AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Vertigo
Alternate Title: From Among The Dead
Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Dir)
Release Date:   28 May 1958
Premiere Information:   Premiere: San Francisco, CA, 9 May 1958; New York and Los Angeles openings: 28 May 1958
Production Date:   30 Sep--19 Dec 1957; addl seq and retakes early Jan--mid-Jan 1958
Duration (in mins):   120, 123-124 or 126-128
Duration (in feet):   11,491
Duration (in reels):   14
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Cast:   James Stewart (John "Scottie" Ferguson)  
    Kim Novak (Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton)  
    Barbara Bel Geddes (Midge Wood)  
    Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster)  
    Henry Jones (Official)  
    Raymond Bailey (Doctor)  
    Ellen Corby (Manageress)  
    Konstantin Shayne (Pop Leibel)  
    Lee Patrick (Older mistaken identity)  
    Alfred Hitchcock (Man walking past shipyard)  
    Paul Bryar (Capt. Hansen)  
    Margaret Brayton (Saleswoman)  
    William Remick (Jury foreman)  
    Julian Petruzzi (Flower vendor)  
    Sara Taft (Nun)  
    Margaret Bacon (Nun)  
    Catherine Howard (Nun)  
    Fred Graham (Policeman)  
    Mollie Dodd (Beauty salon operator)  
    Don Giovanni (Salesman)  
    John Benson (Salesman)  
    Roxann Delmar (Model)  
    Bruno Santina (Waiter)  
    Dori Simmons (Middle-aged mistaken identity)  
    Nina Shipman (Young mistaken identity)  
    Ezelle Poule (Older mistaken identity)  
    Ed Stevlingson (Attorney)  
    Joanne Genthon (Woman in portrait)  
    Roland Gotti (Maitre d')  
    Victor Gotti (Man at Ernie's)  
    Carlo Dotto (Bartender)  
    Jack Richardson (Male escort)  
    June Jocelyn (Miss Woods)  
    Miliza Milo (Saleswoman)  
    Buck Harrington (Gateman)  
    Bert Scully (Art gallery attendant)  
    Steve Conte (Burglar)  
    Lyle Moraine (Patron)  
    Kathy Reed (Patron)  
    David Ahdar (Priest)  
    Bess Flowers (Diner at Ernie's)  

Summary: San Francisco police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson is forced to retire after he is involved in a rooftop chase and his acrophobia and accompanying vertigo leads to the death of a fellow officer. Although Scottie hopes to overcome his phobia, his longtime friend, Midge Wood, an artist who is in love with him, cautions him that only a severe emotional shock might snap him out of it. One day, Scottie tells Midge that he has been contacted by Gavin Elster, an old college friend. Scottie meets with Elster at his office near the waterfront, where Elster oversees a shipbuilding business. Elster informs Scottie that he is worried about his young, blonde wife Madeleine, whose rich family built the business that Elster runs. Scottie is baffled by Elster’s claims that Madeleine has been having blackouts and seems to be possessed by someone from the past. Although Scottie is reluctant to become involved, Elster convinces him that he needs a friend to observe Madeleine before he commits her to a mental institution. That night, Scottie goes to Ernie’s, a popular restaurant, so that he can see Madeleine for the first time as she dines with her husband. Scottie is awed by Madeleine’s beauty and the next morning, follows her as she leaves home and goes to a flower shop to buy a nosegay. Seeming to be in a trance, Madeleine then goes to the cemetery of the old Mission Dolores and stands before a grave. After Madeleine departs, Scottie reads the gravestone, which belongs to Carlotta Valdes, who died in 1857 at the age of 26, the same age as Madeleine. Scottie then follows Madeleine to the Palace of the Legion of Honor art gallery and watches as she sits motionless in front of a portrait of a young woman. Scottie is stunned to see that the nosegay Madeleine carries is an exact duplicate of the one in the portrait, and that she even wears the same hairstyle as the painting’s subject. Upon learning that the painting is called “Portrait of Carlotta,” Scottie follows Madeleine as she drives to the McKittrick Hotel, where she enters a room on the second floor. The landlady, who knows Madeleine as Carlotta Valdes, tells Scottie that “Carlotta” comes to the hotel for a few hours several times a week. When Scottie searches the room, however, Madeleine has disappeared. Scottie then goes to Midge’s