Searching for an essay?

Browse the database of more than 4500 essays donated by our community members!

Vertigo Cinematography Essay

Essay 1


Alfred Hitchcock is an English and American filmmaker who is regarded as one of the legends of cinematography. It’s difficult to imagine a person without knowledge of Hitchock, his role in film history, or his outstanding contributions. His many inventive processes in various genres ensured that his movies were spectacular and unique from those previously seen on the big screen. “The death of Hitchcock marks the passage from one era to another,” according to Jean Luc Godard, director.

“I think we are entering an era in which the visual is being suspended,” says Terrence Malick. [1] Our discussion will focus on Hitchcock’s Vertigo, with particular emphasis on the technical elements that assist the perception of the film’s main idea. The psychological thriller Vertigo has an inventive concept, a memorable title, and innovative motion picture visuals that contribute to the comprehension of its primary message.

Writing service




[Rated 96/100]

Prices start at $12
Min. deadline 6 hours
Writers: ESL
Refund: Yes

Payment methods: VISA, MasterCard, American Express


[Rated 94/100]

Prices start at $11
Min. deadline 3 hours
Writers: ESL, ENL
Refund: Yes

Payment methods: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover


[Rated 91/100]

Prices start at $12
Min. deadline 3 hours
Writers: ESL, ENL
Refund: Yes

Payment methods: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, Discover

The main goal of this paper is to discuss Vertigo and its underlying theme, the impact of lighting and cinematography effects on movie viewing, compare it to other movies made by the director in America, and contrast it with additional films.

Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock: The Difference in Seeing and Being Seen Underlying Theme in Hitchcock’s Vertigo
A viewer is kept in suspense from the first minute to the end of Vertigo, a film by Alfred Hitchcock. Madeleine and Judy were two distinct personas for much of the movie; we weren’t sure if they were one and the same.

In the narrative of a detective, Scottie, who had to retire from police work owing to growing latent acrophobia, and Madeleine/Judy who fell in love with each other but the strange tale of Madeleine’s death prevents Scottie and Judy from being together. The conclusion of the film is unexpected since no one could have guessed that Judy would perish. [2]

It may even lead to some more specific thoughts that tie the film’s themes together. Hill and Helmers want to emphasize that “Vertigo positions its viewers, characters, Hitchcock, and cinematic style in a matrix of ideological practices and rhetorical appeals analyzable as identification and division.”

The focus on Scottie and his genuine, yet unrealized identification is a common motif in film noir. Hitchcock intended to demonstrate the distinction between what was seen and what people desired to see. The central theme of the film is human and object identification. To comprehend the director’s strategy, the audience must think carefully.

The Role of Lighting and Cinematography Effects in Movie Perception
It’s hard to understand the film’s concept without discussing the methods used there. Throughout the movie, the director uses a wide range of distinctly visual techniques “to draw our attention on the psychological outcomes of this desire for identification or identity.” [4]

The most essential tools to understand the film’s main idea are panning, zooming, various visual elements, color change, light and picture changes, and offline editing. The following is a closer look at each of these effects in terms of enhancing the film’s comprehension. When certain objects acquire a different hue, it creates a variety of situations. For example, when Madeleine is in the frame, the restaurant wall on the backdrop becomes brighter.

The main aim of the light is to bring emphasis to the moment by making the blurred red restaurant walls more visible, as well as emphasizing the moment. One of the primary goals of this effect is to “provide a visual uplift by enhancing the emotional high-point to which this scene was lading.”[5] The movie’s montage is breathtaking. The usage of many different techniques to create the final product may appear simple for a contemporary viewer, but if you look at the quality and era when the film was made, this effect might be incredible.

For example, when the main character shadows his friend’s wife by automobile, the maximum impact is achieved. Both the protagonist and the audience are unsure if the persecuted automobile is truly necessary. Kim Novak is another excellent example of montage. Hitchcock was able to create a three-screen effect with Kim Novak by utilizing this technique (a “triadic image appears within the same picture”). As a result, an actor (Novak) can be seen in one and the identical image as two doubles, Madeleine and Judy.

