James Stewart Weekend – Vertigo (1958)

vertDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

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


StoryWe 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/RomanceThe 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/PerformanceJohn 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.

SettingsThe 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 ThoughtsWe have all been told to see this if we want to be film critics well you can understand why.


Overall: Classical enjoyable thriller.





The Fly (1958)

logoDirector: Kurt Neumann

Writer: James Clavell (Writer) George Langelaan (Story)

Starring: David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall, Kathleen Freeman, Betty Lou Gerson, Charles Herbert


Plot: A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic


Story: The Fly starts by showing man finds a woman crushing somebody in a mechanical planet. The woman in question Helena (Owens) calls Francois (Price) to confess killing her husband Andre (Hedison). Along with the inspector Charas (Marshall) the body is looked at and the two locate Helena to find out the truth. Trying to uncover the truth they uncover his laboratory, but they do not understand the work that was going on. Helena has a common housefly around the house that she wants to protect and is distraught when it is killed but luckily it is not the one she was looking for.

Helena is trying to protect a housefly and agrees to recount her story about what happened with her husband as long as she can have the housefly she was searching for. We learn that Andre has built a teleporter and shows it off to his wife first time only to discover it has a small flaw. Andre tries to work on his machine by using his pet cat only for the cat to go missing during the test. Continuing on his experiments he has perfected the ability to transport a living being. After an accident Andre leaves a mysterious note for Helena with instruction and nothing more. We learn that Andre has mixed his DNA with a fly by accident while using his teleporter and he is becoming something that will frighten the world.

The Fly tells a very basic story but also mixes up the telling we have the outcome told in the opening moments and then flashing back to what happened before telling us the final consequences. It doesn’t go into too much scientific detail which keeps things fresh for the audience giving us the chance to relate to Helena. I am trying not to compare this to the remake on qualities but I do feel this story is easier to follow but is also designed for extra shock value for the time but if this was compared to the remake it would fall behind on standard. It is a great story for horror for the 50s though. (8/10)


Actor Review


David Hedison: Andre Delambre genius scientist who has been working on his teleporter only for it to backfire on himself when a fly gets into the machine while trying it on himself. David gives a good performance and with the shock of his reveal transformation works well. (8/10)


Patricia Owens: Helene Delambre suspect who is getting questioned, so she gives her story about what has happened which comes off hard to believe. Patricia gives a good performance that will be a steady scream queen level. (8/10)


Vincent Price: Francois Delambre brother of Andre who tries to get to the bottom of what happened. While providing the supporting character Vincent does make his presence known. (9/10)


Support Cast: The Fly uses a very small cast and the few supporting characters are mainly medical staff, police and person family staff. Each one helps in their own little way to help the story unfold.


Director Review: Kurt Neumann – Kurt did a good job directing this classic which we all know went on to become a film that did get remade with special effects on top of everything. (8/10)


Horror: The Fly does have some shocking moments and it is the wait for those moments which is good. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: The Fly would have come over very shocking at the time, but sadly it has dated with the ideas badly now. (5/10)

Settings: The Fly keeps the settings close together and each one makes things feel close to home for the characters. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Fly used good effects for the time and the added shock value of its reveal works well. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Fly is one for the horror fans out there to watch even though most would have heard of the remake. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The reveal.

Worst Part: Too much is left to imagination.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has two sequels and a reboot.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $700,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: Terrifying! Nerve Shattering! Bloodcurdling!

Trivia: Patricia Owens has a real fear of insects. Director Kurt Neumann used this by not allowing her to see the makeup until the “unmasking’ scene.


Overall: Solid Classic Horror