and when he asks about sources of information about old San Francisco, she takes him to see bookstore owner Pop Leibel. Pop relates that Carlotta was a young beauty, reared in an old mission and romanced by a rich, older man who built a mansion for her. After their child was born, however, the man took the child and deserted Carlotta, who went mad and committed suicide. Scottie is intrigued when Pop states that Carlotta’s mansion eventually became the McKittrick Hotel. The next day, Scottie tells Elster of his findings, and Elster confesses that he knew about Carlotta but did not tell Scottie in order not to prejudice him. Elster reveals that Carlotta was Madeleine’s great-grandmother, but when Scottie declares that it would be natural for Madeleine to become obsessed with her ancestor, Elster asserts that while Madeleine’s mother told him the truth, she never told Madeleine for fear of upsetting her with the knowledge of insanity in their family. Elster insists that Madeleine, who owns several pieces of Carlotta’s jewelry, including the distinctive necklace she wore while sitting for her portrait, has become possessed by Carlotta. Later, Scottie again follows Madeleine, with whom he has become obsessed, as she goes to the museum and then to Fort Point underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. When Madeleine suddenly throws herself into the water, Scottie jumps in and rescues her. Scottie takes the unconscious Madeleine to his apartment to recover and when she awakens, she claims to have no memory of the incident, although she does recall being at Fort Point. When Scottie then asks her if she has ever been to the art gallery containing Carlotta’s portrait, she states that she has not, confirming Elster’s assertion that she does not remember her wanderings to places connected to Carlotta. Their conversation is interrupted by a phone call from Elster, and while Scottie updates him on Madeleine’s condition, Madeleine departs. The following day, Scottie is tailing Madeleine when she comes to his apartment to leave him a note. Scottie suggests that they take a drive, and they go to a Sequoia forest, where they discuss the ephemeral nature of time and memory. As Scottie presses her about why she jumped into the bay, and about “where” and “when” she currently is, Madeleine relates that she feels like she is walking down a long corridor, covered with mirrored fragments that reflect a life not her own, yet familiar. When Scottie continues to question her, Madeleine reveals her fear that she is insane and will die soon. Scottie embraces her and assures her that he will never let her go, and their relationship is sealed with a passionate kiss. Sometime later, Madeleine awakens Scottie late one night, telling him that she had a recurring nightmare about an old Spanish church. Scottie recognizes her description of the area as nearby San Juan Bautista, an old, Spanish mission that has been preserved as it was one hundred years ago, but Madeleine insists that she has never been there. That afternoon, Scottie takes her there to reassure her that it is a real place and that she has nothing to fear from it. In the livery stable, Madeleine describes having lived at the mission, as if recalling Carlotta’s memories of her youth, and Scottie tries to reason with her, showing her things that she might have once seen and become confused about. After sharing another passionate kiss with Scottie, Madeleine runs off, crying that although she loves him, there is something she must do, and that it is too late for them. Scottie follows her as she races up into the church’s bell tower, but as he climbs the stairs, begins to suffer from vertigo. Madeleine reaches the top of the tower before Scottie, and as he looks through a window, sees her fall to the roof of the church below. Devastated, Scottie leaves the scene. Soon after, at the coroner’s inquest, Madeleine’s death is ruled a suicide, although the official lambasts Scottie’s lack of action. Elster consoles Scottie, asserting that it was his fault for getting Scottie involved, and tells him that he is moving to Europe. After having a terrifying nightmare about Madeleine’s death, Scottie suffers a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized for a year. Upon his release, Scottie sees women resembling Madeleine everywhere he goes until