Love And Unhealthy Obsession In Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo

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Released in 1958, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo focuses on the close connection between love and unhealthy obsession. Former detective John “Scottie” Ferguson is asked by his friend to investigate his wife, Madeleine. Scottie eventually falls in love with the apparently suicidal Madeleine, but his love soon borders on obsession. After she commits suicide by throwing herself off a bell tower, Scottie later meets a woman who looks exactly like Madeleine. His obsession pushes him to remake the woman, Judy, into his dead lover. His fixation eventually leads him to lose grip of reality. Through purposeful coloring of the background and costumes, Hitchcock connects color to Scottie’s varying mental states to allow the audience to sympathize with his…show more content…
The color green becomes more prominent as Vertigo goes on, serving as a reminder to Scottie of his failure. When Scottie sees Madeleine’s doppelganger, Judy, on the street, she wears a green dress (1:20:44). The green allows Scottie to see the similarities between the women immediately. Hitchcock’s choice to introduce Judy in a green dress allows the audience to see through Scottie’s eyes and lets them understand his pull to this new woman. This choice makes Scottie’s decision to follow Judy to her apartment seem natural to the audience. As Scottie’s obsession grows, he forces Judy to dress in Madeleine’s clothes and dye her hair blonde. When Scottie orders Judy to put her hair in Madeleine’s signature updo, she passes through the bathroom’s green door. When she enters the bedroom again, green light from the Empire Hotel sign bathes the room, and her image blurs (1:40:45-1:42:49). The intensity of the green demonstrates that his obsession has reached a dangerous level. He no longer sees Judy, but Madeleine herself. Green allows the audience to understand his obsession with Judy as the green fills their screens as a symbol of Scottie’s
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