Vertigo: A Darker Side Of Human Nature

759 words - 3 pages

In the essay "On `Sleeping Beauty'," Francine Prose argues that the movie Vertigo is about "a sort of modified necrophilia: not exactly sex with a corpse - literal graveyard amour - but rather sex with a woman who only appears to have left the world of living" (223). This statement certainly has many ties to the movie. Vertigo, Hitchcock's masterpiece, secretly reveals men's sexual desire and obsession towards women, especially for those who appear to have lost touch with the real world. One may recognize the central character, Scottie, as a person who is surrounded by all kinds of emotional faintness due to his great loss of love. However, the action that Scottie has taken after the suffering tells the audience the whole different story; Scottie has committed "modified necrophilia" (223) as the movie progresses.

The movie Vertigo tells the story of John "Scottie" Ferguson, a hapless detective who becomes traumatized when he watches a fellow cop plummet to his death from a rooftop. This event leaves Scottie with a disabling acrophobia, which forces him to take a time off. During his break, an old friend Gavin Elster asks Scottie to come out of retirement to follow "Madeleine", his wife, and investigate her strange behavior. He reluctantly accepts, and while following her, ends up falling in love with her. His obsession and love towards Madeleine grows more and more as the time passes.

Scottie is a desperate man who, upon suffering the loss of his true love, descends into the pits of his very soul to redeem "Madeleine's spirit." After losing Madeleine, Scottie turns into a psychologically disturbed man. In the movie, his attitude towards Judy occasionally frightens the audience with his very obsessed facial expression. For example, after his great misery, he luckily meets the woman named Judy/Madeleine on the street and follows to her hotel. When Scottie first sees Judy closely he seems very preoccupied with her similar looks and he does not hesitate to ask her any Madeleine-related questions. Here, the way he looks at Judy has changed a lot, perhaps more sexually infatuated.

Among many intriguing scenes, one may remember one part where Scottie brings unconscious, half half-drowned Madeleine to his house...

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