one day, he sees a redheaded woman who looks so strongly like Madeleine that he follows her to her room in a cheap hotel. There, the woman, whose name is Judy Barton, believes that Scottie is trying to pick her up, but when he confesses that she reminds him of someone he once loved, she softens and agrees to dine with him that evening. After Scottie departs, however, Judy begins to pack, then writes a letter to Scottie, confessing that Elster concocted a scheme to kill his wife and make Scottie a dupe to cover his crime. As Judy writes, she recalls how Elster transformed her, his mistress, into a sophisticated double of the real Madeleine, then employed Scottie to follow her, and as they hoped, Scottie fell in love with her. Judy had not planned on reciprocating his love, however, and was distressed upon having to betray him by running to the bell tower, from which Elster threw the already dead body of his wife. Deciding that she wants to make Scottie love her as herself, not as Madeleine, Judy destroys the letter. After dinner, Scottie begs to spend more time with her and Judy consents, although as the days pass, she is unnerved by his attempts to transform her into Madeleine by buying her similar clothes and having her hair dyed platinum blonde. Desperate to regain his affection, however, Judy goes along with his efforts until she looks just as she did when she was impersonating Madeleine. His dream of resurrecting Madeleine achieved, Scottie kisses Judy deeply, recalling the last time that he kissed Madeleine before her death. As they prepare to go out, however, Judy unthinkingly dons Carlotta’s necklace, and Scottie deduces Elster’s scheme, and Judy’s part in it. Scottie drives the nervous Judy to San Juan Bautista and there forces her to climb the bell tower, stating that this is his “second chance.” As they climb, Scottie realizes that he no longer suffers from vertigo, and Judy confesses to her part in the crime, revealing that Elster discarded her after his wife’s death. Alternately calling her Madeleine and Judy, Scottie tells her how much he loved her, and Judy responds that they can begin again, with her transformation back into Madeleine as proof of her love for him. Just then, a nun comes into the tower and her footsteps frighten Judy, who steps back and fall to her death on the roof below. Shattered, Scottie looks down at her body. 

Production Company: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc.  
  Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Dir)
  Daniel McCauley (Asst dir/[2d unit dir])
  Herbert Coleman (2d unit dir)
  Edward Haldeman (Asst dir)
  Frank Kies (Loc asst dir)
  Clem Jones (Loc asst dir)
  Ed Morey Jr. (Loc asst dir)
  C. C. Coleman (Loc asst dir)
  Ralph Axness (2d asst dir)
  Cy Brooskin (2d asst dir)
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock (Prod)
  Herbert Coleman (Assoc prod)
Writer: Alec Coppel (Scr)
  Samuel Taylor (Scr)
  Maxwell Anderson (Contr wrt)
Photography: Robert Burks (Dir of photog)
  Irmin Roberts (2d unit cam)
  Leonard South (Cam op)
  James Knott (Cam op)
  Paul Waddell (Asst cam)
  Ed Wahrman (Asst cam)
  Mike Joyce (Asst cam)
  Kenneth Meade (Loc asst cam)
  James Hawley (Loc asst cam)
  Paul Uhl (Cam asst)
  Earl Canter (Cam asst)
  John Friedman (Cam asst)
  Gus Ryden (Cam asst)
  Adolph Froelich (Best boy)
  Darrell Turnmire (Company grip)
  Walter Newman (Grip)
  John Nostri (Grip)
  H. Parsley (Grip)
  Victor Jones (Gaffer)
  Earl Crowell (Elec)
  Warren Hoag (Elec)
  F. Steiner (Elec)
  Lon Massey (Elec)
  Robert Coburn Jr. (Stills)
  G. E. Richardson (Stills)
Art Direction: Hal Pereira (Art dir)
  Henry Bumstead (Art dir)
Film Editor: George Tomasini (Ed)
Set Decoration: Sam Comer (Set dec)
  Frank McKelvy (Set dec)
  Manlio Sarra (Portrait of Carlotta by)
  Martin Pendleton (Props)
  Lee Vasque (Props)
  James Cottrell (Asst props)
  Dominic Mautino (Standby painter)
  Fred Simpfenderfer (Nurseryman)
Costumes: Edith Head (Cost)
  Dario Piazza (Ward man)
  Leonard Harris (Ward man)
  Roselle Novella (Ward woman)
Music: Bernard Herrmann (Mus)
  Muir Mathieson (Cond)
  Leon Birnbaum (Mus ed)
Sound: Harold Lewis (Sd rec)
  Winston Leverett (Sd rec)
  Jim Miller (Sd rec)
  Bud Parman (Sd boom man)
  Nick Gerilomates (Sd cableman)
  Hayden Hohstadt (Mike grip)
  Bert Van Volkenburg (Sd battery man)
