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Purchase Vertigo (1958) Movie Online and Download - Alfred Hitchcock 🎥
Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
Alfred Hitchcock
James Stewart as John 'Scottie' Ferguson
Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster
Barbara Bel Geddes as Midge Wood
Tom Helmore as Gavin Elster
Henry Jones as Coroner
Raymond Bailey as Scottie's Doctor
Ellen Corby as Manager of McKittrick Hotel
Konstantin Shayne as Pop Leibel
Storyline: John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, he believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine.
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Oh Dear - What a MESS!
This film is exceedingly annoying to watch - unless you happen to be one of the multitude of pretentious fools who think their intellect is better than everyone else's because they "get it". Well, I have news for those dumb-asses: There is nothing to get.

Vertigo is plodding, annoying, and the pacing is terrible. The characters do not act like real people; it's yet another film where this is the case. What makes it all the more infuriating is that there IS a clever story buried under all the sewage, clawing to get out. And it never does. Even at the end, there's a brief moment where things actually make sense - where there is some semblance of reality - only for it to be dashed by one of the most ludicrous finales I HAVE EVER SEEN. It's THAT BAD. That ending would be laughed out of the cinema today (and probably was back then), but because this film is considered a 'classic', it's applauded as some kind of masterpiece. It isn't. It's just an exceedingly daft finale to a grossly unrealistic film.

The only way I could possibly enjoy Vertigo is if I had very little logical thinking. Unfortunately for all the die-hard movie buffs masturbating in unison, I am not a conformist who feels a need to nod their head in agreement, just because society says I am in the presence of brilliance. I was not in the presence of brilliance, just stupidity. The emperor has no clothes.

My rating: 1/5.
Slow, boring, ridiculous, and predictable
I finally watched this old chestnut. I read somewhere that it was a flop when it came out but later became recognized as a classic. Apparently Alfred Hitchcock blamed James Stewart's being too old for the part. The two never worked together again. Well, Stewart wasn't the problem. The problem was the script, which is simply asinine. The public was right the first time: the movie is terrible.

The hero falls in love with a woman who is supposed to be nuts and who gives him no reason at all to fall in love with her. She has a few mad scenes with him but never engages in any conversation of any substance on any topic, never does any activities with him, etc. On top of that, she is his old friend's wife. Her only attraction is that she is good looking, but lust for a pretty woman isn't love, which is what the hero is supposed to feel. Totally implausible.

The movie runs 2 hours. There is a great deal of boring driving around San Francisco and the nearby California coast in the first half of the movie. I started looking at my watch at around 1:15 into the movie. Was this thing ever going to end? At about 1:30 the main plot is revealed. It is pretty silly and quite routine. The remaining 1/2 hour is torture. The plot gets more and more ridiculous, all the while getting more and more predictable. My impatience got more and more intense. When the truly idiotic end finally came, I was both relieved (over at last!) and outraged (what a waste of 2 hours).
Hitchcock at his most revealing best!
One of Hitchcock's three best movies (North by Northwest and Rear Window are my other two favorites) which I can watch over and over again.

The external reviews for Vertigo will give you more insight into this movie than I can but for me, when I first saw this movie in the late '50s (I was very young), it planted the seeds that drove me to move to the bay area from the east. My obsessions were cultivated later.

The setting, San Francisco at its prime, with its hills and sharp light contrasts because of the surrounding waters add to the ever changing but hypnotic backdrop of this color film. Even Bernard Herrmann's music score emphasis the mood swings of its characters to pull the viewer into its vortex.

Vertigo is a dizzying production of dark and light, ups and downs. It is the story of one man's obsessions for controlling his surroundings and desires to a point where his life is spinning out of control. Or is it? It has been written that Hitchcock in real life was controlling and manipulative ("All actors should be treated like cattle") and why all the blonde, austere, frigid women? So, plot, acting, direction, photography and music are all mingled to give the viewer a wonderful, mesmerizing, voyeuristic look into obsessive behavior. More relative today, almost 50 years later!
Distinctive & Unforgettable Masterpiece
One of the many things that made Hitchcock such a great director is that he did not just stick to the same formula time after time; all of his best movies have their own unique feel and characteristics. "Vertigo" is particularly distinctive, both as a complex story filled with suspense, and as a fascinating study in psychological tension. While it lacks the humor of some of Hitchcock's other masterpieces, and sometimes moves rather slowly, it is unforgettable, and a great achievement by the director and his cast.

If you have never seen it, you will enjoy it more if you do not know too much about the plot, although the actual story is somewhat secondary to the ways that the characters are tested and their weaknesses exposed by the various events. Hitchcock uses a complicated story, interesting characters, lavish visual detail, and deliberate pacing, plus a fine musical score by the incomparable Bernard Hermann, to produce a mysterious, almost unearthly, atmosphere. The tension rarely lets up, and the viewer is caught up completely in it, at times almost to the point of discomfort. It's the kind of film that repays careful attention, as almost every moment is filled with significant detail.

There are also some great acting performances. Jimmy Stewart is outstanding in a role far different from his usual screen persona. He enables the viewer to sympathize completely with him, even as we cringe at many of his character's actions and decisions. Kim Novak is completely convincing in a difficult dual role, and the movie would not have been as compelling without her fine performance. The rest of the cast all have much smaller roles, but are all quite good too, especially Barbara Bel Geddes as Scottie's (Stewart's) old friend, who provides important insight into Scottie's character.

"Vertigo" is a classic by any standard. It's a must-see that remains just as impressive with each viewing.
Fantastic, not perfect
I've seen this movie many times now. First, I thought that basic concept of the story is unique, before or since. Confused identity of course goes back to antiquity, but this treatment is a whole different take on the idea. Second the execution of colors, music, shooting style are breathtaking and still look, for the most part, fresh today. What is must have looked like at the time! By the way the special features on the DVD are also very good.

Now for the problems as I see them. First is Jimmy Stewart. He is credible as a police officer and as someone who had lost his nerve, but as someone who falls obsessively in love; I didn't think it was credible. Plus he is too old for Kim Novak.

Spoiler below: Are we really to believe that the murder plot was conceived to include pretending to be suicidal, jumping in the ocean, enticing Stewart, and getting him to climb up a set of stairs to "witness" the wrong thing? Told "mystery style" where you find one thing out at a time hides the ridiculousness of this part of the plot, yet it is a crucial part of the story. Could even the great Hitchcock not figure out some more credible way to deal with the story requirements?
Obsession with mystery
The basic plot: An ex-police officer with fear of heights is assigned by a friend of his to keep an eye on his seemingly off-the-edge of sanity wife , but he soon becomes enamored with Madeliene and when she commits suicide ,he finds another girl with a passing resemblance to her who he has clothed, dressed , and done ultra-specifically like Madeliene, but then he learns her secret......

The praise: Incredibly dreamy and cool, actually an allegory of the human love of the difficult and mysterious, the strange and the icy(Madeliene), over the plain and familiar( Midge, his ex-fiancee ), and the natural urge to explore and obsess with the strange,scary and beautiful in the human sex urges. Oh,yeah and James Stewart and Kim Novak are truly great in their respective roles. Jimmy Stewart is near-perfect as the mild-mannered soul with kernels of obsession both sexual and for a single mysterious woman , with a phobic fear of heights, known as Scotty. Kim Novak is perhaps perfect, drawing on wells of truly deep emotion and currents of beauty untold. Oh yeah, there is a great swooning Bernard Herrman score. It is the most stylish movie , elegantly photographed and designed with a truly elegant beauty that is both modern,old, and religious.There also is great suspense along the way , thrills,chills and mood. Perfect Hitchcock. Must-see.

The flaws: The ending is too uncharacteristic and pat of the rest of the film.

One final thing I have to do... and then I'll be free of the past.
Oscar ignored this fantastic film by Hitchcock starring James Stewart. It gave nomination for Art and Set decoration and Sound. Small acknowledgment of an outstanding film.

James Stewart was outstanding as a detective that was duped by his "friend (Tom Helmore)." We were all led on an adventure that made absolutely no sense until we were shown the result. This film really had me going! Kim Novak was also excellent in her role as the wife. She was so good that I had no idea that she was anything more than object of Stewart's obsession. Hitchcock had me going her also.

This was an excellent movie and should have had more recognition.
A fall from grace...

I don't think that I have made an effort to like or, at least, respect any movie more than I have Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO. I have seen it maybe half a dozen times on the big and small screens, read reviews and analyses of it, as well as essays about it in a couple of Hitchcock biographies. I recognize just how it fits into Hitchcock's filmography and how it details his notorious obsessions. It is an important film as far as the study of Hitchcock is concerned. But, in the end, VERTIGO is just not a very good movie. I don't see why it is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time; indeed, I wouldn't even place it in Hitchcock's top twenty. Instead of appreciating it more each time I view it, I find myself resenting the way it distracts from Hitchcock's better efforts.

