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The metaphysical filmscapes of Hitchcock's Vertigo

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Title:
The metaphysical filmscapes of Hitchcock's Vertigo
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Wigdahl, Matthew
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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xi, 116 leaves : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 29 cm

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Vertigo (Motion picture : 1958) ( lcsh )
Vertigo (Motion picture : 1958) ( fast )
Metaphysics in art ( lcsh )
Metaphysics in art ( fast )
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Criticism, interpretation, etc. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Criticism, interpretation, etc ( fast )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 111-116).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Humanities
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Matthew Wigdahl.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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Full Text
THE METAPHYSICAL FILMSCAPES OF
HITCHCOCKS VERTIGO
by
Matthew Wigdahl
B.A., Colorado State University, 1974
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
1997


1997 by Matthew John Wigdahl
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Humanities
degree by
Matthew Wigdahl
has been approved
by
Stephanie'
Susan E. Linville
dMllrt
Date


Wigdahl, Matthew (M.H.)
The Metaphysical Filmscapes of Hitchcocks Vertigo
Thesis directed by Professor M. Kent Casper
ABSTRACT
An acknowleged film masterpiece, Alfred
Hitchcocks Vertigo (1958) manifests a cinematic
evocation of the early phase of Giorgio de Chiricos style
of Metaphysical painting. From 1910 to 1917 de
Chiricos works exhibit four methods to represent our
interior psychological and spiritual states. Exterior
vistas mark silent and dream-like cityscapes featuring
vague human figures, elongated shadows, receding
arcades, obtrusive statuary, and looming towers. He soon
combined these oneiric landscapes with oddly and
arcanely juxtaposed objects. Eventually, metaphysical
interiors evince a claustrophobic conflation of illusion
and reality. Finally, his mannequin figures elicit a
iv


strangely balanced sense of calm and foreboding.
Each of these manifestations of figure and space is
evoked in Vertigo. The films dislocated characters
experience their wanderings against vast backgrounds
and among crowded interiors which eerily recall the
iconography and the dimensions of de Chiricos art. De
Chiricos way of seeing functions proto-cinematically.
It anticipates the generative power of films imagery
rather than cinemas tendency to develop plot and to
serve narrative. Hitchcock, one of films greatest
auteurs, bodies forth this generative power of the filmic
image in his masterpiece, Vertigo.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidates thesis. I recommend its publication.
Signed
M. Kent Casper
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Many thanks to my graduate committee: Professors Kent
Casper, Stephanie Grilli, and Susan Linville for their
inspiration, encouragement and support.
Additionally, thanks to my students Beau and Sam for
their ideas and reflections.
I am especially indebted to Dan Chabas and Mary Kay
Loner for their efforts in developing this papers photo
reproductions.
Finally, to my wife, Pam, for her inexhaustible patience,
love, and time.


CONTENTS
Figures..........................................ix
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION: FILM AND PAINTING................1
2. DE CHIRICO AND THE PITTURA METAFISICA..........7
De Chirican Seeing and Metaphysical
Cinema.....................................13
3. VERTIGO: WANDERINGS AND VISIONS IN DE
CHIRICAN FILMSCAPES............................18
Interiors................................ 27
Seeing and Wandering.................34
Profiles and Portraiture.............37
Shadows and Selves...................40
Filmscapes.................................41
Equilibrium..........................47
Spatiality and Iconography.................51
The Emerging Towers........................57
Mission San Juan Bautista..................67
VII


Re-Visions
72
APPENDIX
Figures......................................75
BIBLIOGRAPHY.......................................111
viii


FIGURES
Figure
3.1 Still from Vertigo, Scottie on the Ledge............75
3.2 Giorgio de Chirico, The Tower.......................76
3.3 Giorgio de Chirico, The Great Tower.................77
3.4 Giorgio de Chirico, The Rose Tower..................78
3.5 Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of the Oracle........79
3.6 Still from Vertigo, The Belfry Tower................80
3.7 Arnold Bocklin, Odysseus and Calypso................81
3.8 Giorgio de Chirico, Grand Metaphysical
Interior........................................82
3.9 Still from Vertigo, Midges Apartment...............83
3.10 Still from Vertigo, Chasm and Flowers...............84
3.11 Giorgio de Chirico, Hector and Andromache...........85
3.12 Giorgio de Chirico, The Fatal Light.................86
3.13 Giorgio de Chirico, The Endless Voyage..............87
3.14 Still from Vertigo, The Flower Shop.................88
3.1 5 Giorgio de Chirico, The Jewish Angel.............. 89
IX


3.16 Giorgio de Chirico, The Double Dream of
Spring..........................................90
3.17 Still from Vertigo, Mission Dolores.................91
3.18 Arnold Bocklin, The Isle of the Dead................92
3.19 Still from Vertigo, The Cemetery at Mission
Dolores.........................................93
3.20 Still from Vertigo, Palace of the Legion of
Honor...........................................94
3.21 Giorgio de Chirico, The Lassitude of the
Infinite........................................95
3.22 Giorgio de Chirico, The Delights of the Poet.......96
3.23 Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of the Hour..........97
3.24 Still from Vertigo, The Dare of the Sovereign.......98
3.25 Giorgio de Chirico, The Departure of the Poet.....99
3.26 Still from Vertigo, Old Fort Point.................100
3.27 Giorgio de Chirico, Mystery and Melancholy of a
Street.........................................101
3.28 Still from Vertigo, Scotties Apartment...........102
3.29 Still from Vertigo, Parody of Carlotta............103
3.30 Still from Vertigo, Doorway at Dawn...............104
x


3.31 Still from Vertigo, Arcade at San Juan
Bautista........................................105
3.32 Giorgio de Chirico, Melancholy......................106
3.33 Still from Vertigo, The Tower from Below............107
3.34 Giorgio de Chirico, The Nostalgia of the
Infinite........................................108
3.35 Still from Vertigo, The Tower from Above............109
3.36 Still from Vertigo, Return to the Tower.............110
XI


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION: FILM AND PAINTING
Given the evident likenesses between painting and film, it
is surprising how few critical studies based in either discipline
have addressed them jointly.1 Dudley Andrews insightful work
Film In The Aura Of Art posits the idea that fertile films are
obsessed by the tradition of art behind them.2 According to
Andrew, cinema renews art. Adopting the spirit of Andre Bazin
and Walter Benjamin, he asserts that the mechanically reproduced
nature of film reinvigorates arts withering aura. In separate
essays on such distinct masters of cinema as Griffith, Murnau,
Vigo, Capra, Delannoy, Bresson, Olivier, Welles, and Mizoguchi,
Andrew examines the inheritance that film derives from art and
the restoration it extends to the traditions of painting and
1 I am referring to full-length studies. There have, of course, been a considerable
number of briefer examinations throughout both disciplines. I will reference the pertinent
ones in this paper.
2 Dudley Andrew, Film In The Aura Of Art (Princeton University Press, 1984), pp. xi-
xii.
1


literature. His study of Oliviers Henry V, for example,
acknowledges the films obligations to its literary antecedent
and assesses the works revitalizations of Shakespeare.
Additionally, Andrew details the films appropriation of some of
paintings venerated images such as those of the Limbourg
Brothers and Jan Vermeer.
Dudley Andrews film criticism is compelling. However, I
think it accurate to read him as a critic who, at least in Film In
The Aura Of Art, is focusing principally on the nature of the art
film, not on the interaction of the two art forms. My approach to
the interdisciplinary nature of this study has been strongly
influenced by Anne Hollanders text Moving Pictures which
comprehensively explores the proto-cinematic natures of works
from five centuries of Western art. Extending her books vast
scope from the Late Gothic style of Jan Van Eyck to the urban
Impressionism of Gustave Caillebotte, Hollander argues that art
anticipated film; indeed, that paintings functioned cinematically
in their ability to evoke psychic movement in viewers. According
to Hollander, the impulses for cinema have, for generations, been
embedded in European paintings. Hollander has comprehensively
2


linked the two traditions. Her analyses encourage further
advances into the vast and unexplored affinities between film and
art, the likes of which this paper endeavors to investigate.
Such explorations comprise Angela Dalle Vacches recent
book, Cinema and Painting. Using the visual image as the unifying
factor of painting and cinema, Dalle Vacche studies how eight
films incorporate diverse pictorial sources and traditions.3 She
also examines the interplay of the two media, the dialogical
nature of the image and the word, and the relationship between
creativity and gender.
Cinema and Painting is an expansive text, yet through a
variety of analytical approaches it tries to keep its sights on the
image andwith each film it studiesto continually readdress
the images generative power. In her chapter on F. W. Murnaus
Nosferatu, Dalle Vacche traces the films balanced
manifestations of Romantic and Expressionist painting. After
identifying Nosferatus own position in the contemporary context
of German Expressionist cinema, she positions it in a larger art-
3 Dalle Vacches Cinema and Painting (University of Texas Press) 1996, includes
essays on Minnellis An American in Paris, Antonionis Red Desert, Rohmers The Marquise of
O, Godards Pierrot ie Fou, Tarkovskys Andrei Rublev, Murnaus Nosferatu, Mizoguchis Five
Women around Utamaro, and Cavaliers Therese.
3