Special Effects: John Ferren (Spec seq)
  John P. Fulton (Spec photog eff)
  Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
  Wallace Kelley (Process photog)
  Saul Bass (Titles des)
  John H. Whitney (Titles drawings)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup supv)
  Harry Ray (Makeup)
  Benny Lane (Kim Novak's makeup)
  Nellie Manley (Hair style supv)
  Lenore Weaver (Hairdresser)
  Florence Avery (Hairdresser)
  Hazel Keats (Hairdresser)
  Peggy Thomas (Hairdresser)
Production Misc: Frank Caffey (Prod mgr)
  C. O. "Doc" Erickson (Unit prod mgr)
  Andy Durkus (Unit prod mgr)
  Don Robb (Loc unit prod mgr)
  Curtis Mick (Asst prod mgr)
  Bert McKay (Unit casting dir)
  Olive Long (Casting dir secy)
  Dolores Stockton (Herbert Coleman's secy)
  Dr. A. Vincent Gerty (Tech adv)
  Luddie Laine (Dial coach)
  Peggy Robertson (Scr supv)
  Connie Willis (Loc scr supv)
  Anita Speer (2d unit scr supv)
  Kathleen Fagan (2d unit scr supv)
  Art Sarno (Pub)
  Bill Gray (Auditor)
  Frank Kies (Loc auditor)
  Al Peterson (Craft service)
Stand In: Jean Corbett (Double for Kim Novak)
  Fred Perce (Double for James Stewart)
  Diane Cummings (Photo double/Stand-in)
  Ted Mapes (Stunts)
Color Personnel: Richard Mueller (Technicolor col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel D'entre les morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (Paris, 1954).
Authors: Pierre Boileau
  Thomas Narcejac

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc. & Paramount Pictures Corp. 9/5/1958 dd/mm/yyyy LP10837

PCA NO: 18867
Physical Properties: Sd: Westrex Recording System
  col: Technicolor
  Widescreen/ratio: VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity

 
Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: Suspense
 
Subjects (Major): Betrayal
  Impersonation and imposture
  Murder
  Romantic obsession
  San Francisco (CA)
  Spirit possession
  Vertigo
 
Subjects (Minor): Artists
  Beauty, Personal
  Businessmen
  Confession
  Falls from heights
  Fear
  Flowers
  Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA)
  Graves
  Guilt
  Inquests
  Memory
  Mission Dolores (CA)
  Museums
  Necklaces
  Nervous breakdown
  Nightmares
  Phobias
  Police detectives
  Portraits (Paintings)
  Private detectives
  Rescues
  Retirement
  San Juan Bautista Mission (CA)
  Suicide
  Transformation
  Unrequited love

Note: Among the many working titles of this film were From Amongst the Dead , From Among the Dead , From the Dead , Among the Dead , Confessions on Tower and Darkling I Listen . According to information contained in the Paramount Production Records and the Alfred Hitchcock Collection, both located at the AMPAS Library, Paramount officials were nervous about producer-director Alfred Hitchcock’s final choice of the title Vertigo , as they feared that potential moviegoers would not know what it meant. The studio finally agreed to use the title Vertigo with the stipulation that the advertising department would use unique art, and that Hitchcock’s name would be featured as prominently as the film’s title.
       The film’s unusual and prize-winning opening titles, created by Saul Bass, begin with the Paramount logo, seen in black-and-white, then move to the image of a woman’s face. As the credits begin and the image gradually becomes color, the camera zooms in on her eye and a series of swirling Lissajous spirals (invented by a nineteenth-century French mathematician), animated by artist John H. Whitney, appear in a series of different colors. At the end of the opening credits, the camera appears to zoom back out so that the woman’s eye is again seen, with the words “directed by Alfred Hitchcock” coming out of her eye.
       Several major differences occur between the film and the book, which is set in Paris just before and after World War II. In the book, the detective, Roger Flavières, really believes that “Madeleine” is the reincarnation of her ancestor and that “Renée Sourange” [Judy Barton] is the reincarnation of Madeleine. At the end of the novel, when Renée confesses her part in the crime to kill her lover’s wife, Flavières strangles her to death. Neither the detective nor the reader learns of the scheme to commit the murder until the very end of the novel. Also, in the book, Gévigne, Madeleine’s husband and Renée’s lover, is killed during the war.
