Archive for November, 2009

Writing Plan

November 11, 2009

Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo


A; Introduction:

1. Hitchcock

2. Vertigo

3. Actors -Kim Novak + James Stewart


B; Discussion

– Vertigo Effect

– Dolly Zoom

– German Expressionism

– Technique

– Music

– Voyeurism

– Interviews

-‘Hitchcocmk attack’

— Violence against blond women

— Feminism


C; Conclusion

-Hitchcock’s influence today

-Directors opinion

-Newly restored Vertigo




Research Findings

November 11, 2009

1. Vera Miles

2. Inspired by Vertigo effect

3. Edith Head

4. Feminism

5. Tania Modleski

6. The Women Who Knew Too Much

7. Bernard Herrmann

8. Jeff Bays

9. Voyeur

10. Rear Window

11. German Expressionism

(+ Fritz Lang, Film Noir)


November 11, 2009


Michael Munn: Jimmy Stewart The Truth Behind The Legend (1988)- passim, pages: 236-237


Thomas Leitch: The Encyclopedia of Albert Hitchcock (2002) – passim, pages: 37, 95, 173, 237, 269, 318-319, 354-359.



Rear Window DVD

Vertigo DVD

Vertigo DVD – Newly restored version / Production Notes

Vertigo DVD – Newly Restored DVD / Obsessed with Vertigo


Youtube sources:



Web Sources:,,20217339,00.html


Study Diary

November 11, 2009

01/11/09  Sunday

It was quite easy to create the blog, but quite hard to start it. For a week I didn’t have the guts to write into my blog. Between the possible choices that were given to us, I found it hard to pick the right piece, due to the positive quality found in all of them. I eventually came up with ‘Hitchcock’ mainly because of its magnificent director and my interest towards its story-line. At first I researched the background of the movie to get a basic understanding at what the story is about. I watched the clip several times and every single time there was more and more to discover. The first step of my research became obvious: the director, the actors, the effect, the music…

Notes: The biggest step is the first step!

02/11/09  Monday

In the previous day I acquired the basic knowledge and was intrigued by the events of the movie, which led me to watch its entirety and fully understand the concept behind the 3 minute scene. Today I started an other blog entry about James Stewart as well a second one of Hitchcock. The pieces aren’t finished yet (I’ve only visited websites), but I am still planning on going to the library to attain further information on the subject. I have an idea about making an interview with a stylist what she thinks about Kim Novak’s style…

Notes: Go step by step!

03/11/09  Tuesday

During my research while in the library I had a significant number of resources to choose from, but I discovered two books which were very useful:

After the ‘Research and Critical’ class I’ve made 8 more blog entries. I found several research which says, that Veronica Miles would had been Madeleine, but because of her pregnancy Hitchcock had to choose Kim Novak (but he had some concerns about her acting) I found it interesting, and I tried to make an entry about that topic.

Notes: I can’t handle 8 blog entries.

-Caution to self: Don’t try and complete all 8 tasks, instead just focus on 1.

04/11/09  Wednesday

Because of working, I couldn’t manage a new blog entry today, but I could read during my shift some articles about Hitchcock’s work both from the Guardian. I found them true and fresh, but I’m not sure if I want to put them into my blog.

Note: Every research is useful, and make your knowledge wiser. Don’t force to put every information if there is not place for them.

05/11/09 Thursday

Today I just realized that I haven`t added my personal opinions about the blog entries nor `my voice` as the author. Because yesterday I put too much information on the blog, now I have to make them shorter, and focus on the main points only. have some ideas about what Hitchcock said: “Actors are cattle” I am curios what my actor friend think about that.

Note: Don’t try to put everything in one entry, focus! Interview with actors, about the “cattle” quote(?)

06/11/09 Friday

I have two ideas about the I-map: use the Vertigo stairs or a tree and the branches could be new ideas. on may way to Birmingham I studied on the train. I have a plan to make interviews with the actors I know there.

