Wednesday, October 27, 2021


 Just like 1964's MY FAIR LADY, Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO has a consistent visual floral motif coupled with a young working class woman who undergoes a beauty and fashion makeover provided by a middle-aged man. If you have not seen this 1958 classic mystery from Hitchcock, a classic starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, leave now. I am going to point out an element of the film's final scene. In other words, a spoiler. If you have seen VERTIGO, here's a clip to refresh your memory about the film's floral motif.

Now take a look at the original theatrical trailer.

VERTIGO aired on a Showtime cable channel today and it hooked me in again, I remember seeing it on network TV when it aired in prime time one weekend. I was a kid then and too young to grasp some of the more mature elements of the story. However, I watched because it had Alfred Hitchcock's name attached it. In those days, Hitchcock was also known as a hugely popular TV host, seen Friday nights as the host of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. On his show and THE TWILIGHT ZONE, kids knew that something freaky was going to happen -- and that's why you watched.

So I watched VERTIGO. The final scene of Hitchcock's "When good beauty makeovers go bad" tale freaked me out and made my pre-teen goosepimples rise. Remember when the nun in the black habit appears in the dark belltower and shocks poor Judy? That image scared the heck out me. I thought it was a ghost.  Apparently, so did Judy.

Nowadays, I gasp at the brilliance of that scene. When Scotty sees Madeleine fall from the belltower, he's in shock. He couldn't reach her in time to stop her presumed suicide because of his vertigo. We heard a scream as she fell. Hitchcock cuts to a shot from where Scotty is. The belltower is above a Catholic church. We see two nuns in black habits rushing to see what happened after hearing the scream. Later, there's an inquest. Scotty needs to be cleared of any wrongdoing in her death.

The two nuns were in the audience, if you will, during the inquest.

With the nun's appearance in the final moments ("I heard voices"), she is witness to Judy's self-induced accident. Scotty will be blameless -- and he'll be cured of his vertigo.



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 I grew in Los Angeles, specifically South Central L.A. which was way more racially diverse than portrayed in local media at the time. Our f...