Vertigo

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Only one is a wanderer. Two together are always going somewhere.

Vertigo is a 1958 film about a San Francisco detective and his psychological troubles with a fear of heights and an obsession over a woman.

Attracting significant scholarly criticism, it replaced Citizen Kane as the best film of all time in the 2012 British Film Institute's Sight & Sound critics' poll and has appeared repeatedly in best film polls by the American Film Institute, as well as being named in 2008 as the 40th greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine in its issue of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor, based on the novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac.
Alfred Hitchcock engulfs you in a whirlpool of terror and tension! Taglines

Detective John 'Scottie' Ferguson[edit]

If I could just find the key, the beginning and put it together...
  • Well, I think that explains it. Anyone could become obsessed with the past with a background like that!
  • You're gonna be all right now, Madeleine. Don't you see? You've given me something to work on now! I'm gonna take you down there to that mission this afternoon and when you see it, you'll remember when you saw it before, and it'll finish your dream. It will destroy it. I promise you. All right?

Gavin Elster[edit]

  • The things that spell San Francisco to me are disappearing fast ... I should have liked to have lived here then — color, excitement, power, freedom.
  • My wife Madeleine has several pieces of jewelry that belonged to Carlotta. She inherited them. Never wore them — they were too old-fashioned, until now. Now when she's alone, she takes them out and looks at them, handles them gently, curiously. Puts them on and stares at herself in the mirror. Then goes into that other world, is someone else again.
  • Sorry Scottie, that was rotten. He had no right to speak to you like that. It was my responsibility. I shouldn't have got you involved. No, there's nothing you have to say to me. I'm getting out Scottie, for good. I can't stay here. I'm going to wind up her affairs, and mine, and get away as far as I can. Europe perhaps. I probably never will come back. Goodbye, Scottie. If there's anything I can do for you before I go? There's no way for them to understand. You and I know who killed Madeleine.

Judy Barton[edit]

  • I heard that one before too. I remind you of someone you used to be madly in love with, but then she ditched ya for another guy. And you've been carrying the torch ever since. Then you saw me and something clicked.
  • [in a letter to Scottie] Dear Scottie: And so you found me. This is the moment that I've dreaded and hoped for, wondering what I would say and do if I ever saw you again. I wanted so to see you again just once. Now I'll go and you can give up your search. I want you to have peace of mind. You have nothing to blame yourself for. You were the victim. I was the tool, and you were the victim of Gavin Elster's plan to murder his wife. He chose me to play the part because I looked like her, dressed me up like her. He was quite safe because she lived in the country and rarely came to town. He chose you to be a witness to a suicide. Carlotta's story was part real, part invented to make you testify that Madeleine wanted to kill herself. He knew of your illness. He knew you'd never get up the stairs to the tower. He planned it so well. He made no mistakes. I made a mistake. I fell in love. That wasn't part of the plan. I'm still in love with you. And I want you so to love me. If I had the nerve, I'd stay and lie, hoping that I could make you love me again as I am, for myself, and so forget the other and forget the past. But I don't know whether I have the nerve to try.

Others[edit]

I made a mistake. I fell in love. That wasn't part of the plan.
  • Pop Leibel: Oh yes, I remember. Carlotta, beautiful Carlotta, sad...It (the McKittrick Hotel) was hers. It was built for her many years ago...by...the name I do not remember, a rich man, powerful man...It is not an unusual story. She came from somewhere small to the south of the city. Some say from a mission settlement. Young, yes, very young. And she was found dancing and singing in cabaret by that man. And he took her and built for her the great house in the Western Addition. And, uh, there was, there was a child, yes, that's it, a child, a child. I cannot tell you exactly how much time passed or how much happiness there was, but then he threw her away. He had no other children. His wife had no children. So, he kept the child and threw her away. You know, a man could do that in those days. They had the power and the freedom. And she became the sad Carlotta, alone in the great house, walking the streets alone, her clothes becoming old and patched and dirty. And the mad Carlotta, stopping people in the streets to ask, 'Where is my child?' 'Have you seen my child?' ...She died...by her own hand. There are many such stories.