The premise -- basically a variation of "Frankenstein" by way of a dark and brooding "My Fair Lady" -- involves a man's attempt to reshape a woman into the image of a woman he thought he loved and lost, not realizing they are the same woman. The concept is intriguing in theory, but largely unbelievable in execution.

The film is told in two halves, the first being a detective story. It involves the type of ludicrously contrived murder scheme that only works in old self-mocking whodunits ("'You see,' explained Nick to Nora, in between sips of his martini, 'Gavin had to use Scottie as his patsy, because a man who was not deathly afraid of heights might have climbed to the top of the bell tower and discovered....'") You get the idea. Almost like a trial run for the far superior PSYCHO, Hitchcock concocts a convoluted thriller storyline which ultimately only serves as a set up for the psychological drama in the second half. This may be the only aspect of the film that shows Hitchcock's genius: using a far-fetched mystery narrative as a way of luring the viewer into the murkier melodrama that is the real center of the story. But, it seems Hitchcock was so fascinated in elements of the latter part of the story that he wasn't concerned with the plot holes and dubious logic that make the first half largely unbelievable. And, unfortunately, part two is hopelessly entangled in the clumsy web spun in part one.

It is part two of the story that also fascinates the film's admirers (who tend to ignore or forgive the sloppy set up of part one). Having established that James Stewart as Scottie, has fallen in love with Kim Novak's Madeline, only to see her apparently commit suicide, the film introduces Judy, also Novak, who is a dead ringer for Madeline. On meeting Judy, one would think that a trained detective like Scottie would immediately be suspicious and begin to investigate her past, instead he starts playing Henry Higgins and begins training Judy to again look and act like "Madeline." Judy, who should realize that Scottie can implicate her in a murder, plays along, presumably because she has fallen madly in love with Scottie. But basically, no one does anything logical in this film, everybody being hopeless enslaved by the rather silly plot, rather than by obsessive love or psychological turmoil. The film just doesn't stand up to close scrutiny, either dramatically or psychologically.

Okay, films, especially Hitchcock's, are less about plot than style. But even so, the film is substandard, especially for a Hitchcock film. There are a few clever shots and striking images, but that is overshadowed by slow pacing, a very hokey dream sequence and stilted dialogue. And there are some odd choices involving the use of color that prove particularly annoying. At first, I thought the muddy, muted look of the film was the result of badly aged prints, but seeing the restored version proves this not to be the case. And for some reason, Jimmy Stewart's face seems bright orange in every print of the film I have seen. The look of the film is so annoying, that the last time I watched it, I turned the color off on my TV set. The film actually plays better in black and white, reflecting its pulp film noir elements.

It seems that the reason the film's reputation has skyrocketed over the years has less to do with Hitchcock's skill at making it, than that VERTIGO represents a convenient checklist of all his phobias, fetishes and obsessive visions. Those who have laboriously defended the film seem to skim over the gaping holes in its logic, dwelling on the film's paper-thin psychology: The film's protagonist Scottie representing Hitchcock and his not-so healthy desire to control and abuse women of a certain type. Okay, maybe that is so. But a psychological profile is not necessarily the same as a work of art -- or even passable entertainment. Hitchcock may -- or may not -- be revealing his psyche more in this film than in any other he ever made, which makes it Jim-dandy for discussion of his entire career, but that doesn't mean VERTIGO stands up on its own.