historical milieu-observing its pictorial relationship to the
work of painters in both Die Brucke and Der Blaue Reiter as well
as citing its visual evocations of nineteenth-century German art.
For example, she specifically notes that in its opening shot the
film references the work of the expressionist painter Ernst
Ludwig Kirchner. Further, she also reveals how throughout
Nosferatu Murnau extensively draws on remoter Romantic
pictorial traditions conveyed in the landscapes of Caspar David
Friedrich.
To a considerable degree, Dalle Vacche treats Nosferatu as
a film whose various mise en scene recall and reflect these
artists paintings. From Dalle Vacches critical perspective, the
filmmaker Murnau is effectively using the screen as a canvas. In
another analysis of a film whose director literally does paint the
natural settings used in his work, Michelangelo Antonionis Red
Desert, Dalle Vacche adopts a different approach. She
simultaneously retreats from and adheres to the idea of the
auteur as the singular creative force behind the painterly design
of the shot. With Red Desert, Dalle Vacche argues that Antonioni
uses his characters (Guilianas) eyes to paint, thus increasing
4


his freedom as a director who wants to insert abstract images
into the cinema.4
Whether through the auteur-based approach of equating the
director with the painter, or via the ocular ventriloquism5 of
Antonioni, or, additionally, in the varied manner of her half-dozen
other examinations, Dalle Vacches consideration of how art is
used in film invites us (further than Andrews or Hollanders
work) to look into the correspondences between cinema and
painting that the image elicits.
Dalle Vacches analyses of Red Desert and Nosferatu
provide a bridge to my own specific study. She associates the
cinematic atmospheres of both Antonioni and Murnau with the
twentieth-century Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.6 This
critical approach conveniently links to my intentions here which
4 Dalle Vacche, p. 62.
5 Dalle Vacches thoroughly discusses this metaphor of ventriloquism in her book's
chapter on Red Desert.
6 Dalle Vacches arguments are generally tenable; however, I disagree with the way
she specifically relates the visual atmospheres of de Chiricos works to either directors films.
Her evocations of de Chirico would be better applied to the first three films of Antonionis
tetralogy, LAwentura, La Notte, and L'Eclisse, films which bear much more pronounced
visual correspondences (particularly LAwentura) to de Chiricos art than does Red Desert.
Additionally, her application of de Chirico to Murnau stretches the tenuous visual affinity
between Nosferatu and de Chiricos paintings to fit what she identifies as their common
aesthetic connection, a kind of surrealist sense of mystery. Dalle Vacche primarily compares
the perspectival relationships between early de Chiricos in general and Nosferatu's town of
Wisborg.
5


are to examine the pictorial relationship between Alfred
Hitchcocks Vertigo and de Chiricos early paintings.
Andrew, Hollander and Dalle Vacche delineate a variety of
ways to investigate the kinship between cinema and painting. The
aesthetic and thematic similarities apparent in the art and the
films they examine invite the varied approaches. Sharing common
perceptual starting ground with these critics, my study derives
its original impetus from observing an infusing presence of de
Chiricos unique metaphysical space and iconography in
Hitchcocks Vertigo and maintains an extended examination of
the reciprocally generative power of the mise en scene found in
both the film and in the paintings.
6


CHAPTER 2
DE CHIRICO AND THE PITTURA METAFISICA
Vertigo is a cinematic manifestation of Metaphysical
painting. So persuasive is the films metaphysical look that a
close study of its purely visual nature merits at least a cursory
examination of the aesthetic tenets which this particular school
of art evinces. The pittura metafisica is an Italian art movement
and a style of painting formed during the first World War
principally by Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra. It is usually
dissatisfying to even attempt a concise definition of a school of
art, but in broad art-historical terms, pittura metafisica can be
seen as proto-Surrealist in that it attempts to represent an
alternative reality that could convey an unconscious state by
depicting dislocated objects incongruously. Both de Chirico and
Carra claim to be the originator of Metaphysical painting. The
dispute still lingers long after their deaths, but the pictorial
evidence strongly suggests that de Chirico is the seminal
7


influence.7
In strict terms, the designation pittura metafisica is
problematic and can be somewhat misleading. Specifically, this
label and its anglicized equivalent refer to the paintings,
manifestoes, and articles which were executed, announced, and
written by de Chirico, Carra, Filippo de Pisis, Giorgio Morandi,
Alberto Savinio (de Chiricos brother) and others beginning in
1916 and continuing through 1921. Approaching both the term and
the style less formally allows us a more comprehensive yet a
keener understanding of what is meant by Metaphysical. Since
James Thrall Sobys first monogram on de Chirico appeared in
1941, nearly every critical observer of de Chirico has stretched
the term to apply it to the early body of his work. Prior to that,
7 The argument over who originated Metaphysical painting remains unsettled. For a
relevant discussion see Caroline Tisdalls Historical Foreword in Massimo Carra, Patrick
Waldberg, and Ewald Rathke, Metaphysical Art, (Praeger: New York, 1971), pp. 7-16. Tisdall
points out: It should also be remembered that when they met in 1917 both painters had
distinguished achievements behind them: Carra as leading member of the Futurist movement
in Italy, and de Chirico as the sole exponent of his personal vision of the enigmatic in Paris.
This asociation of Carra with the Futurists is evidence enough to rule him out as the primary
source of the style. Despite some peripheral affinities, the similarities between the Futurists
and the Metaphysical painters are few. To a significant degree the two art movements are
antithetical. The Futurists formal links with Cubism via their infatuation with the machine put
them at odds with the dream-like enigmas of the purely Metaphysical. So even though Carra
appears to undergo a crisis with his Cubist/Futurist roots as early as 1914, his claim diminishes
due to this previous association. And it nearly disappears in the light of de Chiricos earlier
works which, dating from 1910, clearly manifest qualities which both artists espouse in later
writings about the painterly and architectonic nature of the Metaphysical.
8


in his Surrealist manifestoes of the mid-1920s, Andre Breton
acknowledged the metaphysical nature of de Chiricos pre-1916
paintings. Guillaume Apollonaire expressed similar reactions
upon viewing (and in many instances titling) de Chiricos works at
or very near the times of their creation or exhibition. Most
importantly, de Chirico himself used the word metaphysical in
his own writings beginning as early as 1910. The broader
connotation of metaphysical that I will employ is based on the
tradition the term has been accorded throughout its nearly ninety
years of aesthetic and critical application. Thus, Giorgio de
Chiricos personal vision of the enigmatic as manifested in his
paintings from 1910 through 1917 functions here as the
touchstone of the Metaphysical.
The aesthetic connotations of the term and the foundations
of the formal art movement itself receive insightful and
impartial treatment in the essay Quest for a New Art by none
other than the son of de Chiricos collaborator turned rival,
Massimo Carra. The younger Carra cites art historian Werner
9


Haftmann who applies Nietzschean and Schopenhauerian casts.8
The observations offered by Haftmannwhile they are focused
strictly on the products of pittura metafisicaalso encompass
the nature of the genius of de Chiricos earlier creative
outpouring. Moreover, there is an anticipation of the subsequent
Surrealist embodiment of this Metaphysical aesthetic and style:
Pittura Metafisica did not contribute a new kind of painting,
but a new vision of things. This group of painters
experienced the world of things as alien and mysterious-
reflecting the modern attitude towards reality. There was
something disquieting about the way an inanimate object,
seemingly withdrawn into its solemn steadfastness, could
affect human emotions. Any old thing forgotten in a corner,
if the eye dwelt on it, acquired an eloquence of its own,
communicating its lyricism and magic to the kindred soul.
If a neglected object of this kind were forcibly isolated,
that is divested of its warmth and of the protective coat
of its environment, or even ironically combined with
completely unrelated things, it would reassert its dignity
in the new context and stand there, incomprehensible,
8 Two nineteenth-century philosophical perspectives underlie the spirit and stance of
Metaphysical painting. By extension, I think they also imbue the cinematic atmosphere of
Hitchcocks Vertigo. The first of these philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche, from whom de
Chirico derives so much of the impetus for his art, proclaims in The Birth of Tragedy that the
man of philosophic turn has a foreboding that underneath this reality in which we live and have
our being, another and altogether different reality lies concealed, and that therefore it [the
latter reality] is also an appearance. This excerpt, Nietzsches frequently-cited presentiment,
concerned as it is with apparent or even subliminally apparent realities, proceeds from intuition
through which it calls these worlds of appearance into doubt. In the same text and just
immediately after this, Nietzsche asserts that Schopenhauer (the second and the remoter of
these philosophical influences upon developments in de Chiricos art) actually designates
the gift of occasionally regarding men and things as mere phantoms and dream-pictures as
the criterion of philosophical ability. In a number of early writings, de Chirico cites the
influences of both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer on his method of seeing.
10


