YMMV / Vertigo

  • Adaptation Displacement: Based on an obscure French novel, D'entre les morts (The Living and the Deadnote ), by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Like most books adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, it's long since been overshadowed by the movie. note 
  • Archetypal Character: An unnoticed legacy of Vertigo as an iconic classic are repeated times in popular culture which feature a woman named "Madeleine" (or variations of the name), who become Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest, are look-alikes for another woman, and end up dead because of the actions of a man. A few examples include Madeline Ferguson (Twin Peaks), Madelyne Pryor (Marvel Comics), and Madison Frank (What Lies Beneath).
  • Award Snub: Entertainment Weekly considers the failure to even nominate Jimmy Stewart for his performance as Scottie to be the worst Oscar snub ever. Many tend to agree, although they would add that there are many others which are comparable. Of course, Vertigo, and Hitchcock's films of the '50s in general 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.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Plenty of fans self-identify as being on Team Midge.
  • 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: It's finally achieved the critical and cultural prestige and popularity to face this. Especially after the film unexpectedly dethroned Citizen Kane in the 2012 Sight and Sound Critics' Best Films pollnote  It was a modest success (an Acclaimed Flop by fifties standards) in its time, and critically mixed, and more or less vanished off American screens for decades. It's only since The '90s, that it enjoyed the critical reputation it now has. 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 isn't innovative on a technical level(With the notable exception of the appropriately named cinematographic gimmick known as the Vertigo Effect). It's pointed out that from the aesthetic-technological view, a Hollywood without Vertigo wouldn't differ a great deal, from the Hollywood we know today, as compared to Citizen Kane or Star Wars. Among Hitchcock's enthusiasts, Psycho, Rear Window or Rope, for example, are considered more influential and well-executed movies. Alfred Hitchcock himself considered Shadow of A Doubt as his best movie.
  • Narm:
    • The mental breakdown in the middle of the film can come off like a badly done Disney Acid Sequence.
    • 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.
  • 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 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 complaints about the movie is that The Reveal of the Plot Twist, a good 40 minutes before the ending, ruined the potential for a more shocking finale. This was more or less an Intended Audience Reaction on Hitchcock's part (The Novel he adapted from indeed did have such a twist, but Hitchcock and his screenwriters changed it), since he wanted a Halfway Plot Switch that converted a Psychological Thriller into a character study about The Hero's sexual obsession and neurosis, and part of the way of achieving that was via Perspective Flip of seeing the hero from Judy's point of view.
  • 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 Hitchcock's 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Vertigo