Vertigo (1958) Review

John “Scottie” Ferguson had recently retired early as a Detective for the San Francisco Police Department due to his vertigo. His obsessive nature will not work out well when he becomes involved with Madeline Elster the wife of his client Gavin.


Everything about Vertigo has you on edge and wondering which twist and turn it is going to take next. The sheer brilliance of the film is that it seems rather straight forward to begin with anyway. You feel as though you can guess exactly what is going to happen next, something that I will admit left me wondering how this is rated every so highly. But that first twist would leave me utterly shocked and then baffled to how and what we would experience within the final half an hour.

Something I certainly did not have to worry about at all when the elaborate plans and schemes are brought forward and we see everything suddenly make sense. Until of course the brutal ending which I truly was not expecting at all after the twist. Scottie’s second obsession with Judy Barton was very uneasy to watch as it borders on abusive, treating her like a doll trying to find that dress that Madeline had worn on that fateful day.

I am still working my way through the many films of Alfred Hitchcock and each time I watch one I really do admire it so very much. Something outstanding with this film as well was the haunting score by Bernard Herrmann. It added so much more to each and every moment in the film, raising the tension levels as they spoke and the dramatic moments in-between. This was something I found myself really admiring so very much, I feel this lacks in newer films and it doesn’t always fit together with the story and acting.

The vivid use of colour was outstanding as well as this being the first film that ever used the special zoom shot of simply zooming out and tracking in. This was perfect considering it helped to show how Vertigo feels for someone suffering with and from it! The main shot that I am still thinking about is the whirling around and many colours as James Stewart is struggling to deal with what had just happened in the previous scene I felt as though I could still appreciate just how groundbreaking this all was for film back in 1958.

James Stewart delivers a perfectly leading man performance and is engaging from start to finish. A former detective struggling with his illness as well as other demons from previous events. His obsessions becoming too much to handle when alongside the vertigo feeling. Kim Novak was equally as impressive opposite Stewart and being given the two characters was certainly something interesting to see unfold as well.

5 thoughts on “Vertigo (1958) Review

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