weird, mysterious.9
Besides echoing those nineteenth-century philosophical
voices of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche--so integral to the
formulation of the young de Chiricos aestheticHaftmanns
interpretation of the Metaphysical style anticipates aspects of
film theory. Both the philosophical and the filmic associations
are evidenced in his remark about the objects ability to acquire
an eloquence of its own. According to Haftmann, to achieve a
metaphysical vision the eye must dwell upon the mundane object
for that object to convey its lyricism and magic. This extended
and penetrative seeing is at the core of Andre Bazins film
theory.10 Bazinwho championed the Italian neorealist
filmmakers and celebrated as well other masters of cinematic
realism, Renoir, Welles and Wyleradmired cinemas long
takes and deep focus techniques which can convey a realist
aesthetic. For Bazin the extended single take and the deep focus
photography involve the spectators participation, engaging the
9 Werner Haftmann as quoted Carra, p. 19.
10 The crux of Bazins argument occurs in the chapter entitled The Evolution of the
Language of Cinema in Bazins What is Cinema? trans. Hugh Gray (University of California
Press, 1967).
11


viewer to derive a considerably greater meaning from the single
filmic image than through that process which montage supplies.
Even though Bazin drew his inspiration from a realist filmscape
and not a metaphysical one, the method of seeing is common to
both. In each, the reciprocating eye regenerates the already
vitalized objects it sees.
In addition to associating them with their successors in
cinema, Haftmann suggestively includes the Metaphysical
painters within the larger parameters of Surrealism by examining
the ironies which emerge when an object is juxtaposed with
completely unrelated objects. Haftmanns language here is
reminiscent of the Surrealists own source of the dissociative as
expressed by Lautreamont in his famous observation about the
chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a
dissection table.11 Although it is tempting to give this creative
principle of Surrealism considerable attention, a closer analysis
of specifically metaphysical vision will provide a more direct
bridge to cinema.
11 The Surrealists claimed Isidore Ducasse, the comte de Lautreamont, to be a
principal precursor. This famous saying, although obviously linked to Surrealism, has
resonances within the metaphysical approach to seeing and painting.
12


De Chirican Seeing and Metaphysical Cinema
To find the daemon in everything12 is, for de Chirico, the
key to the metaphysical way of seeing.
And this daemon, that is, the mysterious appearance
concealed behind every object is revealed to the artist in
certain magical or abnormal moments of his creative
contemplation.13
Carra goes on to state:
It was De Chirico himself who chose Nietzsche as an
example of an artist who knew how to gather these happy
moments of the metaphysical, attributing to him the merit
of having taught the non-sense of life, and how this non-
sense can be transformed into art. . The Fearful void
discovered in this way is itself the inanimate and calm
beauty of matter. To this void and illogic De Chirico
assigns the meaning of magic, the means of capturing the
daemon.14
Carra expands on the spectral nature of de Chiricos philosophical
bases for painting and further delineates his technique:
It seems that De Chirico resolutely pursued this tone of
fantasy and fiction, that an element of narrative was dear
to him more for its magic than for its discursive contents.
12 Carra, p. 20. Here he is quoting de Chirico from the painter's own writing of 1918.
13 Carra, p. 20.
14 Carra, p. 20.
13


His means to this end included many subtle mannerisms,
even subterfuges: violent light flowing from the sides to
penetrate the composition in a melodramatic way, raw
shadows and impetuous colors, presences as ambiguous as
absences, real or imagined, but suggested, images between
mystery and suspense, Nordic nostalgia for the unknowable,
and intellectual irony. All these elements used with, at
times, over skillful mastery create the impression of a
great theatrical inspiration.15
Art historians often refer to de Chiricos paintings as
spatial theater. The works may indeed be inspired by the theater
or perhaps painted to render its effects; yet, to me, nearly the
complete scope of the early de Chirico oeuvre, his output
beginning in 1910 and extending through at least 1917, is
cinematic or, more toward my purposes, proto-cinematic. I see
in these paintings anticipations of filmic space and iconography
as they will be evoked and utilized by some of films most
notable directors. Certain auteurs, the aforementioned Murnau
and Antonioni for example, share broader aesthetic and
ontological similarities with de Chirico; however, Murnau never
really composes shots tinged with de Chirican atmospheres or
characterized by his arcanely juxtaposed objects, and Antonionis
cinemadespite the avowed similaritiesmaintains an
15Carra, p. 20.
14


idiosyncratic sense of the metaphysical.
Many observers see in the films of Orson Welles an
expansive and Baroque use of space; however, I sense something
visually metaphysical. There is more than a mere suggestion of
the de Chirican in Welles. There are images in Citizen Kane which
subtly recollect perspectival devices and atmospheric effects
that the Metaphysical painter employs. In the Jed Leland
flashback episode of Kane, the reporter Thompson seeks and then
finds an aging and hospitalized Leland in order to glean more
information about Kanes enigmatic deathbed utterance. I have
long seen the space before and beyond the architectonics of the
looming bridge as well as the receding and rondured distance
from the hospitals rooftop promenade as filmic realizations of
the metaphysical. These images, in addition to other Welles
designs,16 shot in a softened deep focus by Gregg Toland, seem
cinematic expressions of de Chirico.
Space, then, whether it be the expansive and melancholic
emptiness of de Chiricos piazzas or the crowded juxtapositions
16 Although I tend to agree with those who say that the filmic space of The
Magnificant Ambersons (1942) evinces a sense of the Baroque, I think that at least two of
Welles later works, The Lady from Shangai (1948) and, to a pronounced degree, A Touch of
Evil (1958) convey an evocation of de Chirico.
15


of his interiors, informs the Metaphysical. Space is the source of
de Chiricos aesthetic. To return briefly to the painter himself:
We are constructing in our painting a new metaphysical
psychology of things. The absolute awareness of the space
that an object must occupy in a painting, and of the space
that divides each object from the others, establishes a new
astronomy of things connected to our planet by the fatal
law of gravity.17
The emotive power of de Chirican space18its disquieting
atmospheres of receding colonnades and elongated shadows; the
baffling dimensionality of its overlapped planes and figures
among illusory interiors; and the mysterious and incongruous
possibilities evinced in the isolations and juxtapositions of its
objectsindeed, all the pictorial elements which comprise the
metaphysical plenitude of de Chiricos artare most
significantly and beautifully developed in narrative cinema in
Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo. In this masterpiece, film bodies
forth an evocation of Metaphysical art.
The films affinities to de Chiricos art rise from the
compelling arrangements of its cinematic space which invites us
17Carra, 21
18 The description emotive, because it has been noted by so many observers of de
Chirico, becomes operative in any critical investigation of his art.
16


to see it as we would a painting. Thus, Hitchcocks work merits
repeated viewings and asks its spectators to see past its
pleasure-driven look or its murderous gaze into its painterly
scope. Through reseeing it, we come to know the compressed and
reflective interiors, the vague and melancholy distances, and the
distracted and isolated human figures of Vertigo as
metaphysical.19
19 The Metaphysical vision in Hitchcock, which I will develop extensively in my next
chapters analysis of Vertigo, manifests itself, albeit sporadically, in all periods of his
filmmaking. There is a shot in The Thirty-Nine Sfeps(1935) which was the first Hitchcockian
image to impress upon me its metaphysical character. Richard Hannay has just encountered
the distrusting Scottish crofter. Hannay inquires about a obtaining a ride in a departing van
which the crofter says is going the other way. The shot of the van, the lighting upon it, and its
overall cinematic atmosphere all convey something quite Metaphysical. There are many other
images throughout Hitchcocks work which seem infused by it: the windmill sequence in
Foreign Correspondent (1940); the first views of the incoming train in Shadow of a Doubt
(1943); Bruno on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Strangers on a Train (1951); James
Stewart on that eerie walk up the silent London street in search of 'Ambrose Chapel in The
Man Who Knew Too Much (1956); the birds-eye matte shot of the UN plaza in North By
Northwest (1959). Since Hitchcocks films are so predicated upon mystery and enigma, it
seems only fitting to see these and so many other of his images in a metaphysical light.
17


CHAPTER 3
VERTIGO: WANDERINGS AND VISIONS IN DE CHIRICAN FILMSCAPES
The visual properties and enigmatic themes apparent in the
early works of de Chirico infuse the cinematic and psychological
atmospheres of Hitchcocks Vertigo imbuing it with a
Metaphysical look. I can find no acknowledgement of such an
influence on the part of the filmmaker; nor can I locate, for that
matter, many substantial references within the catalogue of
Hitchcock criticism which demonstrate the influence of art on
Vertigo or on any of his films.20 Evidence resides in the
delineation and analysis of the striking visual correspondences
between de Chiricos body of work from 1910 through 1917 and
Hitchcocks masterpiece.
To see the final shot of Vertigo, the image of the newly-
shocked and redevastated Scottie, emergent from the shadowed
20 Of course, the fact that Hitchcock commisioned the Surrealist Salvador Dali to
design the dream sequence in Spellbound(1945) stands in notable contrast to my claim. Yet
beyond this directly acknowledged incorporation of art into his films, neither Hitchcock nor his
myriad observers, reviewers and critics make much reference to his films manifestations of
painting.
18


and arched window of the towers belfry, is to be visually
reminded of de Chirico. Although the process of being reminded
may suggest something rather mundane, the very act of
reminiscence proves fitting to Vertigo as it does to de Chirico.
Because reminiscence itself denotes the apprehension of an idea
known in a previous existence, it applies to both. Thus, not only
is the reaction attuned to the character of Scottie, whose failed
second chance with Judy/Madeleine simultaneously reveals to
him the apparent reality and the real guise of his own and of his
loves prior existences; but additionally, the observation
because of its doubled view of the artistic representation as
something which is at once cinematic and painterlyis
instinctively and intuitively metaphysical.
Perhaps Scotties climactic emergence from the missions
tower onto its ledge (Fig. 3.1) reminds us of the painters work by
the waving of Scotties tie, an image reminiscent of those
fluttering pennants atop so many of de Chiricos towers in what
otherwise seem breathlessly quiet atmospheres. More likely it is
the eerie and dramatic play of figure and ground created by the
relationship of the roughly-plastered tower wall and the deeply
19


recessive sky that recalls de Chirico. One would think that all of
our visual attention would be drawn to Scottie, shocked out of
and perhaps back into his vertigo by the sudden, second death of
his own re-creation. And it almost is, but for Hitchcocks
framing which leaves perhaps one/fifth of the composition of the
shot open to the tragically receding sky, our visual abyssan
equivalent to what Scottie sees beneath himthus a
metaphysical expression of Scotties desolated interior state.21
For the first of many instances in Vertigo, De Chiricos most
noted aesthetic dictum comes to mind: Who can deny the
troubling connection that exists between perspective and
metaphysics?22
Other factors that comprise the final shot of Vertigo
simultaneously reinforce and counter typically de Chirican
devices. It is unlike a de Chirico in that it is a relatively close
shot from a midair perspective. In most of his Tower paintings,
De Chiricos point-of-view is usually from a grounded or slightly
21 I am reminded of Antonionis shot of Lidia (Jeanne Moreau) in La Notte where the
character appears about to be crushed by the wall which dominates an even greater
percentage of the screen than does the towers exterior in the final shot olVertigo.
Antonionis aesthetic kinship with de Chirico is much more pronounced.
22 Cited in Soby from de Chiricos own writing in the Italian magazine, II Convegno.
20


suspended distance, and what is even more likely, it is painted
from the filmic equivalent of a long shot or an extreme long shot.
De Chiricos towers stand off, rise up or loom high above, and in
this, they bear a much closer relationship to so many other of the
movies images to be addressed. (Fig. 3.2: The Tower, 1911-12,
Paris, Collection Bernard Poissonnier; Fig. 3.3: The Great Tower,
1913, Paris, Collection Bernard Poissonnier; and Fig. 3.4: The Rose
Tower, 1913, Venice, Collection Peggy Guggenheim.)
However, before leaving the films climactic tower shot, a
frame aptly representative of the mature Hitchcock, we must
readdress images within it and immediately preceeding it which
recall seminal figures in the art of the young de Chirico.
Scotties downcast posture apparent in figure 3.1, subtly evokes
an image of de Chiricos own in The Enigma of the Oracle (Fig.
3.5: 1910, Venice, Private Collection). In this work, a shrouded
and, by a subtle suggestion, nearly headless figure stands on the
edge of a lofty chambers precipice under a fluttering black
curtain. The mysterious figure appears to lean out, precariously
balanced, as if about to plummet into the abyss. A second figure,
with only its ghostly white head and shoulders visible, looms
21


from behind another black curtain drawn closed on the paintings
right side.
Isolated, the shrouded figure resembles Scottie, slightly
hunched and enwrapped by the dark arch behind him. Yet our
perspective of the two figures is completely different. Whereas
we see the filmed image from the characters front, de Chiricos
shrouded figure is viewed obliquely from behind and from its left.
With each, the downward tilt of the head suggests the enigmatic.
In the de Chirican figure, the mystery lies in the unanswerable:
what does it see? what oracular knowledge has it gained? With
the Hitchcock, we share the characters knowledge. It is his next
step that remains in doubt.
The resemblance of this mysterious early de Chirican figure
to the emotionally shattered Scottie of Vertigo is not completely
uncanny. It does suggest that Hitchcock was, to some degree,
aware of the visual allusion.23 Just prior to the climax and back
inside the belfry, the films penultimate shots of Scottie and
Judy (Fig. 3.6) offer other visual links to The Enigma of the
23 Hitchcocks training in art history might partially explain his apparent adaptation of
the image. His use of the figure perched on a precipice is a motif often referenced in
Symbolist art, from whose larger aesthetic atmosphere Vertigo perhaps may draw upon.
22


Oracle, reinforcing the metaphysical natures of both images.
Scottie has brought Judy to the top of the tower to free
himself by exorcising his past. This second chance in many
ways duplicates the behavior of Gavin Elster, who used Scottie
for his own murderous purposes. Having arrived in the belfry
through its trapdoor, Scottie flings Judy toward its edge and the
edge of the films frame leaving a considerable space between her
and himself. Behind this space looms the dark presence of the
towers bell, beyond which, out another arched opening, we see
glimpses of the foreboding sky.
In The Enigma of the Oracle and the first belfry shot of the
climax to Vertigo, space assumes importance. In each work, it
seems that space fills the void. Effectively, space completes
each composition. In the de Chirico, the voluminous space before
the brick wall and above the uneven stone floor imparts the
unknowable essence of the oracles enigma. In Vertigo, the space
conveys the presence of a number of absent characters: Elster and
the real wife; the supposed possessing spirit, Carlotta Valdes;
perhaps even the nearly pure phantom of Judys mind, the scolding
Sister Teresa. In addition to de Chiricos own observations on the
23


supremacy of space, we recall Massimo Carra: presences as
ambiguous as absences, real or imagined, but suggested, images
between mystery and suspense.24
Hitchcocks allusion to de Chirico may not be a conscious
one, but its metaphysical spirit is nonetheless unmistakable. The
allusive nature of the film image is further compounded by the
fact that the shadowy figure in de Chiricos The Enigma of the
Oracle is borrowed quite directly from an artist whose work he
avowedly imitated, the Swiss painter Arnold Bocklin. A
strikingly similar figure to the shrouded one in de Chirico occurs
in Bocklins Odysseus and Calypso (Fig. 3.7: 1881-83, Basel,
Kunstmuseum). In the Bocklin as in the de Chirico, the figure is
placed on the far left of the canvas and turned obliquely away
from us. But in the Bocklin, the figure is completely silhouetted
and, more important, not literally on a precipice but on the shore
of the sea. For this is a man of candor, yet one who is seemingly
cloaked in mystery. It is Odysseus at that moment in Homer when
we first encounter him near the seas edge: sick for home and
longing for Penelope, while simultaneously enthralled by Calypso,
24 Carra, p. 20.
24


who is depicted on the right side of the composition before the
arched entrance to her cave. This multiple alignment of
characters, (in fact it is a quadruple one with its descent from
the classical literary antecedent, through the two art works, and
finally to the film), intrigues in many ways. Perhaps its first
allure surfaces when we realize that the prototype for the
shrouded figure who evolves visually into Scottie is Odysseus,
the archetypal wanderer.
But setting the wandering theme of Vertigo aside for the
time, we are attracted by other ramifications of these
representative images. In all three visual sources and even in the
Homeric textual archetype, there is a brooding absence. In The
Odyssey as in the Bocklin painting, it is of course, Penelope. In
Vertigo it is the other: either the ghost of the murdered real
Madeleine; or that other, who, in the entrancing realm of the
films ironies, is actually herea simultaneous presence and
absence. Only in the de Chirico is the other presence
unidentified, but nonetheless it remains enigmatically present.
Further, a notion of the oracular informs each work.
Odysseus sojourn with Calypso is nearly at an end. The nymphs
25


own melancholy is apparent in Bocklins painting as she sits
forlorn having heard from the Olympians winged oracle, Hermes,
that the immortalsmost persuasively Athenawant Odysseus
to head home. The title of the de Chirico as well as its imagery
create the oneiric circumstance which is fraught not only with
the indecipherable interpretations of prophecies but also with
their unfathomable sources. The implication in Vertigo is that
the oracular power is embedded in the setting of the films
planned destination: the place of both its initial and revisited
climaxes, the Mission San Juan Bautista. Thus, the film evokes
the oracular through the suggested reference to the precursory
and prophetic powers of John the Baptist. But in contrast to
heralding the arrival of a greater coming, the towers mission
setting serves to witness an initial and then a second leaving.
In conscious imitation of the trajectory of the film, I will
eventually return to these concluding tower shots; however, prior
to that I will first, among other excursions, examine de Chiricos
metaphysical interiors and draw parallels to Hitchcocks own
cinematic interiors in Vertigo.
26