Note: It is possible to learn during a long journey!

07/11/09  Saturday

Today I made the interviews with the actors, about Hitchcock’s quote and I expected different responses. As far as I think they were a bit sensitive about it, and none of them wanted to be treated as a cattle. I made some little changes in my blog entries, which I think was beneficial

Note: Always go back and research again!

08/11/09  Sunday

Today I deleted 2 blog entries, because I did not like them. (Mise-en-scene and a more detailed research about Vertigo) I still haven`t started my I-map.

Note: Decide about your I-map idea on time! Focus on the valuable entries, delete the less interesting entries.

09/11/09  Monday

As far as I have seen other blog entries, I have some concerns… during the class none of the `demonstrating blogs` was about Hitchcock’s Vertigo. I have to put more individual notes into my blog, but associated with my Hungarian past, I am slightly fearful to write my own words down (I prefer other’s quotes).

Today I double checked with Andy my idea about the I-map, he liked the idea, so I started to make drafts about it. I am still not sure which program I am going to use. Today is the day when I write down my individual blog entries as a blog entry. I also asked my colleague  to swap with me to leave tomorrow free, to have more time calmly finish my duties about the blog. I don’t want to be panicking on Wednesday. My plan is to be ready at tomorrow with everything!

Note: Make plans, when and which entry i spend time with. Don’t be afraid to write in English.

10/11/09 Tuesday

One day before the deadline. Of course I started to panicking, because I know how much I did, but I also know how much more field exist which I don`t have time to discover. I know this research process can go to the infinity  and beyond! But as I am a maximalist so I can`t be satisfied. I discovered The German Expressionism and Hitchcock’s Vertigo relationship. I wanted to do the research but I had no time to finish the entire entry. I put the title into bracelets, I am very interested in this topic, unfortunately, I found it quite late.

Today I also did my I-Map, I`m not fully satisfied with it yet, hopefully I will be tomorrow.

Note: manage your time!!! Don’t push the blog entries, just try your best!

11/11/09 Wednesday

Final day. I feel like I have never spent this much time in front of the computer. Today I reread my blog entries, did some final corrections. In this Study Diary Entry I would like to write about the achievements I reached.

It is obvious that the topics I mention in my blog, made my knowledge wider.

(Somebody told me at work that Alfred Hitchcock was Irish, and I could correct them with the biggest confidence!)

I also would like to mention, how hard was at the beginning to read and write in English. I think I could fight against it, and my English improved as well as my dictionary. (I learned at least 300 new words)

I would like to apologize the bad grammar here and there… (My english can show which entry I spent more or less time with)

As Peter Dukes wrote on Blackboard:

“Take pride and pleasure in your work. It should have been a fascinating journey”

I think he is right, for me it really was a fascinating journey.

I realized: this blog, and challenge can not be finish with a deadline. I think everybody will continue researching, I know I will.

Thank you,

Annamaria Berentz

(Hitchcock German Expressionism)

November 11, 2009
I found German Expressionism topic which I think is very important in connection with Vertigo. 
I couldn't manage to fully finish this blog entry,  I am just at the beginning of my research. 
If we had more time, i would definitely go and discover this path!

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born into a devoutly Catholic family in London, and his religious upbringing – with its attendant issues of guilt – would have a powerful influence on the psychological underpinnings of his later work. He was trained at a technical school, and initially gravitated to movies through art courses and advertising. He studied the work of other filmmakers, most notably the German expressionists, especially Fritz Lang. On visiting Germany’s UFA studios in the early ‘20s, Hitchcock was reportedly overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the sets used by Lang for his 1924 Siegfried. Following two films on which he served as screenwriter, Hitchcock made his directorial debut with The Pleasure Garden in 1925.

