Writer: Alec Coppel, Samuel A Taylor (Screenplay) Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac (Novel)
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey
Plot: A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: The Classic They Say
Story: Vertigo starts as former police detective John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson (Stewart) has been forced into retirement after his acrophobia has caused him to lose his edge. When a former friend Gavin Elster (Helmore) contacts him, he asks for John to follow his wife Madeleine (Novak) who he suspects is up to something behind his back.
John takes the job and after spending time tracking Madeleine he finds himself looking into the history of San Francisco to uncover what she is up to. When John saves Madeleine he ends up joining her on her journey which delves into her past.
Thoughts on Vertigo
Story – We get told of films that are classics, films that inspire other films and films you need to watch, well this is one of them, right? The story is an interesting one to follow as you are left to figure out what is going on through the film and we do get to see how facing a fear that freezes us can leave us unable to be as effective as possible. I do fee people will enjoy this one unfold because the characters are unlike most we have seen in film.
Mystery/Romance – The film does give us a good mystery to figure out as well as keeping us guessing along the way, the romantic story is more about obsession rather than love but also works because it leaves us wondering just what John has become so infatuated with the girl.
Characters/Performance – John makes for a great leading character because his character has a flaw which weakens his ability to do his job correctly, we don’t see this often in film. the character of Madeleine is troubled which is all good for the direction of the film goes.
The performances are all great too even if the age gap between Stewart and Novak is too big to full enjoy the film.
Settings – The use of San Francisco is a great setting as it is visually fantastic and is filled with the buildings that play into the fear John deals with.
Final Thoughts – We have all been told to see this if we want to be film critics well you can understand why.
Overall: Classical enjoyable thriller.