Dialogue[edit]

Scottie: It's because of this fear of heights I have, this acrophobia. I wake up at night seeing that man fall from the roof and I try to reach out to him, it's just...
Midge: It wasn't your fault.
Scottie: I know. That's what everybody tells me.
Midge: Johnny, the doctors explained to you.
Scottie: I know. I know. I have acrophobia which gives me vertigo and I get dizzy. Boy, what a moment to find out I had it!
Midge: Well, you've got it and there's no losing it. And there's no one to blame, so why quit?
Scottie: You mean and sit behind a desk, chair-bound...
Midge: ...where you belong.
Scottie: What about my acrophobia? What about... Now, suppose, suppose I'm sitting in this chair behind a desk, here's the desk, and a pencil falls from the desk down to the floor, and I reach down to pick up the pencil - BINGO - my acrophobia's back.
Midge: [Laughing.] Oh, Johnny-O.

Elster: Is it a permanent, physical disability?
Scottie: No, no. It just means that I can't climb stairs that are too steep or go to high places like the bar at the Top of the Mark. But there are plenty of street-level bars in this town.

Elster: [regarding his wife] She'll be talking to me about something. Suddenly the words fade into silence. A cloud comes into her eyes and they go blank. She's somewhere else, away from me, someone I don't know. I call her, she doesn't even hear me. Then, with a long sigh, she's back. Looks at me brightly, doesn't even know she's been away, can't tell me where or when.
Scottie: How often does this happen?
Elster: More and more in the past few weeks. And she wanders - God knows where she wanders. I followed her one day, watched her coming out of the apartment, someone I didn't know. She even walked a different way. Got into her car and drove off to Golden Gate Park. Five miles. Sat by the lake, staring across the water at the pillars that stand on the far shore. You know, Portals of the Past. Sat there a long time without moving. I had to leave, get back to the office. When I got home that evening, I asked her what she'd done all day. She said she'd driven out to Golden Gate Park and sat by the lake, that's all.
Scottie: Well.
Elster: The speedometer on her car showed that she'd driven ninety-four miles. Where did she go? I've got to know, Scottie, where she goes and what she does before I get involved with doctors.

Scottie: Don't you think it's a waste, to wander separately?
Madeleine: Only one is a wanderer. Two together are always going somewhere.
Scottie: No, I don't think that's necessarily true.

Madeleine: Why did you run?
Scottie: Well, I'm responsible for you now. You know, the Chinese say that once you've saved a person's life, you're responsible for it forever. So, I'm committed. I have to know.
Madeleine: There's so little that I know.

Madeleine: There's a tower and a bell and a garden below. It seems to be in Spain, a village in Spain, it clicks off, it's gone.
Scottie: A portrait. Do you see a portrait?
Madeleine: No.
Scottie: If I could just find the key, the beginning and put it together...
Madeleine: ...to explain it away? There is a way to explain it you see. If I'm mad, that would explain it, wouldn't it?
...
Madeleine: Oh Scottie. I'm not mad. I'm not mad. I don't want to die. There's someone within me and she says I must die. Oh Scottie, don't let me go.
Scottie: I'm here. I've got you.
Madeleine: I'm so afraid. [They kiss] Don't leave me. Stay with me.
Scottie: All the time.

Madeleine: [describing her dream] It was so very clear for the first time, all of it...It was a village square in a green with trees and an old white-washed Spanish church with a cloister. Across the green, there was a big gray wooden house with a porch and shutters and a balcony above, a small garden, and next to it a livery stable with old carriages lined up inside...At the end of the green, there was a white-washed stone house with a lovely pepper tree at the corner...
Scottie: And an old wooden hotel from the old California days? And a saloon, dark, low ceilings, with hanging oil lamps?
Madeleine: Yes.
Scottie: It's all there. It's no dream. You've been there before. You've seen it.
Madeleine: No never!

Scottie: Madeleine, where are you now?
Madeleine: Here with you.
Scottie: And it's all real. It's not merely as it was 100 years ago, or a year ago, or six months ago, or whenever it was you were here to see it. Now, Madeleine, think of when you were here.