(…)Hitchcock absorbed much of the movement`s influence (reflected in his remark to Franciois Truffaut that “the screen rectangle must be charged with emotion”) through his observation of Murnau at work in 1924, but the expressionistic elements in his own films more closely paralleled those of Lang. Like Lang`s German films, several of Hitchcock`s silent films, especially The Ring, are heavily influenced by and expressionist aesthetic that raps the characters in a claustrophobic physical world from which they are hopelessly estranged by their very perceptions.(…)

(…)Although the dream and daydream sequences in Downhill, Champagne, and Spellbound and the wedding scene increasingly distorted by drinking in The Ring are essentially expressionistic, Hitchcock, again like Lang after he immigrated to America, increasingly aimed for a synthesis of realism and expressionism that would motivate effects of varying intensity within a predominantly realistic framework.(…)

(…)Hitchcock`s ultimate achievement in pure cinematic expressionism is VERTIGO, whose hypnotic visuals, soundtrack, performances, and narrative combine to suggest a troubled but unbroken dream from which its hero can never awake.

german expressionismjames-stewart-vertigo

It is easy to see the similarities between the 2 pictures.

(…)The contrast between realism and expressionism is more widely noted in Hitchcock`s visuals, which typically avoid the extreme stylization of both German silent cinema and its American heir Film Noir but still make strategic use of high contrast, deep shadow, and sharply raked angles. But the marriage between realism and expressionism takes many forms in the American films.(…)


Who was Fritz Lang?

What Film Noir is?

Alfred Hitchcock Encyclopedia page:95


November 11, 2009

My i-map illustrates the entire journey from my initial question regarding Alfred Hitchock’s Vertigo clip to my final conclusions.

Like seeds grow into trees, my questions grew into different branches of thought that matured into the various themes represented in this film.  Every single branch illustrates a new topic.

In Vertigo,  Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart admired an old  tree.

So, I use this imagery to show how, as with time and the right environment the tree matures and bears fruit, so to do my questions flower into the various themes.

berentz anna I-MAP

Hitchcock the voyeur

November 9, 2009

Hitchcock discovered that nothing is more exciting for the audience, than being able to voyeur others. In connection with Vertigo we can detect with Jimmy Stewart. The brilliant technique of Hitchcock’s actually replaces us to be as excited as the character who detects after Kim Novak. He has an incredible ability to put us in the point of view of the leading character and he does it with considerable dexterity.

rear window


Hitchcock is fascinated with voyeurism the very beginning of  his career. (…) The ease with which the camera adopts his point of view and so encourages viewers to share his scopophilic pleasure, and the persistent fetishizing of the female object.(…) Hitchcock most baleful and extended plunge into the world of being-looked-at, the director returns to the specifically sexual gazes of Vertigo, Psycho, and Marnie, explicitly critical not only the death-seeking who watch the spectacle but also of the death-dealing entrepreneurs who stage it, anatomizing himself as ruthlessly as his audience. Hitchcock does not become more critical of his voyeurs as his career unfolds, but he does become more thoughtfully critical: Scottie Ferguson`s romantically obsessive gaze in Vertigo is more anguished than any of them, perhaps because the director is acknowledging the impossibility of his audience or himself looking away.

Thomas Leitch- The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock (358-359)

His movie, Rear Window based on this idea entirely. Jimmy Stewart looks, we can see what he sees than he reacts. “This is the ind of Hitchcock’s film making” – Curtis Hanson

He (Curtis Hanson) also spoke about Hitchcock movies alike. He was talking about his technical brilliance, his ability to tell a  story in a uniquely captivating way, his humor and what we have to deal with thematically: vouyerism, guilt, relationships and sexuality.

Not particularly successful at the time of its release, Vertigo has come to be recognized as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest films, where his profounder obsessions are reinforced by his technical inventiveness. It can be argued that Hitchcock’s “greatness” comes only from the accident that his recurring obsession with voyeurism is the topic that best meshes with the ontology of the filmgoing experience. In any case, the longstanding argument over the superiority of his British vs. American periods looks to have been settled in favor of the latter. The less savory aspects of Hitchcock’s life revealed since his death come as little surprise if Rear Window, Vertigo , and Psycho are seen as a supreme voyeuristic trilogy.

