Worksheet 8 -- Vertigo - Worksheet 8 Film History Professor...

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Unformatted text preview: Worksheet 8 - Film History Professor Rohdie (UCF) At the opening of Vertigo is the chase at night by the uniformed policeman and Scottie of the eeing criminal across the rooftops of buildings in San Francisco followed by the fall of Scottie suspended above the building hanging on to its guttering and then the policeman, returning to rescue Scottie, falling to his death. The ‘reality’ of the one scene (the chase) is derailed by the ‘reality’ occuring within it of another (the slip, the fall) which in turn becomes (for Scottie), a fear of heights (vertigo), a feeling of guilt (Scottie blames himself) and a transference (Scot- tie identi es with the policeman who died and with his death ie vertigo, guilt and even a cer- tain voyeurism of identi cation come together). This scene in turn is ‘like’ (as if in a mirror, a pure re ection though in reverse) of Scottie’s relation to Judy/Madeleine/Carlotta and by ex- tension to Kim Novak who moves in and outside the lm as multiple characters and as one who ‘acts’, that is Judy’s performance as Madeleine opens up the question of Novak’s perform- ance as the false Madeleine and then as the ‘true’ Judy. What occurs at the opening re-occurs in other instances throughout the lm, the metamor- phosis of one thing into another then back again: realities into images, events into emotions, duplications and shifts of identities, imitations of appearances, the past in the present, the pursuit of chimeras (of things that do not in fact exist), the constant play of objectivity and subjectivity until the subjective becomes the objective and the ctional the only reality. Thus, as di erent spaces and di erent events (in reality) become likenesses of each other, they si- multaneously give depth to the lm (scenes thicken, events congeal, characters merge), give it a musicality (events rhyme, resonate, become variations of each other, a dominant becomes a minor, a minor a dominant, the transfer, for example, of Madeleine for Midge and then Madeleine for Judy and then Judy back to Madeleine and in the midst of these the grotesque collage/hybrid painted image of Midge as Carlotta/Madeleine) and, insofar as these relations are ‘true’, that is, insofar as such metamorphoses occur in the ction of the lm, the content of things in the lm (events, characters, emotions, objects, in e ect appearances) become less important than their forms (the tonality, the transfers, the re ections) as ‘reality’ (a great con- cern of Hitchcock’s) dissolves into ction and images (a greater concern of Hitchcock’s), until, for the spectators and or the characters (Scottie and Judy/Madeleine/Carlotta) with whom one identi es, reality not only loses substance, as it is displaced by the ctional and the un- real, but the ctional reveals itself as forms whose content is almost irrelevant and whose real- ity is essentially formal and abstract. It is astonishing almost to view Hitchcock’s works as a play of abstract forms, not something the lm begins as, but becomes in the course of dissolv-...
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course FIL 3036 taught by Professor Rohdie during the Fall '09 term at University of Central Florida.

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Worksheet 8 -- Vertigo - Worksheet 8 Film History Professor...

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