Scottie: I love you, Madeleine.
Madeleine: I love you too. It's too late.
Scottie: No, no, we're together.
Madeleine: It's too late, there's something I must do.
Scottie: No, there is nothing you must do. There is nothing you must do. No one possesses you. You're safe with me.
Madeleine: No, it's too late.
...
Madeleine: Look, it's not fair. It's too late. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. It shouldn't have happened.
Scottie: But it had to happen. We're in love. That's all that counts.
Madeleine: Look. Let me go. Please let me go.
Scottie: Listen to me. Listen to me.
Madeleine: You believe I love you?
Scottie: Yes.
Madeleine: And if you lose me, then you'll know I, I loved you. And I wanted to go on loving you.
Scottie: I won't lose you.

Judy: If... if I let you change it, will that do it? If I do what you tell me, will you love me?
Scottie: Yes. Yes.

Scottie: No, no, I have to tell you about Madeleine now. Right there, we stood there and I kissed her for the last time. And she said, 'If you lose me, you'll know that I loved you and wanted to keep on loving you.' And I said, 'I won't lose you.' But I did. And then she turned and ran into the church...and when I followed her, it was too late.
[Scottie pulls Judy into the church]
Judy: I don't want to go in there.
[They begin climbing the tower's steps]
Scottie: I couldn't find her. And then I heard footsteps on the stairs. She was running up to the tower. Right here. You see, she was running up the stairs and through the trap door at the top of the tower. And I tried to follow her, but I couldn't get to the top. I tried but I couldn't get to the top. One doesn't often get a second chance. I want to stop being haunted. You're my second chance, Judy. You're my second chance.
Judy: Take me away.
Scottie: You look like Madeleine now. Go up the stairs...Go up the stairs! Go up the stairs, Judy, and I'll follow. This was as far as I could get...but you went on, remember? The necklace Madeleine, that was the slip. I remember the necklace.

Judy: [about climbing to the top] You can't, you're afraid.
Scottie: Now we'll see. We'll see. This is my second chance. But you knew that day that I wouldn't be able to follow you, didn't you? Who was up there when you got up there? Elster and his wife?...Yes, and she was the one who died! The real wife, not you! You were the copy. You were the counterfeit, weren't you? Was she dead or alive when you got there?
Judy: Dead. He'd broken her neck.
Scottie: He'd broken her neck. He wasn't taking any chances was he? So when you got up there, he pushed her off the tower. But it was you that screamed. Why did you scream?
Judy: I wanted to stop it, Scottie, I ran to stop it, I..!
Scottie: You wanted to stop it..why did you scream, since you tricked me so well up to then? You played the wife very well, Judy. He made you over, didn't he? He made you over just like I made you over. Only better. Not only the clothes and the hair. But the looks and the manner and the words. And those beautiful phony trances. And you jumped into the Bay, didn't you? I'll bet you're a wonderful swimmer, aren't you? Aren't you? Aren't you? And then what did he do? Did he train you? Did he rehearse you? Did he tell you exactly what to do and what to say? You were a very apt pupil, too, weren't you? You were a very apt pupil. Why did you pick on me? Why me?
Judy: Your accident, your accident!
Scottie: The accident! I was the set-up. I was the set-up, wasn't I? I was a made-to-order witness.

Scottie: [after climbing the tower] I made it. I made it. And this is where it happened. The two of you hid back there and waited for it to clear, and then you sneaked out and rode back to town. Is that it? And Madeleine, you were his girl, eh? What happened, Judy? What happened? Did he ditch you? Oh Judy, with all of his wife's money and all that freedom and that power, and he ditched you. What a shame! When he knew it was safe, he knew you couldn't talk, did he give you anything?
Judy: Just some money.
Scottie: And the necklace. Carlotta's necklace. There was where you made your mistake, Judy. You shouldn't keep souvenirs of a killing. You shouldn't have been... You shouldn't have been that sentimental. I loved you so, Madeleine.
Judy: Scottie, I was safe when you found me. There was nothing that you could prove. When I saw you again, I couldn't run away. I loved you so. I walked into danger, let you change me because I loved you and I wanted you. Oh, Scottie, oh Scottie, please. You love me. Please keep me safe, please...
Scottie: It's too late. It's too late. There's no bringing her back.

Taglines[edit]

  • Alfred Hitchcock engulfs you in a whirlpool of terror and tension!
  • A mystery revised... A Master Remembered! (1996 Restored Film Premiere)

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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