Emotion In Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 Film Vertigo

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The purpose of art is to evoke emotion, although that emotion may disgust or dismay, and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo is no exception. While many critics adore it, naming it one of their top movies of all time, many audience members may leave feeling uncomfortable or even angry at some of the characters’ actions. From the obsessive, borderline stalker to the man who goes to great lengths to trick an old friend and murder his wife, this is not a feel-good movie. But the aspects of this film that tend to give audience such a negative emotional response are exactly what cause critics to praise it. The film turns the table on the audience, showing them how disturbing it is for someone to watch someone else while the audience does just that,…show more content…
The beginning scenes, once Scottie has agreed to watch his friend’s wife, often let us view Madeleine from the view of Scottie. While Scottie is developed and shown in a typical manner, we are introduced to Madeleine from Scottie’s perspective as a mysterious, almost silent movie star-like character, which adds to the allusion of movie watching. The scenes themselves are often set up almost like a movie screen: when Madeleine first travels to the art gallery, she sits in the foreground of the shot while Scottie is off to the side, almost in the dark. As the scene moves in to show up a shot of Madeleine from Scottie’s perspective, we lose the sense that we are watching someone watch someone else. Hitchcock even goes as far as to direct our vision to match what Scottie is seeing. The camera moves from Madeleine’s flowers to the painting’s flowers, then from Madeleine’s hair to the painting’s hair, and in this way Hitchcock places us in Scottie’s…show more content…
Well, that depends on the type of movie you’re looking for. Because Vertigo remains one of the favorite movies of many influential directors, it might be worth it to watch it at least once so you know what you’re talking about if you end up in a room with Martin Scorsese. It is an intellectual film with plenty of layers to analyze, and in that sense could be watched dozens of time with a new discovery made each time. But if you’re looking for a movie to enjoy, one that doesn’t make you contemplate the cognitive dissonance between condemning the invasion of other’s privacy while frequently consuming entertainment that does just that, Vertigo is probably not your

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