by AMANDA CRANSTON
Alfred Hitchcock is the innovator of suspense and creator of the horror genre. His films, a total of over fifty, attracted the biggest names in acting, and to this day are still being remade and explored further and further. Recently a movie was even made about Alfred Hitchcock regarding the filming of Psycho, and that movie itself, which is the movie most often associated with Hitchcock, has had various sequels and has been drawn from to create many films, SNL shorts, and for general inspiration in general for the horror genre.
Vertigo is one of Hitchcock’s many amazing and acclaimed movies. James Stewart and Kim Novak star in this gripping thriller as John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson and Madeline Elster/Judy Barton, respectively. John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson, James Stewart’s character gradually becomes obsessed with Madeline Elster, Kim Novak’s character. Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective, who is now suffering from vertigo/acrophobia. He believes she is going insane, for she believes that a long dead ancestor is possessing her, and that in fact she is the reincarnation of said ancestor. Gavin Elster, Madeline’s husband, asks Ferguson to investigate her odd behavior. In his investigation, Ferguson saves her life, and begins to fall in deep and foreboding love with her. Then tragedy strikes, and the plot and mystique of the story thickens. Nothing in the past nor the present is the same as it appears and appeared, and Ferguson learns that all he thought was real is and was not; it was all a conspiratorial lie, one that will claim more than one life by the time the story and movie is done.
Vertigo is not simply a story about a man and a woman and a tragic occurrence; it is so much more. It is a story of love, and of betrayal, and of death and hate and vengeance. Circumstance is what brings the characters together, and yet it is also chance. Ferguson is the real victim in this tale, for his heart is what is broken and sewn together and broken yet again. His vertigo is his trial; it is his downfall; it is, seemingly, his ultimate weakness. Yet, without this weakness, the deception and wickedness of this story would not have been possible. The world would have been less worrisome and more full of light, for all would have been happier, for their hearts would not be so burdened. This movie is not a happy one, but it is a great one. It is one of Hitchcock’s finest, and it is a great example of his exemplary cinematic achievements.