Interiors
Beginning in 1915 and continuing through the brief period of
his collaboration with Carlo Carra, Giorgio de Chirico created
works which he called metaphysical interiors. These are
paintings which conflated his previously developed
representations of vastness and the architectonic with oddly
juxtaposed objects and figures evincing multiply planar forms.
The paintings resemble cubism, yet they maintain a purer
metaphysical sense through their residual evocation of the
spatial, however obliquely-angled and oddly-dimensional they
may appear. Many of these works are titled as Metaphysical
Interior. Others begin that way: Metaphysical Interior with
Biscuit and Cigarette Holder, for example. Superficially then,
these Interiors appear to incorporate the analytic cubism of
Picasso and Braque into de Chiricos own seemingly proto-
surrealist milieu; but either association is peripheral. If these
27


works do not necessarily transcend form, the cubists
fascination, they go round it. And it will be recalled that
de Chiricos work is not considered purely Surrealist. He is
effectively co-opted and claimed by them in Andre Bretons First
Manifesto of Surrealism published in 1924.25
De Chiricos Grand Metaphysical Interior (Fig. 3.8: 1917,
Private Collection) provides an apt representation of this phase
of the artists work and serves as an effective link to Hitchcocks
own cinematically metaphysical interiors in Vertigo. De
Chiricos work proposes, as art historian James Thrall Soby
observes, an unforgettable counterplay between realism of
detail and fantasy of over-all invention.26 A number of
sequences in Vertigo provide filmic manifestations of this sense
of the dislocational as it can be witnessed in de Chirican
interiors. The first is Midges apartment (Fig. 3.9), the refuge
Scottie seeks after the films first fall and his ensuing
vertigo.27 Another dozen of the films designs, perhaps more, can
25 Although the Surrealists, namely Breton, were disgruntled with what they
considered de Chiricos lapsed powers, the first manifesto still identifies his early work as a
precursor of their own.
26 Soby p. 41.
27 The film's first kaleidoscopic shot employing the backward track and the forward
zoom to depict Scotties vertigo could be said to function as an interior.
28


be perceived in similar compositional terms.
Coming as it does immediately after the films prologue (a
precarious rooftop chase sequence) and particularly following the
vertiginous subjective shots before, during, and after the fall of
the policeman, the interior of Midges apartment seems a safe
enough haven. But Hitchcocks treatment of the setting, after an
establishing shot places us firmly and comfortably in it, edges us
toward multiple and more incisive ways of seeing via the use of
overlapped and angular elements of the mise en scene which
eventually convey a pronounced sense of dislocation for both the
viewer and the viewed.
The set of Midges apartment recalls the design which
comprised nearly every shot of Rear Window.28 However, in the
earlier Hitchcock film, the deep-focused space beyond the
windows invited ours as well as the characters gazing. Certain
shots of Rear Windows peopled courtyard and adjacent
apartments seem imbued with the painterly spirit of George
Bellows or, in more suspenseful or metaphysical moments of
28 As Donald Spoto in his The Art of Alfred Hitchcock has observed, the images as
well as the actor (Stewart) and the situation (incapacity) are also recalled in this opening
sequence.
29


the film, with those of his contemporary Edward Hopper.29
However here, in the establishing shot and to a considerable
extent in the backgrounds of the ensuing matching shots of
Scottie and Midge, interior and exterior elements assume a de
Chirican cast and curiously merge. The visual busyness of the
steep slopes of Telegraph Hill becomes one with the cluttered
foreground of Midges studio. Planar distinctions blur. The initial
part of Vertigo's first interior sequence is primarily composed of
finely-fitted matching shots, each of which contains only one
character. Scottie and Midge may be in the same room, but after
the establishing shot we see them only in isolated frames. They
are juxtaposed cinematically by montage. Here Hitchcocks use of
an element of traditional film language30 tells the story, but it is
the pictorial depth and the rich iconography of each interiors
mise en scene which affords the insights into the characters.
Many de Chirican Interiors exhibit a canvas which either
contains a completed work or one in-progress. The picture-
within-the-picture in the Grand Metaphysical Interior (Fig. 3.8)
29 The Hopper/de Chirico connection is nicely assayed in Robert Rosenblums article
DeChiricos Long American Shadow in Art in America, Vol 84 no 7, July 1996, pp. 46-55.
30 Despite the relative proximity of Midge and Scottie, the overriding sense of their
distinct isolation effectively renders the editing closer to parallel montage.
30


features a scene of heightened realism juxtaposed with
ambiguous images from the supposed real world. Many other of de
Chiricos Interiors suggest similar juxtapositions. In this early
scene from Vertigo, Midge is seated working at an artists table
dynamically angled across the center of the screen. Intersticed
almost subliminally into the parallel montage is a shot of Midges
ongoing work, a sketch of a woman in a brassiere. The clarity and
simplicity of the sketch counters the cluttered and overlapped
ambiguities of the apartments decor. Scottie is also seated,
cane in hand, proclaiming his fervent desire to be a free man.
Each character is completely surrounded by the furnishings and
appurtenances of Midges studio. If the composition were
predicated more around color than form, its crowded mise en
scene would exhibit a pictorial connection to the work of
nineteenth-century Symbolist painters such as Pierre Bonnard or
Edouard Vuillard.31 But its true kinship is with de Chirico. Not
only does it echo his interior illusional spatiality, it also
establishes a remarkably contrasted resonance to the vast
metaphysical exteriors of the artists earlier work and, by
31 Hitchcocks spatially-crowded images recall these artists use of horror vacuui, that
dread of any trace of compositional emptiness.
31


extension, to the similar filmic images which will dominate later
in Vertigo.
Artists brushes supply the common element of each mise
en scene. They protrude upwardly from the lower right hand
corner of the shots of Midge and from the lower left of shots of
Scottie. Sketches, drawings, flowers and an unusually
juxtaposed brassiere fill the compositions. A dangling cloth
flutters almost imperceptibly from Midges drawing board. There
appear to be no gaps in either shots planar recessions. Scottie
seems protected from the precipitous void beyond the windows. In
these closed and foreshortened shots, the worlds physical
exterior looks nearly denied.
Yet the vulnerability of Scotties own physical and
psychologcal states is exposed when he and the camera move
away from the tightness of these shots. In the remainder of this
sequence Scottie moves through and stands somewhat tentatively
in the apartments space. He relies on his cane which balances
him above the floor, functions as the edge of a hypothetical desk,
and supports him leaning against the wall. Throughout the rest of
the sequence, he is continually filmed against increasingly sparse
32


and emptier backgrounds: a blank wall, a dark divan, an open foyer.
When he returns to the area next to the windows to test his new-
found faith in conquering his vertigo, his collapse from the top of
the stepstool is predicated upon his glimpse into a hitherto
unseen gap in the planar depth: the apparently bottomless chasm
below Midges apartment. Hitchcocks highly artificial
composition (Fig 3.10), with its slightly dimmed yet strangely
luminescent atmosphere, peers into absence employing elements
reminiscent of both the expansiveness of de Chiricos vague
vistas and the confinement of his troubling still lifes. The
flowers, foregrounded near the windows ledge, provide an aptly
de Chirican punctuation with their suggestion of iconographical
irrelevance.32 Scotties abbreviated plummet is arrested by
Midge who holds him in her motherly way much in the manner of
a pieta. Or, it could be argued, that the two of them are subtly
suggestive of the pairs of de Chiricos intertwined manniquined
figures33 (Fig. 3.11: 1917, Milan, Feroldi Collection) who begin to
appear concurrently in this phase of his art.
32 James Thrall Soby, The Early Chirico p. 32 Additionally, the funereal flowers
establish an asociation with dizziness and falling which manifests itself throughout the film.
33 The variations and self-forgeries of Hector and Andromache (1916, 1917 and as
late as 1924) come to mind as do many others.
33


Seeing and Wandering
On a literal level, Vertigo is also about seeing. It does not
exhibit the overt allusions to spying, watching, viewing, or just
plain looking that Rear Window displays;34 nor does its script
underlie the movies images with an excess of optical references
as do many of Hitchcocks works.35 Yet, it revolves around seeing:
Gavin Elsters plot to murder his wife using her look-alike, the
shopgirl Judy Barton, must begin with his seeing her as a fit
double to act as his accomplice. His manipulation of Scotties
witnessing the actual murder and perceiving it as an apparent
suicide rests on his ability to visualize Scottie as he knew him in
their college days and to recognize in Scotties recently
acquired disabilities of acrophobia and vertigo, the perfect and
final steps to his own murderous plan. Judys vision is at once
34 Although Laura Mulvey in her Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema insists on
Scotties blatant voyeurism, I maintain that Vertigo's watching manifests itself meta-
artistically. It is, as my reference to Dominique Pai'ni asserts later in this paper, a
representation on representation.
35 Samuel Taylors rescue of Alec Coppels script of Vertigo does have a number of
subtle references to seeing, but they are so interwoven into the script so as not to
overwhelm. Strangers On A Train (1951), The Lady Vanishes (1938), and Secret Agent
(1936), among others, come to mind as films whose screenplays emphasize the metaphor of
seeing.
34


the films most acute yet also its most myopic as the second half
of the film reveals. She sees into the conscious clarity of Gavins
foul scheme while simultaneously looking into the obscuring
heart of Scotties dimmed innocence. In each, she also sees her
own increasingly adumbrated selves. Moreover, she sees it all
twice. Scottie, who until the moment of Judys flashback is our
source of seeing, labors earnestly for glimpses into the
possessed soul of the woman he loves. Penultimately, his
reflected discovery of the necklace springs from unconscious
sources of seeing which lead to his and the films conclusively
tragic vision.
Wandering leads Scottie into subsequent metaphysical
interiors and across increasingly vast de Chirican filmscapes. By
way of Gavins shipbuilding office, Ernies Restaurant, a flower
shop in downtown San Francisco, and the Mission Dolores we
witness a series of enticingly claustrophobic interiors balanced
by ever-expansive, silently oneiric vistas that, commingled, draw
us and Scottie into the chimerical mystery of Vertigo.
35