See also  Why I Want to be a Medical Assistant Essay

The music enhancements are also effective. The sound is modified for particular moments and events in the film, such as when Scottie sees Madeleine’s half-image, “when the soundtrack changes from a realistic portrayal of the restaurant environment to thy ominous-romantic music which peaks at the moment when Scottie’s half-imaged view of Madeleine is most clear.”

The music volume has an impact, too, since when the sound increases, people pay more attention to what’s going on and the scene than they do to other parts of the film. The camera is quite important in this picture since Hitchcock was able to employ it as a component of the film. Although there are several differences between this location and Dallaglio Hall, one thing they have in common is that they ‘shoot “the processes”.’

Returning to the same location when Madeleine is standing in the background of the red restaurant wall, for example, displays Scottie’s face and eyes “moving away from the camera to the bar,” and then “bridging the cut to the next image of Madeleine in profile.”

It is the point at which it appears that Madeleine’s and Scottie’s eyes may meet. But, “Madeleine’s forward-facing gaze is broken by her distracted look down and to her right, towards (but not at) the camera”. It can be deduced from these scenes that the camera is a component of the film with “both active and passive possibilities or ontological qualities.” When Judy’s and Scottie’s gazes nearly touch, the so-called fictitious perspective becomes apparent.

“The camera captures an important moment in that area of the story, which Scottie later recollects from his memory.”  This camera effect aids in demonstrating how much this scenario is about Scottie’s thoughts and sentiments rather than the actual events themselves.

The realism is enhanced by special effects in the film, which aid in the comprehension of the movie’s title and concept. When Scottie has to look down from a height, he experiences vertigo because he has acrophobia. In reality, zooming the camera enables us to feel dizziness. The sensation of vertigo is particularly apparent during the opening parts of the movie when Scottie’s partner dies and causes his acrophobia.

The Similarity of Vertigo with other Hitchcock’s Films

The vast majority of Hitchcock’s films feature similar concepts, and he was well-known for making Suspense and Psychological Thrillers. It is vital to remind ourselves that Vertigo is very comparable to Psycho in terms of visual effects.

When Perkins appears in doubles, as Bates and Mother, a triadic image is produced.  The theme of “psychological ramifications of seeing and being seen” examined in Vertigo is further emphasized by other Hitchcock movies, particularly Rear Window and Psycho.

Given the main themes of these films and the techniques employed for their production, it may be assumed that the author’s primary goal was to convey the notion that human wants may ruin everything good in people’s lives. It appears that for the author, as well as many American filmmakers, voyeurism and objectification are very serious issues.


As a result, it may be concluded that the film director’s use of visual effects, camera movements, music sound, and other techniques while shooting a film is critical for movie appreciation. We’ve focused on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and the methods in which the director utilized to achieve his goal.

The film director wanted to demonstrate the difference between seeing and being seen. He was able to do so using a variety of camera and visual effects, which aided in the comprehension of the events. Lightening and sound were also essential since they drew our attention to distinct individuals and shots.

Essay 2

In Vertigo, Hitchcock employs a variety of methods and combines them to produce a film that is regarded as one of his finest achievements. Through the use of color, lighting, camera movement, dialogue, and character development, Hitchcock creates an intriguing and fascinating picture.

The use of distinct colors is one of the crucial methods that Hitchcock employs in Vertigo. He picks certain hues based on their mythological meanings and then contrasts characters with them. When Scottie meets Madeleine for the first time, the restaurant is painted red with guests wearing mostly dark clothing, he frequently uses green and red.

The lighting used by Hitchcock also serves to portray Madeleine as a fantastic creature, emphasizing her face with the lighting. Madeleine is bathed in a gentle light as she passes by Scottie in the restaurant, making her all the more noticeable against the dimly-lit atmosphere of the establishment. Furthermore, during their walk through Paris, she is shown in a complete body shot in the middle of the frame, which Hitchcock utilizes to create an overpowering sense of romance.

