Director Alfred Hitchcock and actor James Stewart, 1955. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
James Stewart's Vertigo Character Wasn't Far Off From Alfred Hitchcock
What makes Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” especially noteworthy in comparison to his other work is how he so boldly confronts what one reviewer called his own "thematic and personal sexual fixations." Hitchcock is known for obsessing over every aspect of his films, but he saves his most pedantic fixation for his actresses, whom he seemed to revel in controlling.
In "Vertigo," James Stewart's Scottie Ferguson pursues Kim Novak's Madeline Elster, before witnessing what he believes to be her suicide. Madeline turns out to be an actress named Judy Barton, also played by Novak, whom Scottie tries to reinvent in the mold of Madeline, thereby establishing a clear parallel between Scottie's obsession and Hitchcock's own.
None of which was lost on Novak, who said Judy was, "In a sense, me, trying to become a Hollywood person ... needing to be loved." The actress also recognised how Stewart as Scottie basically represented a stand-in for Hitchcock: “[Hitchcock] was obsessed with [...] the look. It was as if he was Jimmy Stewart making sure that [Judy] was dressed exactly the way Madeline was.”