Alfred Hitchcock Film Analysis

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Despite his English upbringing, Alfred Hitchcock has become one of the biggest and best-known names in the history of American cinema. His knack for producing dramatic, psychological thrillers earned him the apt title of “Master of Suspense”. While his films were wildly popular upon their releases, one was a notable failure at the box office, only later to be deemed “Alfred Hitchcock’s Masterpiece”. In 1958, Paramount Pictures released Vertigo, Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions’ latest thriller. Mysterious, suspenseful thrillers were not uncharted territory for Hitchcock—the plot twists and turns became synonymous with both director and genre. But Vertigo could also be classified into another notable category: film noir. The antihero protagonist,…show more content…
Judy Barton reluctantly accepts Scottie’s invitation to get to know each other and soon reveals to the audience that she and Madeleine had been the same person in an effort to cover up the real Madeleine’s murder by her husband, Gavin Elster. She continues to hide the information from Scottie, however, and his obsession with Madeleine (and now Judy) deepens. He buys her the same grey suit and shoes, and has her hair dyed Madeleine’s golden blonde. After her transformation back into Madeleine, Scottie brings Judy back to the San Juan Bautista bell tower to reenact Madeleine’s final moments. As he forces Judy up the bell tower stairs, he realizes his crazed obsession has overcome his acrophobia. When they reach the top, he finally surmises that Madeleine had been Judy all along and that he had simply been pawn in Gavin Elster’s intricate setup to cover up his wife’s murder. Judy declares her love for Scottie and Scottie reciprocates with a kiss. In a response to all of the commotion, a nun appears to question the noise. Startled by her sudden presence, Judy falls from the bell tower to the death in a horrible scene of déjà vu for…show more content…
One of the most prominent effects of Vertigo was on the film industry itself. It was during this film that Alfred Hitchcock developed the technique of the dolly zoom effect, in which the camera moves closer to or further from an object while simultaneously zooming in the opposite direction. While Hitchcock developed this technique to translate the feeling of Scottie’s vertigo to the audience, filmmakers like Steven Spielberg took advantage of the effect to relay dread, most notably in Jaws (Ursell). In terms of content, Vertigo was highly influential of Brian De Palma’s 1976 film, Obsession, which similarly echoes the main characters’ obsession with a woman who resembles someone they once loved. Vertigo was also notably parodied in Mel Brooks’ comedy, High Anxiety in 1977. More recently, it has been noted that Vertigo had partly inspired the hit drama series, Mad Men. The show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, stated in regard to Mad Men, “This is exactly what we are trying to do. Vertigo feels like you are watching someone else’s

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