The sequence in Gavins office36 parallels the preceding one
in Midges apartment. Its two characters begin the scene a
considerable distance from one another37 and conclude it in close
proximity with Gavin overlapping Scottie in an over-the-shoulder
composition which is shot from behind Gavin toward Scottie. The
cinematic choreography that finally aligns them so is extensive
and intricate. Its culmination yields an image obscurely yet
ingeniously suggestive of a de Chirican work like The Fatal Light
(Fig. 3.12: 1915, Venice, Collection Peggy Guggenheim).38
Hitchcocks alignment produces a lack of dimensionality or at
least a drastically abbreviated depth plane. In the sequences
final shot the two not only appear quite pronouncedly overlapped,
but they also evince a nearly depthless and cutout quality as do
the manniquin figures in a number of de Chiricos paintings which
36 There is a marvelous dream of de Chiricos that Soby relates in The Early Chirico,
(p. 5.) It yields an uncanny correspondence with the opening images of Gavins office. When
later in his life he was asked by the Surrealists to relate his most impressive dream, de Chirico
described this recurrent one about his father: I struggle in vain with the man whose eyes are
suspicious and very gentle. Each time that I grasp him, he frees himself by quietly spreading
his arms, which have an unbelievable strength, an incalculable power. They are like
irresistable levers, like all-powerful machines, like those gigantic cranes which raise from the
swarming shipyards whole quarters of floating fortresses with turrets as heavy as antediluvian
mammals." (italics mine)
37 Robert Harris 1996 restoration of Vertigo places them together in the scenes
establishing shot.
38 In some catalogues it is called The Blinding Light. In fact, Soby himself refers to it
by the two different titles. It may be one of de Chiricos self-copyings.
36


date from 1915.
Profiles and Portraiture
The viewer appropriates Scotties vision at Ernies. We do
at the moment when Scottie, seated at the bar, leans back to view
the woman he has been hired to follow. The camera obliquely then
circuitously retreats in a looping fashion before it begins a direct
tracking shot toward Madeleine. Despite the cameras moving
away from Scotties subjective point of view, the sudden
steadiness of its track and the penetrative purpose of its gaze
link our seeing with Scotties.39 Madeleine rises from the table
and walks directly toward us just ahead of Gavin who, of course,
is intentionally detained by the maitre d to allow Scottie and us
to see what amounts to our first profiled view of Madeleine.
Dominique Pai'ni, in a remarkably applicable study of
Vertigo,40 discusses this first vision of Madeleine at Ernies
39 William Rothman and Laura Mulvey come most immediately to mind in their
persuasive observations about the power of the gaze in Hitchcock.
40 Dominique Pai'ni How Films See Art: A Case Study in The Journal of Art October
1991 pp 28-29. Pai'nis article was part of the second colloquium convened at the Louvre in
that same year concerned with the relationship between film and painting.
37


and four subsequent visions of her41 as crucial to perceiving
Hitchcocks general incorporation of art and his specific
referencing of portraiture in this film. PaTni maintains that the
traditional portraits role in cinema (as in much of art history)
usually centers around the idea of a painting within a painting.
Pai'ni claims that:
Hitchcock implies throughout the film that cinema is the
heir of painting, that it is indeed a form of painting. In so
doing he transforms the traditional cinematic mise en scene
into a mise en portrait that specifies the type of passion
that motivates the main character, Scottie.42
In another observation, Pai'ni asserts:
One can postulate that Vertigo is as much a representation
on representation as it is a representation of
representation. Scotties Svengaliesque obsession with
finding one woman by remodeling another invites the
spectator to view the film as a parable of artistic
activity.43
Although this last observation anticipates events of the
final third of the film, Scotties obsession with Madeleines
41 For PaTni four sequences suggest this passage from the face to the portrait and
from the portrait to the shadow.... First sequence: The first vision in the bar.... Second
sequence: The second vision at the flower shop.... Third sequence: Scottie at the
cemetery... .The fourth vision in the museum.
42 PaTni, p. 28.
43 PaTni, p. 28.
38


image is born in this first profile shot which is so integral to
Hitchcocks employment of mise en portrait. This technique
corresponds with de Chiricos frequent use of the device of a
painting-within-a-painting. He first uses it in The Endless
Voyage (Fig. 3.13: 1914, New York, Private Collection).44
Madeleines profile at Ernies resonates even more with the
reclined and foreshortened head at the bottom left of The Endless
Voyage than it does with the manniquined figure which dominates
the vertical dimension of that canvas. Her faces powerful
presence in the front plane of the frame recalls the de Chirican
countenance and reverberates meaningfully throughout Vertigo.
In addition to the connotations of death which this effigy
foreshadows, the profile of Madeleine sets off a whole series of
intra-iconographic profile references which have repercussions
among almost all the characters in the film.
44 Soby, in The Early Chirico, p 45 speculates that the device first occurs in The
Endless Voyage.
39


Shadows and Selves
We revisit metaphysical interiors by way of Scotties close
pursuit of Madeleine to the flower shop. Through an obscure
entrance off the alley, Scottie follows her. In an abbreviated but
important shot, we see his shadow before we see him. It is
projected onto the doors opaque window pane. The visual
relationship of shadow and self will assume great meaning in the
film. Within, his and our espials of her (achieved by a
marvelously graduated wipe line from screen left to screen right)
reveal the stores brilliantly-colored floral interior, a kind of
Redonesque vision; however, the sequencess most notable shot is
indeed one marked by many de Chirican associations. Its
disorienting power resides in the compacted images of the real
Scottie and the reflected Madeleine (Fig. 3.14). The shots
compression of Scotties head peering from the obscurity of the
adjacent storeroom next to Madeleines own brightly mirrored
profile links it to a de Chirico work like The Jewish Angel (Fig.
3.15: 1915, London, Collection Roland Penrose) or with the
40


manniquin figures found in the middle ground of The Double Dream
of Spring (Fig. 3.16: 1915, New Canaan, Connecticut, Private
Collection). In these works, it is the juxtaposing of the figures
heads rather than any other pictorial quality which connects
Hitchcock and de Chirico. Scotties hasty exit through the
storeroom effectively leads Madeleine out of the flower shop. His
rapidly retreating figure almost appears to fall into the
backlighting of the opaque frame. Departing, Scotties shadow and
self become indistinguishable.
Filmscaoes
In the Mission Dolores sequence, Vertigo begins to break out
of this kind of claustrophobic mise en scene into somewhat
expanded filmic atmospheres which correspond to Scotties
increased scopic capacity. The exterior shot of the missions
streetside facade introduces the configuration of the arch. From
this foreshortened perspective we see the arch shape triplicated,
with its third and opened entrance serving as the access through
41


which Scottie will follow Madeleine here and throughout. The
pilastered white walls are purely de Chirican (Fig. 3.17). There is
a striking interplay between their stark brightness and the
darkness of the arched doorway into which, after climbing a few
steps, both seem to be engulfed: first the shadowless Madeleine
and then Scottie, self and shadow entering simultaneously.
A brief interlude inside the missions church reaffirms both
existences. Surprisingly, the perspective within is considerably
deeper than in the exterior shot. From the back corner of the
churchs vestibule, Scottie and his shadow double separate. He
sees the figure of Madeleine, (herself a fleeting shadow against
the huge arched wall behind the altar) disappear again through a
similarly-shaped doorway at the altars right. This time her
passage is from the churchs tenebrous realm back into the world
of light. Scotties already well-developed pattern of following
drives him out the same door. Even at this point in Vertigo, the
imagery associated with such leads and pursuits transcends the
mere possessed and the mundanely occupational. It directs us
deeper into an entrancing mix of the psychological, the morbid,
and the erotic.
42