       Although only Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor receive onscreen credit for the film’s screenplay, studio records report that Maxwell Anderson worked on the script from Jun 1956 to Feb 1957. Angus McPhail was signed to work on the screenplay in Sep 1956, but his contract was canceled “due to illness.” Although studio records indicate that McPhail did not complete any work on Vertigo , some modern sources assert that he did turn in a brief outline, including the critical opening scene in which Scottie attempts to save a fellow police officer and fails. According to scripts in the Alfred Hitchcock Collection, however, Coppel wrote the rooftop chase sequence, which was not in the original novel. A 22 Feb 1957 partial screenplay by Taylor, entitled From the Dead or There’ll Never Be Another You , included, as a joke, the name of noted satirist Ambrose Bierce (1842—1914) as the co-author. The studio records add that Hitchcock also did considerable work on the film’s screenplay. The Paramount Collection contains information that Coppel had to petition the Writers Guild to secure his onscreen credit, because Taylor attempted to obtain sole credit.
       On 11 Jul 1956, HR ’s “Rambling Reporter” column stated that Hitchcock originally wanted to cast Lana Turner as “Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton,” but she “wanted too much loot” and was dropped from consideration. Vera Miles was then cast in the part, but after the production was delayed a number of times for various reasons, including two emergency gastronomical operations needed by Hitchcock, she became pregnant and had to give up the role. A handwritten note from associate producer Herbert Coleman, included in studio records, indicates that Jean Wallace may have been under consideration for the part. In mid-Nov 1956, “Rambling Reporter” announced that Joseph Cotten and Lee J. Cobb were “neck-and-neck” for the role of “Gavin Elster,” and a modern source reports that Everett Sloane was also under consideration for the role.
       Kim Novak was borrowed from Columbia for the production, in exchange for a payment of $250,000 by Paramount to Columbia and the agreement that James Stewart would co-star with her in the 1958 Columbia release Bell, Book and Candle . Novak resented how much her home studio was profiting from her loanout, according to modern sources, and refused to show up for the beginning of filming of Vertigo . After Novak’s salary was re-negotiated to her satisfaction, production finally began. Location shooting featuring the principal actors began on 30 Sep 1957, with several second units shooting location footage both before and after principal photography.
       When DV first reported the purchase of Thomas Narcejac and Pierre Boileau’s novel for Hitchcock in Oct 1955, it was announced that “much of the filming will be done on location in Louisiana.” Vertigo became famous for its use of San Francisco locations, however, and tours of the areas in which the film was shot are still conducted. Studio records list various buildings in San Francisco, Mission Dolores, San Juan Bautista Mission, the Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Watsonville, CA as being among the locations used. Although Ernie’s, a famed San Francisco restaurant, was especially chosen by Hitchcock for its evocative atmosphere, no filming was done in the actual restaurant; instead, both the exterior and the entire interior, with its signature red-flocked walls, were reproduced at Paramount Studios. According to studio press releases, Roland and Victor Gotti, the co-owners of Ernie’s, and maître d’ Carlo Dotto were flown down from San Francisco to appear in the sequence during which “John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson” sees Madeleine for the first time.
       The interior of the famed San Francisco department store Ransohoff’s was also recreated on the Paramount lot. As pointed out by contemporary studio records and modern sources, the actual San Juan Bautista Mission does not have a bell tower. According to a 31 Mar 1958 studio memo, the bell tower “was painted in
on glass for the exterior shots [of already shot footage of the existing mission] and the interior of the Tower was built on the set.” A Jul 1982 article in San Francisco magazine reported that the tower mock-up was seventy feet tall.
       According to studio records, Italian artist Manlio Sarra painted the “Portrait of Carlotta” used in the film. Photographs of actress Joanne Genthon were sent to Sarra with specific instructions as to how her hair and attire should be depicted, so that they could be duplicated for the appearance of Madeleine. Sarra painted the portrait from transparencies of the photographs of Genthon. [Although studio records indicate that Jacqueline Beer may have played “Carlotta” during the nightmare sequence in which Scottie briefly sees Carlotta at the inquest, other sources report that it was Genthon.] One modern source claims that John Ferren painted the portrait of Carlotta. An early version of the portrait, in which Vera Miles posed as Carlotta, was prepared before she dropped out of the film, but it has not been determined by whom it was painted.
