W: Alec Coppel & Samuel Taylor [based
on the novel "D'entre les Morts" by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac]
DP: Robert Burks
Ed: George Tomasini
Mus: Bernard Herrmann
PD: Hal Pereira & Henry Bumstead
Cos: Edith Head
James Stewart (John Ferguson), Kim
Novak (Madeleine Elster / Judy Barton), Barbara Bel Geddes (Midge), Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster)
Vertigo is a lot easier to watch than it is to explain, or
indeed review, as it's certainly Alfred Hitchcock's most personal film, one in which the director conveys his desires and obsessions to his audience using the artistic medium of
James Stewart stars as John "Scottie" Ferguson, a former
San Francisco policeman who suffers from acrophobia. He accepts a job in which he follows a millionaire's wife, Madeleine (Novak) who he becomes increasingly obsessed with. This obsession
completely encapsulates him, and he himself becomes lost in a labyrinthine plot of which there is no escape.
That's all that can be said without giving away spoilers.
Even so, it's a twisted suspense thriller which is best seen than read about. The film is rated incredibly highly amongst critics, especially the American Film Institute who praise it so
highly that it has now usurped Citizen Kane as the Greatest American Film ever made. A bold claim which you really need to judge this for yourself. Still, it can't be denied that Alfred
Hitchcock set a precedent with this film, just as he did with so many other works, utilising new cinematography techniques to create a new wave of suspense.