Vertigo is a 1958 American noir psychological thriller movie directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story is based on the 1954 novel D’entre les morts, or From Among the Dead, by Boileau-Narcejac. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Vertigo.
1. Vertigo was shot on location in San Francisco, California, and at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.
2. It’s the first movie to use the dolly zoom, an in-camera effect that distorts perspective to create disorientation, to convey Scottie’s acrophobia.
3. As a result of the use dolly zoom in the Vertigo movie, the effect is now often referred to as “the Vertigo effect.”
4. Vertigo is the first movie ever to use computer graphics. They were used in the intro sequence that was done by Saul Bass.
5. The view down the mission stairwell scene in the movie cost $19,000 for just a couple of seconds of screen time.
6. Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted to use the Vertigo effect in “Rebecca”, but due to lack of technology at that time he couldn’t do it.
7. The Vertigo effect technique was inspired by a time when Alfred Hitchcock fainted during a party.
8. Alfred Hitchcock reportedly spent a week filming a brief scene where Madeleine started at a portrait in the Palace of the Legion of Honor just to get the lighting right.
9. There is a 25 year age different between James Stewart and Kim Novak, who were 49 and 24 respectively when the movie was shot in 1957.
10. When Kim Novak questioned Alfred Hitchcock about her motivation in a particular scene, the director is said to have answered, “Let’s not probe too deeply into these matters, Kim. It’s only a movie.”
11. Kim Novak doesn’t speak until more than a third into the movie.
12. Bernard Herrmann’s score is largely inspired by Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” which, like the movie, is about doomed love.
13. While originally poorly received by U.S. critics on its release, Vertigo is now hailed as Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece.
14. When Alfred Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville, saw Vertigo, she said that she liked it, except for one shot where Kim Novak walks towards the San Francisco Bay, which she felt made Novak look too big on the screen.
15. When Vertigo opened at San Francisco’s legendary Castro Theater during its restored re-release in October, 1997, it did more business there than any other theater in the United States that weekend.
16. In 2012, Vertigo replaced Citizen Kane in the Sight & Sound critics’ poll for the greatest movie of all time.
17. Vertigo is often blamed for creating or popularizing the misconception that vertigo means a fear of heights. It actually means a sensation of whirling and a loss of balance that’s often associated with looking down from a great height.
18. Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted Vera Miles to play Judy in Vertigo, but she became pregnant and was unavailable.
19. The word “vertigo” is spoken only once in the movie; towards the beginning by Scottie to Midge.
20. James Stewart was about 15 years older than Barbara Bel Geddes, even though their characters were supposed to be the same age.
21. Many critics attributed Vertigo’s initial failure to James Stewart, who was considered miscast as the romantic lead, partly due to his age.
22. The scene outside Elster’s shipyard where Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance at approximately 11 minutes in, was actually the Paramount prop department gates.
23. In October, 2014, a new 4K restoration of Vertigo was presented at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. This version gives credit to Harris and Katz at the end of the movie, and thanks them for providing some previously unknown stereo soundtracks.
24. The McKittrick hotel exterior shots were filmed at the abandoned Portman Mansion at 1007 Gough Street in San Francisco. The mansion was demolished in 1959.
25. Kim Novak was borrowed from Columbia Pictures for the production, in exchange for a payment of $250,000 by Paramount to Columbia and the agreement that James Stewart would co-star with her in “Bell Book and Candle.”
26. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked Vertigo as the number 9 Greatest Movie of All Time.
27. Kim Novak didn’t have to screen-test for Vertigo.
28. The heavy metal band Faith No More used Vertigo as the basis for their music video of “Last Cup of Sorrow.”
29. When Vertigo was re-released to theaters in 1984, it was rated PG. But on home video releases, after the end credits, it says rated PG-13 by the MPAA despite having the PG rating at the back of the DVD and VHS.
30. In 1989, Vertigo was added to the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress.