Hitchcock's vertigo: The collapse of a rescue fantasy

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This chapter offers a psychoanalytic exploration of Alfred Hitchcock's film, Vertigo. G. O. Gabbard relates this theme to Hitchcock's own 'lifelong struggles with dependency, women and sadism', documented by several biographical episodes. Such contents can be easily tied to Hitchcock's own pathology, as suggested by R. J. Almansi, in the tradition of psychoanalytic pathography, which is characterised by an unacknowledged global transference: artist and figures are seen as sick patients. It represents Hitchcock's artistic maturation, a freedom to cast doubt upon conventional wisdoms, including the power of psychoanalytic interpretation as a method of establishing objective reality, as well as a vehicle of rescue. Scottie, dominated by a tenacious Pygmalion fantasy, obsessively and fetishistically attempts now to mould Judy into Madeleine, in spite of her reluctance and fear. Rescuing Madeleine from drowning, Scottie becomes—as many of us are, in our daydreams—Orpheus, struggling to bring Eurydice back from Hades.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychoanalysis and Film
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9780429903472
ISBN (Print)9781855752757
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2001 Institute of Psychoanalysis; chapters 1-25.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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