is hired to investigate Madeline (Kim Novak), the wife of an old college friend, who is acting strange, almost possessed. As Ferguson pursues Madeline, he not only saves her from drowning, but ultimately falls in love with her. But his vertigo prevents him from saving her life a second time when she appears to throw herself from a church tower. The second half of the film follows Ferguson as he recovers from a mental breakdown and meets Judy, a woman with such a striking resemblance to Madeline (Judy is also played by Kim Novak) that Ferguson becomes obsessed and remakes her in Madeline’s image.

Despite the titular diagnosis, Ferguson experiences vertigo just a few times during the course of the film. Instead, the film fixates on orientation: focusing, following, and driving. In fact, driving scenes make up 13 minutes (or over 1/10th) of the 128-minute film."

Keep on reading on the Brattle's blog!

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