Vertigo plot point (not the ending)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Haggai, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Something that's always confused me the many times I've seen this great movie: what's up with the scene where Scottie follows Madeleine into the McKittrick Hotel near the beginning? He sees her park her car by the hotel, and then he sees her opening the window in one of the upstairs rooms (this shot is nicely mirrored in the later scene where he first sees Judy, as she opens the window and leans out of her room in the Empire Hotel). But then when he goes inside, she's not there, the front desk lady insists that she hasn't seen her, and her car isn't there anymore when he looks outside the window. So what happened? This is before his nervous breakdown, so things are pretty much by the book in this early part of the movie, and yet this false image/supernatural thing seems to be happening.
     
  2. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I believe what is to have occured is that she has intentionally deceived him by sneaking into and out of the apartment. Thus the landlady never sees her and then she is gone.

    She is able to do this and freak him out because he has no idea, nor should he, that she knows she is being followed. Of course she does know that she is being followed and has been instructed to put on a show for him, including this ghost-like moment.
     
  3. Bill Huelbig

    Bill Huelbig Second Unit

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    Spoiler ahead:















    I always thought the landlady had been paid handsomely by Gavin Elster to play along and say what she said. She's lying to Scottie when she says she hasn't seen Madeleine, since it looks like there's no other way to get up to the room except to walk right by the front desk and go up those stairs.

    --Bill
     
  4. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Ah, ok, Bill's explanation makes some sense to me. It could also incorporate a back exit that the hotel lady knows about, but doesn't reveal to Scottie. This also makes sense in that the lady insists that Madeleine's room key hasn't been moved from the wall behind the front desk. I think I'll go with that one.

    Seth's explanation makes sense if you consider that Elster would want as few people as possible to know about what he was up to, but then how did Madeleine/Judy manage to get around the front desk lady? Of course, it's the movies, and this isn't exactly the most far-fetched plot point, so maybe it's best to just accept it. [​IMG]
     
  5. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    This was exactly what Hitchcock wanted. He wanted people to watch the film, and afterwards think "How did that happen?" I don't think Hitchcock really had an explanation for it - he just thought it was cool and would add a bit of mystery to the film.
     
  6. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Well, what an odd coincidence. I just happen to be reading the BFI Film Classics book for Vertigo in my spare time and today I was reading page 46 and guess what I came across...

    Quoting the book (author Charles Barr), emphasis mine
     
  7. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Cool, thanks for the info, Seth.
     
  8. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    The plot point that always puzzled me was Scottie's attraction to Judy. I realize she's the same person, but to me she never looked the same at all. The hair color, the makeup, everything. How he saw Madeline in Judy is beyond me.
     

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