Rather than representing the epitome of what the name Hitchcock stands for, VERTIGO should represent some sort of embarrassment. The story is poorly plotted and poorly told. Novak and Barabra Bel Geddes give solid performances, but Stewart is just terrible in the central role; it just may be is worst screen performance. And Hitchcock's stylistic touches seem self-consciously obvious, detracting form the drama rather than underscoring it. But, as a dress rehearsal for what he would soon accomplish, VERTIGO works decently enough. The red herring first act, the unexpected death of the leading lady, the psychologically scarred protagonist with necrophilic leanings (played by an actor with an established boy-next-door image), the denial of a one woman's death by creating the illusion she exists in another person's body; these are all elements that would rise again in PSYCHO, Hitchcock's true masterpiece. PSYCHO realizes the vision that VERTIGO only promises.
A truly well-made film!
"Vertigo" is James Stewart's fourth and final picture under the direction of the Master of Suspense: Alfred Hitchcock. Today, it is quite difficult to refer to this film as anything less than a gem. (If you have not yet seen "Vertigo," please DO NOT read any further.) Stewart executes an absolutely masterful performance as San Francisco police detective John "Scottie" Ferguson, whose crippling vertigo, resulting from acrophobia, has a detrimental effect on his career. (Hitchcock makes great use of a "reverse zoom" effect, aided by Bernard Herrmann's haunting music score, as the camera aims downward to indicate Scottie's vertigo.) Kim Novak is quite wonderful as Scottie's primary love interest, the supposedly possessed & enigmatic Madeline Elster and the fairly diffident & agitated Judy Barton, both of whom are one and the same. Barbara Bel Geddes is fine as Scottie's very casual girlfriend Marjorie "Midge" Wood; Hitchcock's light touches of humor in this film primarily involve the various scenes with Scottie and Midge together. Tom Helmore as Scottie's old school chum Gavin Elster is the perfect villain who gets away with the murder of his wife Madeline, and he selects Judy to play the part of Madeline in order to dupe Scottie into believing Madeline committed suicide. One question that sticks in my mind is why Hitchcock would blatantly choose to explain how Scottie has been deceived through a flashback remembrance by Judy.

My favorite moments from "Vertigo" include the following. To begin with, Hitchcock is very clever with the use of light, color, and mirrors to astonishing effect in this masterpiece. Some of the best examples of light are the blurriness in the churchyard, possibly indicating Scottie's confusion as he follows Madeline; the sharp contrast between a dark alley and a bright flower shop; the slow dim as book shop owner Pop Liebel (Konstantin Shayne) tells Scottie & Midge about the mental breakdown & eventual suicide of Carlotta Valdes, who was Madeline's great-grandmother; the silhouette of Judy as she sits on her bed, nervous about having a relationship with Scottie; the brightening of the lights in Ernie's Restaurant when Scottie spots Madeline for the first time; and the emerging of what appears to be Madeline in the darkness of Ernie's before Scottie realizes she is a mistaken identity when she walks further into the light. Some great uses of color include Scottie's chilling nightmare sequence and the somewhat sickening neon green light shining into Judy's bedroom, which is really put to good use when Judy emerges from her washroom as the identical image of Madeline, blurred by the green light. Some examples of mirrors are the reflection of Madeline while Scottie spies on her through the door of the flower shop; the two-shot of Midge and the painting she did of herself (a la "Portrait of Carlotta") in an attempt to be funny; and the basic fact that Scottie mirrors his own nightmarish life, loving the same woman twice and witnessing her death falling from the bell tower of an old Spanish mission. Scottie's final dramatic moment of angrily frightening the truth out of Judy by forcing her up the stairs of the bell tower is quite an edge-of-the-seat experience. Equally frightening is Scottie's opening scene as he clings for his life onto a roof gutter numerous stories above the ground, his vertigo taking over as a policeman falls to his death in trying to save him. And Scottie's facial expressions are put to good use in this film as he follows Madeline around in an extended driving sequence with not a word spoken; as he suffers from acute melancholia after Madeline's death, frailly spending his time in a rest home unable to speak while Midge tries to comfort him; and as he delightfully witnesses Judy's transformation into Madeline when she walks toward him from the washroom.

"Vertigo" is considered to be James Stewart's and Alfred Hitchcock's greatest collaboration, which makes it all the more curious that it did not receive greater recognition when it was first released in 1958. Stewart was undoubtedly at the peak of his craftsmanship in "Vertigo"; his brilliant characterization of John "Scottie" Ferguson, as we find out over the course of this picture, is quite obsessive, manipulative, and DARK. In conclusion, Mr. Stewart really worked hard to turn in a frighteningly grand performance under Mr. Hitchcock's masterful direction.
Best Score - Bernard Herrmann
Arguably the best film that Hitchcock made, as well as the best score that Herrmann ever wrote. From 'The Man who Knew Too Much', Hitchcock struck gold through his collaboration with Herrmann. The film is half told through the score, half told through Robert Burks's cinematography. The relationship between Scottie Ferguson and Madeleine/Judy is arguably the greatest love story ever told, superseding even 'Romeo and Juliet'.
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