Wednesday, 25 March 2009


1958 - Dir:Alfred Hitchcock
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 30th October, 2004

What can one write without giving the game away?! This is perhaps the strangest and most frightening film we’ve ever shown at the FeckenOdeon with dark and disturbing undercurrents running beneath the seemingly straighforward plot. James Stewart, at his very best, brilliantly portrays a man at his most obsessed - not unlike the director?
“Vertigo” came close to disappearing altogether but a painstaking restoration by Universal Pictures in 1996 gave us new prints with vibrant colours and a crystal clear soundtrack... but the tale of Stewart's heights-fearing detective who gets caught up with the woman he's investigating makes the restored spectacle almost irelevant. If you’re looking for jokes they’re in short supply - but the thrills and tension are here... as is a dark and inescapable nightmarish compulsion. You don’t want to look... but you simply have to.

  • The film is based upon "D'Entre les Morts'' (From Among the Dead) which was written specifically for Hitchcock by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac after they heard that he had tried to buy the rights to their previous novel.
  • San Juan Batista, the Spanish mission which features in key scenes in the movie doesn't actually have a bell tower - it was added using trick photography.
  • Uncredited second-unit cameraman Irmin Roberts invented the famous "forward zoom and reverse tracking" shot (now sometimes called "contra-zoom" or "trombone shot") to convey the sense of vertigo to the audience.
  • The view down the mission stair well cost $19,000 for just a couple of seconds of screen time

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