Tonya: ** VERTIGO remake?!: In a recent set interview for SKELETON KEY, Kate Hudson confirmed that "My production company is trying to develop a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO ". (thanks to DarkHorizons.com).
A Vertigo remake might work if Tsai Ming Liang directed it (or Wong Kar Wai, as David might prefer), with Michelle Yeoh as Novak and Tony Leung Stewart. Kate Hudson can do their makeup and fetch the bottled water.
ted fontenot: To get back to Vertigo for a second.
Saying that Vertigo is about obsession is both undeniable and inadequate. This makes it seem to be not much more than the artistic enactment of a clinical case study. Obsession is the effect of Scottie Ferguson’s real tragedy, a tragedy of an existential nature which we all succumb to, to our pain and detriment. Which is, that of not knowing, to one degree or another, what is real and what is not. Because he wants to know, has to know, he becomes obsessed. It was once a hoary axiom, one not to be deviated from, at least in theory, that tragedy could only happen to a "superior" person. The protagonist had to fall from something. A “groundling” had no place further down to go. It was left to Hitchcock to show an ordinary man’s tragedy (and he isn’t a paper “common” man like more ideologically minded artists might insist he be) could have the depth and dimension of a “nobler” figure. And although we may not all be Hamlets or MacBeths, we are all most definitely Scottie Fergusons. I think that may be why it was a commercial and critical failure when it first came out.
Hitchcock seduces us just as surely as he shows us how Scottie was seduced. We may be able to blow off the tragedy of man lusting after his mother who married the man who killed his father the king whose death he must avenge (when stated like that, we know it’s not the tragedy of an ordinary man). If only to some slight degree so that it doesn't affect us as hard. We can?t do that with Scottie Ferguson. The most powerful effect of Vertigo is that moment when we realize we can?t distance ourselves, we can?t ?otherize? Scottie?s tragedy. That?s when we, too, mesmerized, fear falling. There may be lines of dialogue in movies that more sadly resonate than Stewart?s intensely and transparently felt, ?I loved you so, Madeline? at the end after all becomes revealed (and it doesn?t matter). If so, please quote them to me. Madeline never ever existed, except in his mind, but to him that woman is more real than the more carnal Judy who sacrifices her freedom, then her life, for him.
Great post on Vertigo, ted; I'll remember to steal from that once in a while.
Might add that there is a moment of reality, of truth and the possibility of real love, when they confront each other up in that tower, and all lies and pretenses are stripped away.
And then, of course, the movie ends.
I keep remembering my friend's reaction to that ending in a theater: he stood up and yelled "WHAT? THAT'S IT?" and wouldn't sit down. It' not just Stewart that's left off-balanced; we all are.
ted fontenot: That's funny. Funny odd. When Vertigo was first released and came to my little hometown, I guess I was 11, and I remember when the movie ended, as it ended and the lights in the theater came on, this guy stood up and said in shocked and incredulous tones: " That can't be the end."
"Here I was born, and here I died." I am not entirely convinced, as I may have been once, that Scottie both sees and accepts reality. That "I loved you so, Madeline" is chilling. Tom Block, I have to admit, in one of our many hail-fellow-well-met brandy and cigars tete a tetes, convinced me of the rich ambiguity of the ending, and that probably the movie ends only a few moments before Stewart follows Judy down. I'm always struck by the positioning of Stewart's arms in that last scene as he walks out onto the ledge. They subtly suggest the way they were represented in his freefall in the nightmare sequence.
Anyway, thanks for the kind words, everyone.
And the rest was fantasy--maybe a fantasy of Scotty attaining true love and losing it for the last time (when the reality is that Judy is leading him to the padded wagon waiting below)? That's an intriguing thought. The simplest explanation of what happens next is, of course, that Scotty jumps (which might explain that odd positioning of the hands you mentioned (yeah, I noticed it too)--he's anticipating going into freefall again). Knowing that there's a possible sideslip into another ending makes the movie all the more fascinating, of course.
Tonya: I'm glad you pointed out that possibility of the "pre-ending" of the film, Ted. Certainly makes sense that it could have been either; jumping or being carted away to the padded cell. Though, I don't think if you read it that way, Scotty would have wanted to survive without Madeline/Judy.
Being stuck with commoner judy or with Madeline having never existed, maybe suicide or the funny farm were his only options...