Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo an analysis of a the scene after Madeline falls into the water.

Essay by beagleCollege, UndergraduateB+, September 2003

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Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo explores themes of lust, caution and envy. These themes are explicitly conveyed throughout the film through repetition of symbols and Hitchcock's innovative use of the camera. The following essay aims to analyse these aspects in the scene of Madeline's first encounter with Scottie.

The scene begins with a shot of an apartment with Madeline's car out the front. This is an establishing shot and lets the viewer know where they have been transported. From this shot a dissolve is applied and the establishing shot is followed by a shot of Scottie kneeling in front of a fire, stoking it. This is the first hint at this scene's underlying erotic motives and in turn symbolizes the stoking of Scottie's desire for Madeline.

In this scene Scottie is wearing a green jumper, a colour associated with Madeline throughout the film. This highlights his desire for attainment of Madeline. This is the first scene in which we see Scottie in his own territory, a place where one is usually comfortable. However this does not seem to be the case, due to his unexpected guest. The music of strings, the only non-diegetic sound throughout the scene, has an eerie, creeping nature and is used as a mood setter.

From here the camera follows Scottie to his sofa, pauses very briefly, then continues to pan from right to left, moving in and then around the apartment. This movement serves many purposes. Firstly it ties the shot in more closely to Scottie's consciousness than that of a director's eye view. Secondly it is another establishing shot, used to make the viewer familiar with their surroundings. As the camera pans across the apartment we see female clothing hanging up to dry in Scottie's kitchen, this show us that Madeline has...