       Ferren, who had worked with Hitchcock on the 1956 film The Trouble with Harry (see above), helped to design the nightmare sequence. In the sequence, Scottie’s disorientation, terror and guilt are enhanced by a distinctive use of color, as are the disturbing images of him falling down into an empty grave and from the mission bell tower. According to studio papers, Hitchcock specifically ordered that Ferren’s onscreen credit read “Special Sequence by,” in order not to give away the nature of the sequence. In the 1983 theatrical re-issue, however, the credit was changed to “Dream Sequence Designed by.” As described by modern sources, the “vertigo effect” was achieved by building a one-tenth scale model of the interior staircase of the bell tower, laying it on its side and having the camera zoom in on the stairs as it physically tracked backward. The famous “360-degree kiss” between Scottie and Judy in Judy’s hotel room was filmed by putting the actors on a turntable, with specially shot transparencies rear-projected and revolving around them.
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA responded to a Jul 1957 screenplay from Paramount with concerns about the implied illicit relationship between Scottie and Judy, and asserted: “It will, of course, be most important that the indication that Elster will be brought back for trial is sufficiently emphasized.” A “coda” was written in which, shortly after Judy falls to her death, “Midge Wood” hears on the radio that Elster is about to be arrested for his wife’s murder. After Midge turns off the radio, Scottie enters and she silently fixes him a drink. Although the footage was deleted by Hitchcock after his first viewing of the rough cut, and was not included in the original 1958 picture, it was included in 1990s laser disc and DVD releases of the picture. According to an Oct 1996 SF Weekly article, San Francisco radio personality Dave McElhatton originally supplied the voice of the radio announcer, but when the footage was included as supplementary material, his voice was replaced by the restoration team (see below) “in order to minimize” the importance of the scene.
       Some modern sources state that initially Hitchcock included voice-over narration by Scottie, but then dropped it, and point out that the “flashback sequence,” in which Judy reveals, via her letter, her participation in Elster’s murder of his wife, was a major source of contention for Hitchcock. After the film’s first preview in early May 1958, Hitchcock decided to delete the scene and five hundred prints of the picture without the scene were prepared and shipped to exhibitors, but Barney Balaban, head of Paramount, insisted that the sequence be reinstated, which it was before its release.
       Because of a musicians’ strike in Hollywood, composer Bernard Herrmann could not conduct the score he had written, as he usually did. According to both contemporary news items and modern sources, part of the score was recorded in London by the London Symphony, until the English Musicians' Union decided to support the American studio musicians' strike and refused to continue. The rest of the score was then recorded in Vienna. Muir Mathieson was the conductor both in London and Vienna. According to a Jun 1958 HR news item, the film’s exhibition in Los Angeles was picketed by the still-striking musicians, who were protesting it having been scored overseas.
       Herrmann’s score for Vertigo , along with his music for Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho , is considered to be his finest work by modern scholars. Because of legal prohibitions against using the Vienna-recorded music, contemporary soundtrack albums from Vertigo featured only the music recorded in London, and it was not until 1996, when a newly recorded version of Herrmann’s score, played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, was released that the entire score was available. Studio records indicate that Jay Livingston and Ray Evans were paid for a title song for the film, which modern sources report was commissioned by Paramount in an effort to explain the word vertigo. The song was not used in the film, however. According to contemporary news items, Paramount hosted an elaborate, two-day press preview of the film in early May 1958 in San Francisco. One hundred journalists were flown to San Francisco from around the country to attend the preview, a banquet and tours of the filming locations used in the city.
       The film received mixed reviews upon its initial release, with many trade paper reviewers praising it extensively, especially its use of color, locations and music, but other reviewers finding themselves unsettled by the unusual mystery and love story. Although Bosley Crowther of NYT called the film “devilishly farfetched,” he also carefully revealed only a few details of the plot in order not to disturb moviegoers’ “inevitable enjoyment” of it. Numerous other reviewers also noted that it would be unfair to reveal the picture’s ending. Pronouncing Vertigo “one of the most fascinating love stories ever filmed,” the HR critic deemed that it was “a picture no filmaker [sic] should miss—if only to observe the pioneering techniques achieved by Hitchcock and his co-workers.” Time , on the other hand, famously referred to the film as “another Hitchcock-and-bull story,” while the New Yorker opined that the director had “never before indulged in such farfetched nonsense.” MPHPD predicted that the film would be “an odds on bet” in the “blockbuster sweepstakes,” but while it was not a flop, neither did it perform notably well at the box office. The picture had its first theatrical rerelease in 1963.
