Length: Runtime: 128 min
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.
Alec Coppel ... (screenplay) & Samuel A. Taylor ... (screenplay) (as Samuel Taylor) Pierre Boileau ... (novel "D'Entre Les Morts") and Thomas Narcejac ... (novel "D'Entre Les Morts") Maxwell Anderson ... (contributing writer) (uncredited)
Today is all about acting! The acting in Vertigo was quite intriguing. As the movie went on I wasn’t sure if it was going to have a paranormal twist to it. At first look Vertigo looks and sounds like a horror but early on reveals itself to be more of a mystery which could have a bit of paranormal. The main character John, played by James Stewart, was a cop and the first scene we see him chasing a criminal on the rooftops of New York. After a fellow officer falls to his death during this chase, John has an overwhelming feeling of acrophobia and gets vertigo even while standing on a small stool.
James Stewart is the refined man and romantic in his earlier films and you can see that easily in this film. Immediately after his character saves Madeleine he begins to have feelings for her. Just the way he looks and speaks to her, after drying her off and changing her clothes, I started getting the feeling that he was falling for her. The small details in the film include the fact that he touches her for far too long to have just an interest as a friend. But his bright blue eyes never leave her which left me wondering what in the world was going on but these acts place him directly into the romantic in this film. Goodykoontz explains “Films with strong personality actors can make it difficult for audiences to differentiate between the actor and the character” (2011) but even I who have never seen any of his films knew the name James Stewart so I think with him we could even go further and say that he is a Star. A Star is someone who is so liked that we not only enjoy viewing them on screen but also want to know about their life off of the big screen. His personality shines through in all of his films, no matter the storyline behind the character.
Bit of a spoiler here if you have not seen this movie!View Spoiler »Kim Novak does a fabulous job of playing two different characters in this movie. In the first as Madeleine she is a woman who is quite afraid and doesn’t want to be alone while going through this weird obsession. And when Kim Novak plays Judy she is more assured and aggressive until John starts to want her to dress like Madeleine then she starts to freak out, only slowly agreeing to his demands. The ability to get in and out of character so easily leads me to believe that she is more of a character actor. Although, in many films she was portrayed as the love interest or something to that effect. Playing the character the way she does allows for many changes but when she starts to look just like Madeleine she once again gets timid. But she immediately is back to being Judy as if knowing that if she acted too much like Madeleine, John would find out what happened.
This ability to play both characters helped the film achieve an almost paranormal aspect. I was constantly wondering what was going on and her roll helped me play right into that thinking. « Hide Spoiler
We don’t see much of her in the film but Ellen Corby played a pivotal part regarding John’s psyche. He’s watching Madeleine every minute and she tells him that she has not been into the building that afternoon, even though he just saw her in there. This adds to the tension and to the overall questioning of John’s ability and to the idea of this being a paranormal rather than just a mystery that needs to be solved. Although she has a small part she definitely left a number on his head. In this particular film it is hard to categorize her as an actor but looking at her previous work, she wasn’t well known for playing on the big screen but she was known for playing on television shows, the most popular being The Waltons. I would describe her as a character actor, with her range of shows she showed that she could easily be placed in many different roles.
Anonymous, (n.d.). Ellen Corby, Internet Movie Database. Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0179289/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cl_t7
Goodykoontz, B. & Jacobs, C., (2011), Film: from watching to seeing, Bridgepoint Education, Inc., San Diego, CA.
YouTube. (2014). Movieclips [Video Channel]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O888bu0QrMg
YouTube. (2014). Movieclips [Video Channel]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tesqTwX7cpc&list=PL518C3FE4926104E6&index=10