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Vertigo (1958)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock Cinematographer: Robert Burks
 Vertigo (1958) on IMDb

Alfred Hitchcock was at the peak of his powers when he made Vertigo, a psychological thriller, based on the French novel D’entre les morts (From Among the Dead) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, that follows a retired police detective, Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart), who has acrophobia, and is hired as a private investigator to follow the wife of an acquaintance to uncover the mystery of her peculiar behaviour. Focusing on the romantic obsession that Scottie develops for the enigmatic woman (Kim Novak), Vertigo received mixed reviews upon release, particularly in Hitchcock’s native England, with some fans disappointed at the director departing from his earlier lighter romantic thrillers and a number of critics dismissing it as nothing more than a slowly paced murder mystery. However, it’s re-evaluation began in the following decade, when writers at the influential French magazine Cahiers du cinéma began to view Hitchcock as a serious cinematic artist rather than just a slick crowd pleaser and soon film scholars were singling the movie out as a work of hypnotic visual beauty and a profound meditation on love, loss and identity. Over sixty years on, Vertigo continues to fascinate and is now heralded, by many, as Hitchock’s most important contribution to cinema.

Buy or Rent (watch online)
Alfred Hitchcock: Essentials Collection (Rear Window / Vertigo / North By Northwest / Psycho / The Birds) DVD
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [LP]
Blu-ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet
Alfred Hitchcock The Masterpiece Collection – Psycho / The Trouble With Harry / The Man Who Knew Too Much / Vertigo (DVD)



  • James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson (pictured above). Stewart’s casting as the progressively disturbed and obsessive investigator was seen as particularly effective for the suspense given that he was previously known for warmhearted roles.
  • Kim Novak as Judy Barton (“Madeleine Elster”)
  • Barbara Bel Geddes as Marjorie “Midge” Wood
  • Tom Helmore as Gavin Elster
  • Henry Jones as the coroner
  • Raymond Bailey as Scottie’s doctor
  • Ellen Corby as the manager of the McKittrick Hotel
  • Konstantin Shayne as bookstore owner Pop Leibel
  • Lee Patrick as the car owner mistaken for Madeleine
  • Margaret Brayton as the Ransohoff’s saleslady
  • Paul Bryar as Capt. Hansen (accompanies Scottie to coroner’s inquest)
  • Dave McElhatton as the radio announcer (alternative ending)
  • Fred Graham as Scottie’s police partner (falls from rooftop)
  • Nina Shipman as the girl mistaken for Madeleine at the museum
  • Sara Taft as nun during closing scene
  • Alfred Hitchcock makes his customary cameo appearance walking in the street in a gray suit and carrying a trumpet case.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Robert Burks
Edited by George Tomasini
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English

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