The missions cemetery setting with its diffused45 look
is closer in spirit and artistic expression to Bocklin than it is to
de Chirico. Its chiaroscuro technique recalls the Swiss painters
The Isle of The Dead (Fig. 3.18: 1880, New York, Metropolitan
Museum of Art). The shots are replete with de Chirican
iconography: the stark white walls, the looming towers and the
arched configurations; however, the atmosphere is Bocklinesque.
De Chirico does not really address the dead as directly as Bocklin
does,46 and here Madeleines visitation to the grave of her
possessing ancestor calls for the painterly treatment that
Bocklin might give it (Fig. 3.19). Throughout the sequence her
image remains more defined. She does not assume the vague
semblance of an attenuated shadow as in a de Chirico townscape,
but remains highlighted in at least a half-dozen compositions
wherein she recalls the prototypical shape of that figure of
Bocklins first seen in Odysseus and Calypso (Fig. 3.7). In fact,
the brightness of her image stands out like the statuesque form
45 According to Spoto, p. 310, Hitchcock was quite proud of the cemetery sequence:
"I diffused it, you know. I gave it a kind of undefined outline. I wanted to put a feeling onto it.
46 Two of de Chiricos landscapes from 1909 attempt just this. They are very
derivative of Bocklin and not as fully realized. It truly seems that in the works of the next year
de Chirico finds his genius which inarguably draws a metaphysical feel from Bocklin but
incorporates only limited iconographically Symbolist sources.
43


on the prow of the boat in The Isle of the Dead. Madeleine, like
her Bocklinesque visual precursor, is also seen among similarly
dark cypresses and in an enveloping obscurity in each of the
sequences compositions. Art historian Stephen F. Eisenman
identifies the Bocklin work as a siren song in praise of blissful
solitude and easeful death.47 A passage from de Chiricos own
writing in the magazine Convegno, illustrates the profound
influence on him by Bocklin. It reveals an intriguing relevance to
the cemetery shots from the Mission Dolores sequence as it also
conveys so much of the ideas and spirit which underlie the whole
of Vertigo:
Bocklins metaphysical power always springs from the
precision and definition of a decided apparition. . Each of
his works evokes that same disconcerting shock of surprise
we all feel when we meet an unknown person whom we
think we have perhaps seen once before, though we do not
know where or whenor when, in a city new to us, we come
upon a square, a street, a house, which we mysteriously
seem to recognize.48
Leaving her entranced position near Carlottas grave,
Madeleine pauses near Scottie, allowing him and us the third
47 Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth Century Art, (Thames and Hudson: London,
1994), p.318.
48 The II Convegno article as cited in Soby, p. 27.
44


vision of her profile. For a moment, the beguiling sense of
portraiture established in Ernies and re-modeled in the flower
shops mirror seems about to falter. The siren leading her
victim to solitude and death appears to be on the verge of
stepping out of her portraited self to warn the man she is luring.
Composure regained, she turns from Scottie and also from the de
Chirican interplay of illusion and reality. She drifts off to more
magical and Bocklinesque distances where her illuminated figure
is subsumed by the dark vegetation.
Scotties pursuit of Madeleine into the Palace of the Legion
of Honor is reprinted in figure 3.20. I think it is the first
exterior shot in the film that is most like the de Chiricos of
1912-14. Its broad, steep walkway recalls the wide and
aperspective mass of space and light in the center of The
Lassitude of the Infinite (Fig 3.21: 1913, New York, Collection
Mrs. John Stephan). Its square orientation suggests the receded,
central portion of The Delights of the Poet (Fig. 3.22: 1913, New
York, The Museum of Modern Art). The dissolving figure of Scottie
evokes the transparent beings in The Enigma of the Hour (Fig.
3.23: 1912, Milan, Feroldi Collection). Even the presence of
45


Madeleines green car approximates the role of trains, an integral
compositional factor in these and other contemporary de Chiricos.
Arches and columns appear throughout this prolific and
enduring phase of de Chiricos art. Correspondingly, the images
will resonate within Vertigo itself. This shots single arch and
its many columns dissolve resonantly into the solitary dark
column and the vaguely illusory arches of another metaphysical
interior, the quiet gallery where Scottie observes Madeleine who
sits apparently transfixed by the Portrait of Carlotta. In sharp
contrast to the first metaphysical interior, Midges crowded and
sound-filled studio apartment, the museums gallery is spacious
and silent. Despite the profound difference in the mise en scene,
the same aesthetic is at work here as in the first interior: the
interplay of realism and illusion, the clash of definition with
ambiguity. When reduced, the essences of de Chiricos
Metaphysical Interiors center around the notion of what is
reality and what is art. And, by extension, how do they inform
each other? Ultimately, what observations are they making?
Scottie, the hard-headed detective, appears engaged by these
questions as he observes the apparent interaction of reality and
46


illusion in Madeleine and in the Carlotta.
The notion of Scottie as observer is crucial to an
understanding of this interior. In the first one, the cameras
point-of-view is authorial. We watch Midge and then Scottie
alternately in separate mise en scene. The pronounced artists
brushes in the foreground define the particular cinematic
perspective. Here, the camera once again appropriates Scotties
vision or vice versa. In either case, Scottie sees the hand corsage
on the bench next to Madeleine and the camera, in a point-of view
shot, zooms to a similar hand corsage in the lap of Carlotta.
Scottie sees the swirl of Madeleines hair and again the camera
zooms to the swirl of hair in the portrait. This reappropriation of
vision in a Hitchcockian metaphysical interior as in a de Chirican,
only deepens its illusory and enigmatic nature.
Equilibrium
The films established patterns of design and behavior are
continually treated in the ensuing half-dozen or so scenes. Each
scene references most if not all of Vertigos accumulating
47


paradigms: interiors and exteriors, leading and following, ascents
and descents, entering and exiting, shadows and selves.
However, in each there is a temporary sense of equilibrium.
Space is not as compacted, nor as vast. The metaphysically
invigorating presence of Madeleine is gone.
She vanishes from the old McKittrick Hotel whose dark wood
and rich hues recall the interior of Gavins office.49 Scotties
realization of her sudden disappearance is registered from the
McKittricks upstairs window-strongly prefiguring her
subsequent disappearances and his subsequent shocks; however
here, his double take to the hotels attendant, while undoubtedly
mystified, is still somewhat comic. Moments later, cresting the
street in front of Madeleines Nob Hill residence, Scotties
squinting second look at her parked car reassures him because it
displays the diagnostic corsage comfortably resting on the dash.
Things have been restored to balance. The world is as it appears.
These double takes and second looks disclose no metaphysical
49 The similar look of their interiors may help to recall Gavins office where the
deception begins; additionally, the name McKittrick itself slyly alludes to Gavins stratagems to
deceive Scottie. He does so no more eerily nor effectively than here. But a McKittrick is a lot
like a MacGuffin. Gavins murderous deception is not central to Hitchcock; it is Scotties
obsession with seeing what is and is not there which imbues the metaphysical heart of
Vertigo.
48


insights. There are no Schopenhauerian phantoms or dream
pictures; the world yields no Nietzschean concealed realities;
and Hitchcock has forestalled the de Chirican mode of image
making.
Midge herself is comfortably poised: seated on the shelf,
feet resting on the footstool, in front of the center window of her
studio. This is not even the multi-leveled stepstool from which
Scottie swooned during his view into the abyss; rather it is the
single-step stool which Scottie, in his rather puerile attempts to
overcome his vertigo, mastered quite easily. Midge faces inward
toward us. In her pose, there is not the remotest suggestion of
the enigmatic pictorial figures we have discussed. Although
angled much like Madeleine was before the Carlotta portrait,
Midge exhibits a fascination with things far from the realm of
possessing spirits. She is polishing a shoe. Soon, Scotties
mystical pursuit of Madeleine is replaced by his comical trailing
after Midge on their hurried way to investigate the rational realm
of Carlottas history.
A slight destabilizing effect resumes in the Argosy Book
Shop. In fact an inversion of the established patterns occurs:
49


Midge follows Pop Liebl down from the shops loft; she also runs
after Scottie as he exits. An intriguing and subtly graduated
physical darkening occurs in the course of the shop owners
recitation on the tragic life story of Carlotta Valdes.
Once again, as in the scene in front of Madeleines
apartment, Scotties car crests the hill after he drives Midge
home from the book shop. Before they part, a departure Scottie
urges, Midge swiftly solves at least the premise of the mystery
behind Elster and the possession of his wife by the mad
Carlotta. She just as quickly dismisses it as unreasonable.
Midges bringing up the subject of Madeleine does not simply
coincide with the reappearance of metaphysical space, as much as
it resurrects it. Through the back window of Scotties car, the
western span of the Bay Bridge looms. Atop its central tower a
light blinks at revelatory moments of their exchange. A barge
glides, from left to right, slowly to the wharf. Upon Midges
leaving, Scottie leans into the center of the frame, the brim of
his hat effectively contiguous with the distant bridges tower.
From the glove compartment he pulls the museums guide book and
finds the image of Carlotta. Superimposed is his vision, the
50


profile of Madeleine. In the watery space of the bay beyond the
cars back window, another barge moves slowly to port. Through
dimension and iconography, de Chirican mystery has returned.
Soatialitv and Iconography
Space and imagery are once again, via the mise en scene,
conveyances of Scotties interiority. Since the films first
vertiginous shots his psychological and emotional states have
been expressed through these devices. After a lengthy
conversation with Gavin at his club,50 Scottie begins his second
pursuit of Madeleine which returns both to the Palace of the
Legion of Honor. Once more Hitchcocks establishing shot is taken
from outside the singly-arched colonnade. The shots orientation,
previously squared, is now angled obliquely. In addition to
incorporating the ever-present green car, this marvelous
50 Both the foreground and the deeper space of this interior recall Gavins office and
the McKittrick. Through the use of devices within the mise en scene the two increasingly
appear as doubles for the other.
51