In this case, Madeleine is the target who stands out from her everyday surroundings. Madeleine’s image forces the viewer to focus on her, and we can be swept up in the romantic dream along with Scottie as a result of this lighting. The lighting in this situation aggressively pulls the audience towards her features and ensures that all attention is on her. Her appeal attracts and whets our appetite, which extends to Scottie as well; we notice that he is drawn to her and has to make an effort to conceal it.

See also  A Time You Helped Someone Essay

The beginning of the sequence begins with a shot that moves past a door made of fiery red glass. The camera then moves from Scottie’s seat at the bar. Because Madeleine is not visible to Scottie, the camera does not take up his perspective directly. Madeleine appears and stops for a moment. She comes out through a doorway, which may suggest that she has something unresolved in her history. When she leaves, the reversed images provide us with information regarding what we will learn later on.

Essay 3

Vertigo is an exciting film with Alfred Hitchcock’s trademarks of mystery and suspense. However, at the conclusion of this picture, Hitch didn’t resolve many issues. In comparison to more recent films in the same genre, mysteries are generally always solved and fully explained by the end of the movie. Ironically, one of Vertigo’s finest features is Hitch’s failure to explain everything to the audience.

The lack of information allows the audience to construct their own imaginations and wonder what might have happened to various characters. Several themes were addressed in Vertigo. However, the “Ideal Woman – Lost” theme was the most apparent (Handout #1). This motif was inspired by a male protagonist who had been dangerously warped into an excessively obsessed guy. Jimmy Stewart, better known as Scottie in the film, played this “everyman” type whose personality had been maliciously twisted into an obsessive guy.

The beautiful, young woman known as Madeleine and Judy in the film served as his inspiration. Madeleine captured Scottie so thoroughly that he became a new person. This was Hitchcock’s personal feelings reflected in this film, which was considered to be his favorite.

While there are several moments that back up the above statement, the following are three notable instances in which Scottie’s compulsion is highlighted. After dropping Midge off at her house, Scottie sat alone in his car as a good starting point. Midge and Scottie had spent an afternoon researching Carlotta Valdes’ background earlier that day. Midge informed Scottie, much to his annoyance, that she was going to the museum to look at Carlotta’s painting. When Midge got out of the vehicle, Scottie withdrew his brochure from the museum and proceeded to the page where Carlotta’s work was displayed.

Essay 4

Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is a chilling tale of love and obsession that is just as powerful today as it was nearly 60 years ago. Scottie is duped by Madeleine’s beauty and her “beautiful phony trances,” according to the film. But Scottie isn’t the only one drawn to fantasies and artificial appearances. Throughout the picture, Hitchcock deftly constructs his meta-critique of filmmaking technique while also exploring the degree of obsession and fetishization inherent in American cinema.

Vertigo is not an easy film to watch, for though artfully created, it is not simple to follow; characters are ethically questionable, the audience feels deceived and unsure of who to side with, and the picture blurs the lines between objective and subjective reality. Vertigo isn’t a typical “feel-good” blockbuster by any means.

The fantastic employment of cinematic elements such as staging and costume design to deliver Hitchcock’s messages home, as well as the rich use of film motifs, create a thought-provoking picture that demands rewatching.

Madeleine, the woman he is charged to protect, becomes a tragic obsessive love interest in Vertigo. However, this love soon goes beyond ordinary bounds of love, swiftly becoming obsessively and fetishistically obsessed. It’s apparent that Scottie loves Madeleine for her beauty rather than as a person. Madeleine is a figure who represents the ideal Hitchcock woman image.

In Hitchcock’s films, blonde female protagonists are often manipulative and then humiliated and/or murdered; all characteristics that Madeleine (or Judy) has. Knowing this, it is easy to see how Scottie’s infatuation with Madeleine compares to Hitchock’s devotion to filmmaking and casting. Scottie subsequently finds another lady and attempts to mold her, dress her, instruct her, modify her makeup and hair until she resembles the woman he wants.

