Film Techniques In Vertigo

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Vertigo is a film I've seen multiple times since I was a kid, and on different formats: black and white commercial television, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. Each time I see it, it means something different to me or I notice something new about it. It's a film that functions on several levels. On the surface, it's a mystery and suspense story of an ordinary man who is deceived into acting as an accomplice to a murder. It also functions on a psychological level, in that it details the main character's obsession and guilt. The film tells the story of Scotty, who is a San Francisco detective who nearly falls to his death during a rooftop chase of a criminal. During the incident, he witnesses a police officer who is assisting him fall to his death. The…show more content…
The clothes effectively show how clothes serve to shape the identities of the characters. Scotty is dressed in drab, plain, dark colors. Madeline's costumes are shown to portray her as sophisticated and classy, whereas Judy's clothing evokes someone who is cheap and street wise. Music is used prominently in Vertigo, most obviously to emphasize suspense or as a signal for something dreadful. The music is romantic and sweeping when Scotty and Madeline are together and in love and violent and loud when Madeline commits suicide. The most effective use of music in the film is when it's used to punctuate or indicate shock or fear, such as when Scotty suffers from a vertigo episode. James Stewart who plays Scotty, displays various emotions; obsessive, guilty and broken. He's in almost every scene and gives one of his best performances. Kim Novak plays Madeline/Judy, and to me it's the films best performance. The best evidence of this is the scene early in the film when after attempting to drown herself Madeline becomes unconscious and Scotty takes her home so she can recover. When she comes to and walks out of his bedroom in a robe, she realizes that Scotty undressed her and she seems to be embarrassed. However, when you watch the film a second time, you realize that her character was pretending that she was unconscious and was pretending to be embarrassed. Kim Novak's character was manipulative

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