I was reading some analysis of the movie Vertigo, which I saw a long time ago. There are a few things that I noticed that most analysis miss about the Jimmy Stewart character Scottie. The first is the use of names. People refer to Scottie as Johnny-O, John, or Scottie, and it is very significant how each character refers to him. There is a long scene in which Mandeline finally refers to him as John, and it is interesting that the Judy character refers to him as Scottie.
The second thing that people don’t point out is that Scottie seems to be very wealthy for a police officers. He has money that seems to allow him to leave a comfortable life without working. He has a very wealthy college friend. And then there is the weird relationship between the two/three women, Midge, Madeline, and Judy. The curious thing is that Madeline is in many senses a total ghost. We know absolutely nothing at all about the real Madeline Ester and the only thing that we see is Madeline through Scottie’s eyes.
The other thing that I haven’t seen in any literary analysis is what must be going through Scottie’s mind at the end of the movie. I think what should be there is “should I jump?” (There is epilogue usually unseen where Scottie ends up in Midge’s apartment looking outside the window which serve as a bookend for the story.)
The thing about Vertigo is that it opens up the entire question of what is real and what is illusion. Death is real, but love exists in that tenuous state between what is real and what is imagined.
The other thing is that the first scene with Midge and Scotty seens quite normal, domestic, and cheerful with well adjusted people talking about well-adjusted things, behaving rationally. It doesn’t take too long before everything falls apart and the normal people aren’t quite as normal as they first seem.
One other connection. There are a lot of connections between the movie Vertigo and the movie Bladerunner. The first scene of Vertigo is very similar to one of the last scenes of Bladerunner, and there are some interesting connections in the notion of “invented women.”
Also, I first saw Barbara Bel Geddes in the television series Dallas. One of the things that I find interesting is to look at how an actress ages. Barbara Bel Geddes in 1958 versus Barbara Bel Geddes in 1978, or Diana Rigg in 1965 versus Diana Rigg in 2006. Something that is interesting to think about is that all movies are merely a small fragment on someone’s live. It will be interesting to think about (assuming he doesn’t jump) and Scottie and Midge will be like in five or ten years after this incident.
One final mystery, I’ll leave you to ponder. What am I really talking about?