Rear Window, Vertigo and Psycho make for a superb trilogy – not just because the three were the best works of Alfred Hitchcock, they were also bound by the disturbing themes of voyeurism, obsession, and obfuscation of identity, and the classic Hitchcockian elements of slow suspense, MacGuffins, and the darker human shades and impulses dominating over the whodunit storytelling. James Stewart gave a sterling and quietly explosive turn as John “Scottie” Ferguson, a former cop with the San Francisco police department afflicted with acrophobia. When a friend from his past offers him a rather bizarre job of trailing his wife Madeleine (Kim Novek), he takes it up after some persuasion, but before long he finds himself falling for the seductive beauty of the icy platinum-blonde. However, after her shocking “suicide”, the debilitating psychological impact starts imploding him from within; and his rabid obsession with the dead woman (bordering on necrophilia) starts bursting off the seams when he has a chance encounter with an earthy girl bearing striking resemblance to her. One might argue over the director’s choice of revealing the twist well before the climax, but there’s no arguing the distressing, and disorienting effect that the movie possesses, brilliantly accentuated by its eerie tone, the intense psychological deliberations combined with its thematic underpinnings and dashes of surreal effects, great visual design and camera work (the seminal “vertigo shot”), and an excellent mood-establishing score. The scenes where Ferguson is silently trailing and observing the mysterious Madeleine through the city rank amongst the most compelling sections of the movie.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Romantic Thriller/Mystery