Analysis of the Transformation Scene in ”Vertigo” by Alfred Hitchcock
Thesis: The transformation scene in “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) supports the methods he practices in his other films through the use of color, suspense, metaphorical statements and more.
“Vertigo” is about fearing death, curiosity about the afterlife and the search of total perfection. Through out the film we constantly see flowers. They are mostly white and they appear both in vases, in pictures, on walls, on furniture or in gardens. The flowers that are thoughtfully placed in almost every scene both indicates the everlasting life that humans do not have but plants do, if they have soil to protect them, but some of the flowers are also in vases meaning they are not alive anymore. Their beauty is doomed to fade and die which also is one of the main themes in this film. Eternal youth and perfection is an illusion and a fantasy. In the transformation scene we see a painting on the wall with white wild growing flowers on a light red background when John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart) stands in the door to the hallway waiting for Judy (Kim Novak). The white flowers represent innocence, pureness and perfection whereas the red background represents death and lies. Hitchcock is using colors and the continuing metaphorical statements (like the flowers) to create suspense and to make the story stronger. When talking about Hitchcock’s use of color Scottie is also standing in front of a window with green light coming from the outside in the first shot, which he returns to several times in this scene. This “green window” signifies a doorway into Scotties damaged mind with dark shadows in the shape of bars on it, as if he is a prisoner of his own sick world filled with ghosts and unreachable fantasies and desires. Hitchcock also uses shadows as symbols in his film “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943) in the shot where Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) is standing on top of the...
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