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Hitchcock's Vertigo

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Shelby Kay-Fantozzi

on 11 June 2013

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Transcript of Hitchcock's Vertigo

The majority of the lighting is three point
Three point lighting consiss of a key, fill and backlight.
Three point lighting used to soften the shadows and contrast while adding brightness and texture to the performer's faces

Set Design
Alfred Hitchcock
Auteur Cinema

John "Scotty" Ferguson is a detective who retired after a traumatic incident where his partner fell to his death

Gavin Elster hires Scotty to investigate his wife Madeleine, who he believes to be possessed

Scotty becomes obsessed with “Madeleine,” who appears to fall to her death

Through his subsequent obsession with her hired body double Judy, Scotty discovers Gavin's twisted plot to kill his wife
Scotty follows Madeleine
Madeleine attempts suicide
Madeleine is killed
Judy falls off tower
Madeleine breaks down
Scotty transforms Judy
Scotty & Madeleine fall in love
Judy reveals
her past
Scotty rescues Madeleine
Scotty breaks down
suspense and terror

The Pervert's Guide and Feminist Critique
Scotty's knowledge of Judy's secret identity

Madeleine's death
Judy's part in Madeleine's death

Judy's death
Laura Mulvey
Slavoj Žižek
Camera as voyeuristic eye: presents male gaze

Hitchcock makes use of the iconic imagery of the blonde BUT his blondes are not natural or innocent, but instead cosmetic, artificial, thus revealing the constructedness of femininity

This artificial appearance—highlighted by Judy’s makeover sequence—creates a façade that conceals a darker truth

Scottie’s fetishistic investment in the façade is fatal for both characters
Lavished set designs
Elaborate color schemes
Layouts designed with near perfect symmetry
Various geometric shapes
High-key studio style lighting
Also unorthodox approaches to lighting
Lighting is expressive and intentionally unnatural
Contrast / shadow / more rigid lighting utilized in certain outdoor sequences
Backlighting sometimes used to create silhouette effect
Vertigo: a story about two people who get caught in their own game of appearances

Scotty's ideal woman is more real than Madeleine or Judy herself

Scotty fills Judy with his necrophiliac fantasy of Madeleine through a brutal makeover (mortification)

Male libidinal economy: "the only good woman is a dead woman"
Full transcript