YMMV / Vertigo

  • Adaptation Displacement: Based on an obscure French novel, From Among the Dead by Boileau-Narcejac. Like most books adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, it's long since been overshadowed by the movie.
  • Award Snub: Entertainment Weekly considers Jimmy Stewart's role as Scottie to be the worst Oscar snub ever. Many tend to agree although they would add that there are so many Award Snub equally comparable. Of course, Vertigo, and none of Hitchcock's films of the 50s for that matter, were seen as Oscar Bait in their day and Stewart likely never had a chance.
  • Awesome Music: Bernard Herrmann's haunting main title, and "Scene D'Amour".
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Downplayed but there is a strange scene when Scottie is first following Madelline. He sees her in her hotel room, goes in to ask the receptionist about it and she claims no one has used the room today. She even has the key behind the desk to prove it and they inspect the room just to make sure. It's never explained how she left the hotel room and returned the key without the receptionist knowing, and assuming Judy is a real person (some interpret the entire end sequence as All Just a Dream, probably even a Dying Dream of Scotty who never really made it past the opening scene), she shouldn't want to actively evade Scotty; she needs him to follow her to make the plan work.
    • Yet another downplayed example is the coroner's speech in the court, almost bordering on satire. He seemed much more interested in chastising Scotty (despite admitting he couldn't possibly bear any legal responsibility for Madeleine's death) than in determining the cause of the victim's death.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The fact that the film's leading ladies both named the heroine in Down with Love - which is a Genre Throwback to the 1950s. The character's name is Barbara Novak.
  • Hype Backlash: Not everyone thinks this movie deserved to beat Citizen Kane in the 2012 Sight and Sound Critics' Best Films poll, or even to outrank all of Hitch's other movies. Many of the critics and directors polled more or less admitted they voted to knock Citizen Kane of the perch, and even then, the Director's 2012 Poll chose Tokyo Story by Yasujiro Ozunote .
    • While the general consensus nowadays is that Vertigo should definitely be counted among Hitchcock's best works, you will find plenty of professional critics or even casual moviegoers feeling that it got way more praise than it deserved and much of the original 1958 criticism of it was in fact well founded. Possibly one of the most convincing arguments is that the film can hardly be considered revolutionary on a technical level: the use of camera shots, for instance, while certainly well arranged and thought out, was by no means groundbreaking, as opposed to quite a few other cult classicsnote . No matter how much you like Vertigo, the truth is that a Hollywood without it ever being made wouldn't probably differ all that much from the Hollywood we know today, which could never be said about the likes of Citizen Kane or Star Wars.
  • Narm: The mental breakdown in the middle of the film can come off like a badly done Disney Acid Sequence.
  • Rewatch Bonus: After The Reveal obviously.
    • You'll notice that Scottie gets all the information about Madeline from her husband.
    • Madeline seems to flirt with Scottie rather a lot for a married woman.
    • Madeline's words to Scottie before her apparent death can now be read as Judy saying goodbye to a man she loved.
    • Right before she runs into the church, you hear Madeline's posh voice slip a little. Judy slips up and can't keep her accent up because she's so distressed at what she's about to take part in.
  • She Really Can Act: Doubled with Vindicated by History. At the time of the release (and throughout her acting career), Kim Novak's acting abilities were largely dismissed by the audience and critics alike - and Vertigo initially did little to change that. However, with a newly found appreciation for the film itself there gradually came recognition that it would have lost a great deal of its magic, had it not been for the actress who portrayed the female lead. Her performance in the second half, especially, is considered to be especially moving and powerful, especially in the way she manages to get the audience to sympathize and identify with a character who the audience would otherwise see as a Femme Fatale villain.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: One of the almost universal complaints about the movie is that the Plot Twist is revealed while there's still a good 40 minutes to go, whereas it could have been postponed until the very ending, potentially making it much more dramatic than it is in the final cut.
  • Unintentionally Funny: The final scene with Judy falling to her death off the belltower upon being startled by a curious nun could probably provoke a chuckle or two instead of an appriopriate sense of tragedy. It doesn't help that the aforementioned nun's reaction makes it look like she witnesses this kind of things every Tuesday.
  • Values Dissonance: The disturbing scenes where Judy is forced to get the same grey suit that Madeleine wore. It's portrayed as disturbing when he bullies her verbally into doing it (as well as having her hair dyed). But the employees in the boutique and hair salon go along with it without question. These days, Scottie would come across as an abusive boyfriend and they would be more likely to call the police than go along with his demands, but in the context of The '50s, and other patriarchal and conservative societies that still exist today, it's sociologically accurate and the film clearly condemns this attitude.
  • Vindicated by History: Neither a box office hit (though it recouped costs) nor critically acclaimed (except by Hitchcock's admirers in France) when it was originally released, it is now regarded as one of Hitchcocks' best and most popular films, and by many film-makers and critics as his masterpiece, alongside other essentials made in a 9 year stretch - Rear Window, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds.

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