Vertigo essay

Apart from any other motive for putting a movie title on a list like this, there is always the motive of propaganda: Critics add a title hoping to draw attention to it, and encourage others to see it. For 2012, I suppose this is my propaganda title. I believe it's an important film, and will only increase in stature over the years. "Aguirre, Wrath of God" (Herzog), "Apocalypse Now" (Coppola), "Citizen Kane" (Welles), "La Dolce Vita" (Fellini), "The General" (Keaton), "Raging Bull" (Scorsese), "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Kubrick), "Tokyo Story" (Ozu), "The Tree of Life" (Malick), "Vertigo" (Hitchcock).

The color green appears frequently throughout the film, typically in association with eerie or uncanny images. For example, when Scottie first sees Madeleine in Ernie’s Restaurant, she stands out vividly from everyone else in the room because of her dramatic green stole, giving her a startling and somewhat unsettling appearance. In his apartment, as he becomes more withdrawn from the outside world and immersed in a dream world, Scottie wears a green sweater. Judy, who seems to be the ghost of Madeleine, first appears wearing a green dress. Her room is illuminated at night by the building’s green neon sign, and when she emerges into Scottie’s view as the fully transformed Madeleine, she is bathed in the green light, making her look even more like the specter of the dead Madeleine. Thus, while green sometimes symbolizes life, as in the sequoia forest, it also symbolizes the ghostly or uncanny. Both associations with the color green are traditional and can be seen in the earliest folktales. For example, because green can represent the spring and the rebirth of nature, it is also associated with the life after death embodied by ghosts and spirits, as in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

After years of litigation VERTIGO--which many cinema historians, such as Donald Spots, feel is Hitchcock's masterpiece, as well as one of the greatest films of all time--was made available on vedio in the 1980's for public screenings in the United States. This is also the case for another masterful Hitchcock/Stewart film, REAR WINDOW (1954). There is so much in VERTIGO, that a single showing barely opens the door to its understanding. Fortunately, filmgoers now have the great opportunity to view it again and again.

Vertigo essay

vertigo essay


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