September 4, 2012
Universal Home Video
Hitchcock's haunting tale of deception, madness and death.
After detective John "Scottie" Ferguson nearly falls from a rooftop while pursuing a suspect, he develops a paralyzing fear of heights that forces him into retirement. There he would be content to remain, but for a call for help from an old college chum, Gavin Elster. Elster has a strange tale to tell: his wife Madeleine has lately grown obsessed with an ancestor of hers, a tragic beauty named Carlotta Valdez. Each day, Madeleine visits Carlotta's grave, and gazes for hours at her portrait in a gallery. But once at home, Madeleine apparently remembers neither her daily wanderings, nor Carlotta.
Gavin fears that Carlotta's spirit has possessed Madeleine, and he wants Scottie to watch over her. Skeptical, Scottie at first refuses; only after seeing the coolly lovely Madeleine does he accept the job. But as Scottie becomes involved with the increasingly desperate Madeleine, he starts to fall in love with her... a love from which he may never recover.
A detective tails a cool, glamorous woman around the equally glamorous San Francisco of the '50s; his fear of heights prevents him from saving her life. Obsessed with the dead woman, he stalks, meets, and manipulates a suspiciously similar-looking, if somewhat lower-class, woman, who inexplicably falls for him even though he demands she change her identity to match his fantasy. A Hitchcock masterpiece, in Technicolor as lurid as its plot. Based on the novel "D'Entre Les Morts" by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Academy Award Nominations: Best Art Direction, Best Sound.
Color by Technicolor.
"Vertigo" along with "Rear Window," "The Trouble With Harry," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "Rope," was unavailable for several years. It was re-released in January 1984.
Vera Miles, who also appeared in Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" and "Psycho," was originally slated to play the role of Madeleine, but had to bow out when she became pregnant just prior to production.
Allegedly, Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac wrote their novel in hopes that Hitchcock would purchase it for adaptation.
MCA/Universal issued the video in a new package look on May 23, 1995.
James Katz and Robert Harris led an ambitious, $1 million restoration of the film. They created a new preservation negative in 65mm from all the film's original large-format elements. Instead of reduction printing in 35mm, however, they transferred it to 70mm -- something done for the first time ever -- which has been called Super VistaVision 70. They re-created the movie frame by frame, adding new sound effects, remixing the score and redoing the title sequence digitally. This restored version was shown at the New York Film Festival October 4 & 5, 1996. It was released theatrically in New York City October 6, 1996.