Vertigo by Hitchcock

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The theme of passion has been the dominant theme in Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo. Movies focused on sentimental bonds frequently have happier ends, or at least that is what the bulk of those hooked to them would like to see near the end of such films. However, in the case of Vertigo, love is not as lovely as one would have thought, as the ending is rather heartbreaking. Films of love and love stories are often accompanied by allusions to desire, romance, and a determination to compete over the emotions the two lead characters in a single film share. In Vertigo, the emotional attachments are based on delusion, deception, and obsession which makes it a sick game and quite contrary to prior anticipations audience may have about it. Just as the name suggests; a feeling of imbalance that individuals feel when they look down from great heights, Vertigo compares the idea of a person falling in love to that of one falling from a great height and not in an impressive way.

The Tools of Medium

There are a lot of instruments of medium that have been employed in the film, and they all serve to make it compact and also bring the themes in it lively. Also, the tools of medium used in the movie create an ambient cinematic encounter of chronological order of the scenes and the focus on what each character believes on every scene they play. There is a scene that Madeleine casts in the forest. The forest in the movie and the role she is supposedly intended to play are symbolical and metaphorical at the same time. In the woods, it is normal that there are different trees but then most of them if not all have the green pigmentation. It is a show that in the movie there are also several ‘Madeleines' judging from the outlook that some of the characters such as Scottie may have about her but then there is only one who is real and the other is an impersonator.

In the forest, Scottie mentions something about the tallest tree being always green and full of life all the time. She suddenly develops an attitude towards plants owing to the comment that Scottie made about plants. The green plants that Scottie mentions in the scene are symbolic in that they acknowledge the continuation of Madeleine's life even when she is gone through another character in the play. The evergreen part also is a show that the person who will foster the continuation of the part that she was supposed to play if she were ‘alive' would like almost exactly like her in outward appearance just as the green plants resemble each other from afar. The hatred she has towards the plants is justified by the knowledge that she will be dying. However, the death of the plants is beneficial since they will help by decomposing and forming manure for other plants, but her death would not bring any good to the people around her. Hitchcock uses the green as a representation of Madeleine's life.

The movie has a lot of dolly zoom and wide shots on the rooftop. At the scene where Scottie was on the ledge and experienced vertigo, the cameras had to record that from the top to capture his real feelings which were accompanied with a tone that seemed unrealistic. Also, there is picturesque that divides the shot involving Scottie with Gavin standing behind him into three dimensions. In this part, the director utilized the short focal length of the shot by using a lens with a wide angle. In the visit that Madeleine and Scottie made to the Spanish mission, there is a green color which is used to make an appearance of the grass in the lawn in the front. The green color in this scene is a reminder of the conversation the two had in the forest and the view Madeleine gave regarding the green color. All meant to shed light on the way love alters the behavior and personalities of individuals.

Delusion of Romance

Scottie portrays to have a penchant for love which is a mere illusion that is proven by his tragic flaw and acrophobia. He comforts himself in a romantic gratification that the people around him including him want to believe to be true but a mere illusion that makes him look like a fool. Midge attempts to woo Scottie, but her efforts bear no fruit which is an easy way for Hitchcock to draw a portrait of her through the scenes as being character who is of tremendous sympathy. The character Midge has and that shown by Scottie are entirely different; while Scottie takes the swim for romantic delusion and an imaginary love, Midge proves to be an antithesis to romantic illusion. In so doing, Hitchcock puts Midge in the limelight of being a person trying to live in a real world, unlike Scottie who lets the emotional winds take control of him and his emotional connections. Midge offers to give Scottie a love that is mature, but he rejects it boldly for the dreamlike love that is illusive and bestowed in his close friend Madeleine. It is his decision to reject Midge that makes the film have an ending that is tragic.

Deep Obsession

Alfred Hitchcock envisions Scottie in Vertigo, as a man obsessed with his love for a woman. However, there are two sides of the latter that he does not know; the woman he loves is a ghost, and the other is that his obsession is taking control of him thus making him resort to irrational decisions. This is because the woman he loves so profoundly does not exists, but he clings on to the one impersonating the real Madeleine that he loves. His necrophilia serves as the motivation to reconstruct his feelings through Judy Burton instead of Madeleine. The impersonation that Judy portrays in the movie of Madeleine is as a result of the plot of men who have plans for her. While Scottie does the reconstruction owing to his necrophilic love for a woman who does not exist, Gavin Elster does it to find a way to murder his wife.

The most hilarious and ironical part of the movie is that Scottie is a detective and he does not know that the woman who makes his blood boil is an impersonator. Madeleine’s husband approached Scottie in the fear that his wife might commit suicide since he felt she had been possessed by the suicidal ghost of Carlotta Valdes. The detective agreed, but then after watching her try to drag herself to her grave, he falls deeply in love with her. However, he could not save her since he was scared of heights and the height that she was just made him frightened and it ended up breaking him up emotionally. The story revolves around a Hollywood staple that has been known for so long in which a boy in love with a girl gets the girl but then in the course of time; they get lost to each other then, later on, they find each other again. The story goes round and round in a merry-go-round until the dice is finally tossed and it settles on a side that people detest.

The outlook that the movie director gives to Judy is that of a shadow fantasy woman. This is because she is willing to take up someone else's lifestyle and appearance just so to get the lover her heart desires. Also, the movie portrays her as being an ordinary woman with feelings just like any other woman would since she chose to let go of the sense of the person she knew herself to be and took up a new one for the sake of love. This is typical of women who love since they are always willing to do anything in their power to be with the man they love. However, the worst part of it all is that she plans to live the kind of life she cannot manage as living in people's shadow's sometimes becomes tiresome and monotonous, so one feels like stepping out and living the life they once knew. The part of the script that Judy plays proves that most of the time we love people thinking that we have known them long enough to trust them only to end up realizing that we never really knew the personality behind the masks they were wearing. Also, it makes it sound as though real love is mere fantasy and since we love people who cannot love us back and that only hurts in the end as we often expect the people we have feeling for to find it in their hearts to love back.

Madeleine, on the other hand, is a visible representation of male fantasy. Her husband is afraid of losing her to suicide, and the ghosts that make her have suicidal thoughts, and that's is the main reason as to why he seeks the assistance of detective Scottie. However, the latter turns the cards around, and instead of protecting Madeleine for her husband's sake, he does it for her sake after realizing that he had emotional attachments to her. This is an indication of the profound obsession that men had for Madeleine. The men in her life want to be in her life despite the weird way in which events in her life unravel including that of wanting to take her life at the expense of some spirit from years back.

In the case of Midge, the obsession is much worse. She is in love with Scottie, the detective. It is the love he has for him that drives her to support him in all the ways he can but then the person he loves cannot love him back because he loves someone else. The funny thing is that he turns down Midge's love for a person who does not exist in the real world but just a mere impostor. She sticks around hoping that John would find a way to love her or rather repay her feelings with a little attention, but his infatuation for Madeleine pushes Midge further away from him which is quite heartbreaking. This proves that love stories aren’t always happy as most people think. It makes people live in worlds of fantasy which they would have otherwise not been living if love did not exist. Conclusively, Hitchcock averts the cinematic notion that all movies containing romance have fascinating ends.

October 13, 2022

Movies Communication

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