—Scott Simmon


1. Who is Curtis Hanson?

2. How did Hitchcock make Rear Window?


Rear Window DVD

What other actors think about Hitchcock’s infamous “cattle” quote…

November 7, 2009

I had the opportunity to speak with a number of acting students in their final year at the Birmingham School of Acting.

Here’s what they had to say about it:

James O’Driscoll:

Andy Jones:

Kevin Varty:

To summarize none of them agreed with Hitchcock`s quote, but all of them adored Hitchcock`s talent.

Kevin Varty also got a part in a play where he will play Hitchcock himself in Hitchcock Blonde. That reminded me that in Central London THE 39 STEPS runs at the Criterion Theatre.

“A joyous version of the Hitchcock classic”
As the Sunday Times says about the play

Questions arising:

1. Hitchcock`s 39 Steps production is on the London West End. Can any theatre play give back `the Hichcock feeling`?

Hitchcock’s techniques

November 6, 2009

Those who were on the set recall that Hitchcock’s famous attention to detail was heightened more than ever on Vertigo. The color the visuals the perfomances- everything had to be perfect.

(Vertigo DVD- Newly restored version / Production Notes)

Alfred Hitchcock was the director who had already known everything he wanted to do with his movie, and see on the big screen even before the shooting process. He knew whom he wanted to work with, where he wanted to shoot his scenes and so on. Sometimes he even found the shooting process quite boring, because in his head the film was ready, he just had to explain the actors what he wanted to see from them.

Every single act, item, effect is planned in the film.

“Hitchcock was a wonderful director. I remember he came up to me that first day and it made me laugh, because he said, “Now Barbara, look up,” and I’d looked up. And he’d say,” Now look down,” and I looked down. And “Now look left” I’d looked left, than he’d say, “CUT! Very good, you see,” So that was that.”

Barbara Bel Geddes, (Vertigo DVD/ Obsessed with Vertigo)

Every picture  I worked with him on was always storyboarded. Hitchcock was the only director I’ve known who never looked throught a camera. He didn’t even stand close to the camera. He would say, “You’ve got three-incher on then and you cut there.” He’d tell them where they cut and he’d always be right. He just transformed himself into the camera eye.

Peggy Robertson – Script Supervisor

On the other hand Kim Novak says:

Technical points were his main thing.  He’d always look through the lens to watch your performance, unlike directors who sit off to the side. You’d never have a sense looking at his face how he thought it was going.  He was the camera and I always felt comfortable with the camera.  It was always difficult to have a director off to the side.

Whether he looked through the lens or not, he knew all the ingredients for a good movie recipe!

On the internet there is an interesting page ( ),  where is a list of the most significant film techniques that were used by Alfred Hitchcock written by Jeff Bays, December 2007. (He is a graduate of the Webster University School of Communications, and is an award-winning radio producer and independent filmmaker. )

Jeff Bays writes a list which includes 13 steps to get closer to Alfred Hitchcock’s film techniques:

1. It`s the Mind of the audience

2. Frame for emotion

3. Camera is mot a camera

4. Dialogue Means Nothing

5. Point of view editing

6. Montage Gives you control

7. Keep the story simple

8. Characters must break Cliche

9. Use humor to add Tension

10. Two things happening at once

11. Suspense is Information

12. Surprise and twist

13. Warning: May cause MacGuffin

I would like to have a closer look at Jeff Bays’ 5th and 6th step:

5th step: The Point of view editing

Putting an idea into the mind of the character without explaining it in dialogue is done by using a point-of-view shot sequence. This is subjective cinema. You take the eyes of the characters and add something for them to look at.