In The Bitter Tea of General Yen, the relationship between Madeleine/Judy and Scottie/Madeleine represents that of a director/actor connection, especially in the case of Hitchcock, who was notorious for molding and frequently harassing his female stars in order to meet his creative demands. Vertigo is audacious and unvarnished in its meta-critique on the subjects that controlled Hitchcock’s work.

See also  Trust Essay - Free Essays About Trust

The movie isn’t simply a horror about a possibly possessed woman and a murder, but also about how Hitchcock dominated, feared, and attempted to control women. During the sequence showing Judy’s makeover, Hitchcock’s most apparent reflection on domination through fantasy is evident. Judy is less polished than Madeleine, and Scottie repeatedly attempts to mold her into the likeness of his deceased fiancée.

Judy fails to live up to Scottie’s expectations for his ideal woman, and he is repulsed by her. Judy will be rejected by Scottie until she agrees to enter his fantasy (and at the same time depart from reality in an illusion). By controlling her hair, makeup, attitude, and wardrobe, among other things, Scotlemin’s particular ways want is to metaphorically resurrect Madeleine by turning Judy into a replica of her.

He believes that if he defines the appearance, he can establish his own reality; an ideology that might reflect the themes of a film director. Hitchcock’s adept use of mise en scène during the transformation sequence aids in his exploration of obsessive domination. Judy’s clothing is extremely moving—as she “transforms” into Madeleine for Scottie, she wears the same dress, hairstyle, and applies her makeup in exactly the same way.

The camera focuses on different parts of Judy’s body in her transformation into Madeleine—her eyes, lips, hair, and hands. This method was used in the film’s opening credits as the camera traveled across the face of an unidentified woman before plummeting into a vertiginous spiral. When Scottie sees this final metamorphosis, his eyes burn with intense interest. Scottie is uninterested in Judy as a person and perceives her rather as something he may bend to his will.

When he’s satisfied with Judy’s form, he is visibly overcome with desire and mastery over her. Conversely, Judy appears to be anything but pleased with the metamorphosis. Judy emerges from the bathroom after completing her change, her movements and facial expressions showing that she is suffering in agony and sorrow while trying to satisfy the man she loves.

When Judy emerges from the bathroom, the lighting and staging appear to reveal her emerging out of an odd green mist; her eyes are distant, unseeing. Once again, Judy has given up a part of herself in order to conform to the male fantasy that she has been bound by. As Judy approaches Scottie for a hug, the green glow, swelling music, and camera turn around the kissers all contribute to a sense of dizziness and vertigo.

For me, one of Vertigo’s greatest achievements is how it encouraged the audience to reconsider their movie-watching methods. The audience is most likely following and sympathizing with Scottie for the entire first part of the film (up to the murder plot reveal), even if they haven’t seen it before. Shouldn’t the audience sympathize with Scottie once his deranged behavior becomes more obvious?

What does Scottie represent for the audience, and how are most film viewers “obsessed” with a voyeuristic look into other people’s lives? These issues are complicated, and it might be necessary to create a new argument to properly address them. However, although their intricacy should not detract from the film experience, it should add to Vertigo’s ingenuity and intellectual intrigue.

Vertigo is adored by film critics and the average movie-goer, and for good reason. Vertigo works on a higher level than just plot development even though the characters may be tough (or surprisingly simple) to connect to or like. Any cinephile should see Vertigo at least once, both to appreciate and criticize the ideas presented in obsessive fantasy and cinema-making.

I got my first taste of vertigo from watching The Deer Hunter. My interest in cinematic elements was piqued, and I began to ask what it meant to be an audience member at a film. The stylistic techniques were outstanding, the film itself thought-provoking, and it made me feel different after I’d viewed it. So yes, Vertigo is a “terrific movie,” and it goes above and beyond being exciting entertainment. For lack of a better way to put it, I’ll give out one of my rare cinema comments—Vertigo is highly recommended for repeat viewing.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Vertigo Cinematography Essay. (2021, Nov 19). Retrieved March 27, 2023, from