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Movie Trivia

These are a few interesting facts about Vertigo that you might find interesting.

  • Hitchcock's cameo can be seen approximately 11 minutes into the movie, where he is crossing the street.
  • The lighting changes when important events occur. For instance:
  • When Scotty first sees Madeleine in Ernie's restaurant, the light around her becomes unnaturally bright for a moment.
  • While Scotty is listening to the story of Madeleine's ancestor in the book shop, it gets very dark; once he exits the store, it brightens again.
  • When Scotty first sees Judy made up completely as Madeleine, she is lit by a blurred, ghostly green light (the reflected light from the neon sign outside the window).
  • Scotty almost never drives uphill, always level or downhill.
  • San Juan Batista, the Spanish mission which features in key scenes in the movie doesn't actually have a bell tower - it was added with trick photography. The mission originally had a steeple but it was demolished following a fire.
  • Hitchcock reportedly spent a week filming a brief scene where Madeleine stares at a portrait in the Palace of the Legion of Honor just to get the lighting right.
  • Hitchcock invented the famous combination of forward zoom and reverse tracking shot to convey the sense of vertigo to the audience. The view down the mission stair well cost $19,000 for just a couple of seconds of screen time.
  • Hitchcock originally wanted Vera Miles to play Madeleine, but she became pregnant and was therefore unavailable.
  • The film was unavailable for decades because its rights (together with four other pictures of the same period) were bought back by Hitchcock and left as part of his legacy to his daughter. They've been known for long as the infamous "5 lost Hitchcocks" amongst film buffs, and were re-released in theatres around 1984 after a 30-year absence. The others are The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Rear Window (1954), Rope (1948), and The Trouble with Harry (1955).