You can edit back and forth between the character and the subject as many times as you want to build tension. The audience won’t get bored.  This is the most powerful form of cinema, even more important than acting.  To take it even further have the actor walk toward the subject.  Switch to a tracking shot to show his changing perspective as he walks. The audience will believe they are sharing something personal with the character.  This is what Hitchcock calls “pure cinema.” (Truffaut)

Note: If another person looks at the character in point-of-view they must look directly at the camera.

The point of view editing puts the audience as active as the leader character. We can see the actor to look something, then we see what he is seeing, than we are back to the actor and see his reaction. In Vertigo when Jimmy Stewart is detect after Kim Novak for long minutes, there is no dialogue, only shot after shot with the point of view editing technique. That is what he called and believed in: Pure cinema.

6th step: Montage give you control

Hitchcock said  “transferring the menace from the screen into the mind of the audience.” (Schickel)  The famous shower scene in Psycho uses montage to hide the violence.  You never see the knife hitting Janet Leigh.  The impression of violence is done with quick editing, and the killing takes place inside the viewer’s head rather than the screen.  Also important is knowing when not to cut. (Truffaut)

In this short interview Hitchcock shows us how the meaning of the shots can easily be changed. The key is always in the mind of the audience!



Vertigo DVD/ Obsessed with Vertigo

Vertigo DVD- Newly restored version / Production Notes

Questions arising:

1. What details the other 11 steps on the list contains?

2. The Psycho scene become famous because the audience saw a real murder in the cinema. Logically we use our imagination… can the modern cinema destroy our imagination?

3. Who is/was Truffaut, Schickel? What connection did they have with Hitchcock?

Newly restored Vertigo

November 6, 2009

“Where Vertigo was first released, it was not one of it`s greatest hits. But time does things to movies & the way we see them. But along the way it was almost lost to us forever.” James C. Katz & Robert A. Harris (Restoration Producer)

Restoration team James C. Katz (left) and Robert A. Harris.

We chose Vertigo as a candidate for reservation for 2 reasons:

Number 1- It`s a great film. It`s one of the most important films ever made.

Number 2-The film elements themselves, both picture and sound, were in dire need of preservation.

The film was last released theatrically in 1984, and the audiences have not seen on the big screen for 12 years.

At first they had to do: lots of research, put all the elements together and decide whether they can do the restoration at all. (There are many films that are not possible to restore)

“When we first opened  the cans on Vertigo, basically what we found was a faded negative. Virtually looked as though the negative had been dragged on the floor before it had been printed, and we had differential shrinkage between the yellow, cyan and magenta separation masters, which really led us to restore the film in a totally different manner.”

” To preserve a film is a phone call, a purchase order, a lab order. To restore a film is a year or two years of work and a major commitment.”

Robert A. Harris

Universal would commit more than a million dollars to the restoration of Vertigo. The restoration took  2 years. They were restoring more than a thousand pieces of film negative & using original technicolor prints of reference, they experiement with modern film stocks and proecessing techniques to recreate the precise visual texture Hitchcock intended for every shot.

Vertigo was photographed in a Paramount process called Vista Vision which was an extremely high quality process which was normally reduction-printed to 35-millimeter. Vista Vision went through the camera from right to left. It was horizontal and it was a double-frame 35-millimeter image then they had converting it to 70 mm /D.T.S. (large format)!

Harris: Vertigo was shot in Vistavision, a negative twice the size of 35 millimeter. It lends itself perfectly to 70 millimeter. It’s really being seen [now] in large format the way it was photographed, the size it was photographed, for the first time in 38 years. There are things you’re going to see in this film that have never been seen before. You can see details – I’ll give you one example. When Judy steps [across her apartment toward Ferguson] as Madeleine once again, you see the muscles in her cheeks twitching and her lips moving, and you could not see that in 35 millimeter.

They left a new 65-millimeter preservation negative. They left a 65-millimeter duplicating positive. Hopefully it will last at least 200 years.

