Hitchcock’s VERTIGO
One of your exam questions might ask you how critics have responded to Vertigo; key issues or debates discussed by critics of the film or it might ask you to refer to and analyse one specific piece of writing by one or more critics of Vertigo. Below you will find a list of reading that we have looked at in class (or in shortened form). These different critical responses to the film focus on different issues or debates that surround Vertigo. The list below identifies the main ‘issue’ that each writer focuses on in the work we have looked at. Most of these sources can be found on www.candiflmstudies.blogspot.co.uk. For your revision, you should recap on the key ideas of each of these writers or select those whose writing you feel is the most relevant in helping you understand and enjoy Vertigo. Name of critic / author James F Maxfield Publication A dreamer & His Dream: Another Way of looking at Hitchcock’s Vertigo Film Criticism, Vol 14 – Apr 1990 Second Time Around – Vertigo Film Quaterly, Vol 62, No 2 Winter 2008-09 Vertigo Sight & Sound – Spring 1959 p 139 Issue they focus on  Spectatorship  Plot & Narrative                Spectatorship Camera Use of mise-en-scene Plot & Narrative Plot Characters Reception at time of release Vertigo as a Film Canon Critical reception to the film Spectatorship Plot & narrative Camerawork Mise-en-scene Characters Psychoanalytical perspective & Rescue Fantasy Theory Representation of Gender Characters Marxist critical perspective Characters Production context

D.A. Miller

Penelope Houston

Ian Christie

Chronicle of a Fall Foretold Sight & Sound, Sept 2012 pp57-58 Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock Sight & Sound, Sept 2012 pp54-55

Peter Matthews



Virginia Wight-Wexman

Hitchcock’s Vertigo – The Collapse of the Rescue Phantasy 3rd European Psychological Film Festival A Second Gaze at Hitchcock’s Women SBCC Film Reviews The Critic as Consumer Film Quaterly; Vol 9, No 3- Spring 1986

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Tim Groves

Vertigo & the Maelstrom of Criticism www.screeningthepast.com Hitchcock’s Golden Age Thrillers, Cambridge University Press 1999 Vertigo – A vertiginous gap in reality & a women who doesn’t exist Image & Narrative – Online Magazine of Visual Narratives – Jan 2003 Notes on the Auteur Theory The Film Artist, 1962

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Martin Rubin


Andrew Sarris

Camera Mise-en-scene Critical responses to Vertigo Representation of Gender – Women and Men Spectatorship Narrative structure Characters Camerawork Feminist Critique – Representation of gender Psychoanalysis & Lacan Characters Camera Narrative Structure Auteur Theory (general critique not applied to Vertigo) Feminist Theory Representation of Women Hitchcock’s body of work Characters Camera Mise-en-Scene Feminist Theory – Representation of Women Feminist Theory – representation of gender / crisis of masculinity Auteur Theory Hitchcock’s body of work Pure cinema Plot / narrative characters

Tania Modleski

The Women Who Knew Too Much – Hitchcock and Feminist Theory Routledge, 1988

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Laura Mulvey

Robin Wood


Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema Screen, 1975 Fear of Spying American Film Vol 9, Issue 2 – Nov 1983 Hitchcock/Truffaut Simon Schuster, 1983(4)

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