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.
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