In 1996, the film was given a lengthy and controversial restoration and re-released to theaters. The new print featured restored color and newly created audio, utilizing modern sound effects mixed in DTS digital surround sound. In October 1996, the restored Vertigo premiered at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, exhibited for the first time in DTS and 70 mm, a format with a similar frame size to the VistaVision system in which it was originally shot.

Audiences are going to see a film that Hitchcock never saw. They’re going to see a 70 millimeter DTS version of a 1958 classic. People who think they’ve seen the film haven’t seen the film. We hope audiences that don’t know how it ends will come and see this version. It looks as good as this picture has in 30 years.

James C. Katz

Because of the restoration, we can see a huge bruise on Kim Novak`s knee as Jimmy Stewart pulls her out of San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco Bay


Awesome and brilliant, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo was recently restored, and its power is immense. Jimmy Stewart never did finer work, and Hitchcock’s masterpiece, though its meaning may be lost on many, reveals a man at his most obsessed — an apt metaphor for Hitch himself. The restored Vertigo features vibrant colors and a crystal clear soundtrack, but it’s the tale of Stewart’s heights-fearing detective who gets caught up with the woman he’s investigating that makes Vertigosuch a treat. Old San Francisco has never looked more devious, and Hitchcock has never been better.

A film review by Christopher Null – Copyright © 1996

He kept fiendish control of the movies he made, planning shots down to the tiniest details before he arrived on the set. But when it came to caring for the film negatives and soundtrack recordings — the proof of his genius — Alfred Hitchcock was the man who didn’t know too much.

”Hitch was ill-advised,” says producer James Katz, who has made a minicareer of salvaging great movies in partnership with restoration expert Robert Harris. They’ve already snatched such vintage mega-productions as My Fair Lady and Spartacus from the ravages of neglect, and two years ago Universal Pictures commissioned them to work their makeover magic on Vertigo, Hitchcock’s 1958 masterwork of sexual fetishism starring James Stewart in a series of cold sweats and Kim Novak in a series of hot outfits. What Katz and Harris uncovered was more shocking than the plot twists: Reel after reel of film materials was kinky, shrunken, torn, faded, mottled, or decomposing to vinegar. In a few more years, what remained might have been Vertigone.

Turning 1,300 separate pieces of original camera negative into a new negative and prints goes beyond complicated, but even the least techno-centric moviegoer will recognize the spellbinding quality of the results in the big-screen, major-city venues booked for Vertigo‘s rerelease over the next two months: Have Jimmy Stewart’s eyes ever looked so blue, or San Francisco so dreamily gorgeous?

The restorers’ most impressive wizardry, though, is sonic. Because they found high-fidelity stereo tracks for Bernard Herrmann’s soaring score, they ”made the music another major star of the movie,” says Katz. And therein lay a major snag. Once remixed in thundering DTS digital stereo, the orchestrations all but drowned out the tinny sound effects in surviving prints. That meant they had to be researched and rerecorded from scratch — from the proper pitch of a Karmann Ghia engine (for the car Barbara Bel Geddes’ character drives) to the make of pistol a cop fires in the movie’s thrillingly noisy initial chase.

While mixing sound levels, Katz and Harris worked from Hitchcock’s own dubbing notes. And when that failed to settle judgment calls, they sought out a still-living master: Martin Scorsese pronounced the surf in one Golden Gate scene ”too loud.” The waters receded, but the restoration’s expanded sound field still makes Vertigo a more bracing plunge than it’s ever been.

Brush Up You Hitchcock by Steve Daly,,294640,00.html

My mother saw Vertigo in her childhood, and last week she saw the Newly Restored version. She did not feel the difference. It is unquestionable, that the restoration was a good step. We are lucky to have a masterpiece like Vertigo. My point is: the old and the new version have the same Hitchcock feeling.



Is there a significant difference between the old Vertigo and the Newly restored Vertigo?


Vertigo Newly Restored DVD / Obsessed with Vertigo