       Modern sources add Isabel Analla and Jack Ano to the cast, and note that Polly Burson served as Novak’s stunt double for the scenes in which she jumped into the San Francisco bay and from the bell tower. Hitchcock makes his customary cameo by walking past Elster’s shipbuilding office just before Scottie enters. Vertigo marked the fourth and final film collaboration between Hitchcock and Stewart.
       Vertigo received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Sound, and Hitchcock received a DGA nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. In 2007, Vertigo was ranked 9th on AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, moving up from the 61st position it held on AFI's 1997 list. The picture also was listed on both AFI’s 100 Most Heart-Pounding Movies list and the 100 Greatest Love Stories. In 1989, Vertigo was added to the National Film Registry and in 1996, was named the Most Distinguished Reissue by the New York Film Critics Circle.
       As with five other films directed by Hitchcock and released by either Warner Bros. or Paramount ( Rope , Rear Window , The Trouble with Harry , the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much and Psycho , see entries above), the rights to Vertigo reverted completely to Hitchcock eight years after its initial release. Hitchcock sold the rights to Psycho to Universal but kept the other films, which were rarely screened during the 1970s and 1980s. Some modern sources have speculated that Hitchcock deliberately withheld them from exhibition in order to increase their value, while others state that Vertigo in particular was such a personal project for the director that he did not want it shown anymore. After Hitchcock’s death in 1980, litigation held up the distribution of the pictures until 1983, when all five films were leased from the Hitchcock estate and released as a package by Universal Classics. Although the 1983-84 releases occasionally featured newly struck prints, they were made from the existing, deteriorating negatives. In 1993, LAT reported that the theatrical and video re-releases of the films had earned Universal approximately fifty million dollars, thirty percent of which went to the Hitchcock estate, overseen by Hitchcock’s daughter Pat.
       In the early 1990s, James C. Katz, former head of the by-then defunct Universal Classics, along with producer and film historian Robert A. Harris, began restoring Vertigo for Universal. Their efforts to find, clean, restore and digitize the various components of the film and create new negatives in 35mm and 65mm took approximately thirty-six months, according to a 22 Apr 1997 The Times (London) article. Their efforts resulted in film and sound elements being found in the U.S., Germany, Italy and Spain, according to other 1990s sources. The team was so determined to recreate the original film as closely as possible that they even obtained a sample of the original paint used for the green Jaguar driven by Madeleine in order to match its color. In interviews, Katz and Harris relayed that because the score and dialogue were remastered in digital stereo, the accompanying Foley track (ambient noises such as footsteps, bells, bird calls, etc.) had to be re-recorded, with a few additions to cover portions of the soundtrack that could not be restored to a pristine state. They were guided in recreating the sound effects track by Hitchcock’s dubbing notes from the 1950s, and also received help from associate producer Herbert Coleman.
       According to several interviews with Katz, although Vertigo was shot in VistaVision, it was “reduction-printed” to widescreen 35mm for exhibition, and therefore had never been shown in its proper format. Presented for the first time in Super VistaVision 70mm and DTS digital stereo, Vertigo was shown at exclusive engagements in eight U.S. cities in 1996-97, including as a special presentation at the New York Film Festival on 4 Oct 1996. Novak and Pat Hitchcock toured extensively with the preserved film to promote it, both in the U.S. and Great Britain. According to a 7 Oct 1996 New York article, the restoration cost more than $1,000,000, and other sources noted how successful the reissue was, both at the box office and with fans and critics. Subsequently, special video and DVD collector’s versions of the film were released, featuring the restored print. A thirty-minute documentary about the restoration, entitled “Obsessed with Vertigo ,” was broadcast on the American Movie Classics channel in 1997.
       Vertigo , which received lavish critical praise upon its 1983 and 1996 re-releases, is considered by many modern scholars to be Hitchcock’s “masterpiece,” and has influenced numerous filmmakers. The many pictures bearing a resemblance to Vertigo include productions as disparate as the 1961 French film Last Year at Marienbad , directed by Alain Resnais, the 1969 François Truffaut-directed The Mississippi Mermaid (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ), Brian De Palma’s 1976 Obsession , which featured a score by Herrmann, and the 1977 spoof of Hitchcock films, High Anxiety , directed by Mel Brooks. 

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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