cinematic image (Fig. 3.24)51 includes two huge equestrian
statues standing on massive plinths. While providing the
composition with balance, their silhouettes nevertheless
disconcert us through their simultaneous conveyance of
depthlessness and bulk. Instead of merely recalling de Chirico or
evoking his artistic spirit, these statuary are more like direct
cinematic transcriptions of the half-seen horse and rider in The
Rose Tower (Fig. 3.4) and of the similar figures, fully visible and
seemingly astride the horizon, in The Departure of the Poet (Fig.
3.25: 1914, Private Collection). As in those two de Chiricos
(similarly as with nearly all of the townscapes of this period),
Hitchcocks composition is marked by defined and dark shadows,
whose painterly qualities approach a kind of visual saturation.
In such shots, Hitchcocks iconography departs from de
Chiricos through his deployment of his actors. The director
works his miniscule cinematic figures into Vertigos interlocked
themes of leading and pursuing. In de Chirico the tiny human
figures are almost always seen in proximity, or else, quite to the
contrary, they are occasionally found in distinct and utter
51 For Hitchcock it is also a remarkably long take. Its screen duration, between the
dissolves, is fully ten seconds.
52


isolation and solitude. Yet here, in the representation52 of
Figure 3.24, the gravitational pull of Madeleine from the
compositions far left upon Scottie on its far right is as palpable
as the mutual orbits of so many shadowy pairs peopling
vastnesses throughout de Chiricos early oeuvre.
Perhaps Vertigos best expression of the isolated
de Chirican character occurs in the Old Fort Point sequence.
Madeleine arrives at this landmark near the end of Scotties
second pursuit. Her enigmatic solitude is even more realized here
than it was in the Bocklinesque rendering of her at Mission
Dolores. By way of her silhouetted figure and through the
wondrous juxtaposition of its visual components, the Old Fort
Point shot (Fig. 3.26) calls forth one of de Chiricos best known
paintings, Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (Fig. 3.27: 1914,
Private Collection). The shadowy figures are the most obvious
connecting devices, but the works also share larger compositional
elements which imbue each with an ironically nostalgic
atmosphere of dread. Both exhibit the two vehicles parked
52 I am inclined to title these shots from Vertigo. However, in keeping with their de
Chirican spirit, one cannot simply apply prosaic appelations upon them. To call this The
Pursuit of Madeleine would meet only its most perfunctory needs. Playing the metaphysical
game that de Chirico and Apollonaire played so long ago, I like to call this particular work The
Dare of the Sovereign.
53


against the shadowed walls, with the vans open doors recalling
images and notions forebodingly resonant throughout Vertigo;
each constructs a similar recessional alignment from their
compositions left to its center, the paintings arcade and the
films bridge both identically angled; both feature broad central
passageways, the street in de Chirico and the flowing water in
Hitchcock. Within the respective mise en scene, the enigmatic
figures move.
Madeleines behavior troubles Scottie as the action of the
little girl with the hoop puzzles us. The girl, her long hair blown
behind, runs obliviously to the right up the tilted plane of the
glaring street toward the piazzas ominous shadow. Madeleine,
her scarf fluttering in the Golden Gates seaward breeze, drifts to
the left along the quay and disappears behind the obscuring edge
of the old forts dark wall. Each work seems to suspend its own
mediums distinct ontology and adopt that of the other: de
Chirico advancing toward cinema and Hitchcock recalling painting.
However, I think it misguided to extend this thinking too far in
one direction. That is to assert that painting is a static medium
and film a dynamic one, and out of that reduction to postulate
54


that through Hitchcocks cinematic methods an invigoration
occurs so that a visual art like de Chiricos no longer exists in a
condition of perpetual abeyance. This amounts to adopting a
Keatsian stance toward the fixed realm of art, a celebration and a
resentment of its immutable nature. To do this, in fact, would
ultimately cede to film something akin to this same wrongly-
perceived status of art as ossified.
There is something more to it. The ontological relationship
is much more complex, and it runs deeper. A physical and a
psychological dramaturgy drive them both, and a balance of
dynamism and suspension pervade each. The self-adumbrated girl
with the hoop is a corporeal phantomeffectively an absent
presence. The long-shadowed torso, be it cast by a statue or a
vital being, emits a powerful force incommensurate with its real
presence which is not directly seen. Jointly, their obscured non-
realities exert a gravitational attraction that creates a sense of
what Anne Hollander means by the proto-cinematic psychic
movement in art.53
Madeleines movement and disappearance is made possible,
53 Throughout her study, Moving Pictures, Anne Hollander emphasizes the point
about psychic movement.
55


of course, through what is generally perceived as cinemas
defining ontological feature, the films motion itself. However,
during Scotties vision of her she too is a ghostly animation, the
only moving figure in the mise en scene rendering those
aforementioned compositional elements a metaphysical stillness.
Presented thus, she is the films simultaneous presence and
absence, befitting where the film is headed on its narrative path.
The fact that the same filmic image depicts her as both present
and absent is crucial. She disappears into the composition~not
from the screen. It is her own motion and not the films necessary
ones of montage or camera movement which displaces her. The
shot, as a work, remains intact. Needless to say, Hitchcocks
conventional cutaway to Scottie, verifying his vision, lessens its
impact and its de Chirican spirit. We realize that this second
look at her is consistent with that doubled nature of the films
theme, but a single long take of Madeleines slow walk along the
waters edge would have enhanced our apperceptions of the image,
so wonderfully envisioned by Hitchcock and brilliantly shot by
56


Robert Burks.54
The Emerging Towers
An ingenious conflation of the films visual motifs occurs
in the doorway shots at Scotties apartment the day after his
rescue of Madeleine and her subsequent running off. She has
returned to his Lombard Street apartment via a tortuous route
from her Nob Hill townhome. The spiraling descent comprises
Scotties third pursuit of her. Their mutual rearrival at a
doorway recalls the dramatic interplays in the flower shop and at
Mission Dolores, connecting as well to the films numerous other
doorway emergences. Obviously, it also anticipates the extended
use of this same image pattern through the remainder of the film
to its final shot.
But here the drama is less charged than in Scotties covert
54 A considerable amount of credit for the visual brilliance of this film is due
Hitchcocks longtime collaborator, cinematographer Robert Burks. Beginning with Strangers
on a Train (1951) and continuing through Mamie (1964), Burks shot every Hitchcock film
with the exception of Psycho (1960). His importance to the artistic legacy of these works is
inarguable. Vertigo and at least five other of his Hitchcock films attest to Burks' mastery of his
craft and the enduring power of his work.
57


observation of Madeleine through the partially opened door at the
flower shop or during his eerie pursuit of her through the arched
doorways of the Mission. Leading and pursuing have temporarily
halted. The moment is understated, relaxed, and conciliatory.
Among Scotties and Madeleines intermingled concerns,
apologies, and thank yous, they coyly enact a courtship. They are
separately filmed in front of the exterior of his apartments
stark white walls: she on the top step of his entryway; he at the
base of the landing. Scottie projects no shadow. Madeleine leans
comfortably against her own outline cast on the wall behind her.
The sequence is metaphysically infused moments later in
the wide two-shot of them on the top step of Scotties entry.
Unerringly balanced in five increasingly proportionate and nearly
seamless sections, the shot is one of the films most beautiful.
(Fig. 3.28).55 It concisely conveys the already-established
characters and meanings, and subtly expresses their and the
films unconscious concerns and motivations. On its left side
through Scotties open door lies the memory of the previous
55 The still reproduced in this figure is taken from the rereleased Vertigo in video
format. It is nearly impossible to see Coit Tower here as it to find the plinthed statuary in the
Palace of the Legion of Honor shot referred to earlier. Robert A. Harris restoration of the film
released in 1996 does indeed restore images to their place in the film.
58


nights comfort and its sanctuary. Scottie, reading the letter
which Madeleine has just delivered, dominates the next segment
of the composition. His hatted head and the upper third of his
torso are profiled in front of a triangular shadow angled on the
white wall behind him. The largest compositional element, the
blank white plaster wall itself, comprises the center.
Reminiscent of the stark mise en scene of Antonioni as well as
that familiar and recurrent component of de Chiricos work, the
walls dimension prefigures, in its spatially significant
emptiness, the enigmatic relationship of the characters so
crucial to the films penultimate scene in the missions bell
tower. Madeleine, in the shots right center, leans enticingly back
onto the railings gridwork, her left profile no longer seen against
the wall, but just clear of ither face backgrounded by the
receding street. The metaphysical perspective of Coit Tower
behind and beyond Madeleine conveys one of the films most finely
realized pictorial moments. At once it displays a flatness and a
curvature. The slender tower, in addition to evoking those
magnificent structures of de Chirco (Fig. 3.2 and 3.3) recalls the
precision of Signacs bright-paletted pointillism. It shimmers,
59


and it luminously draws a finely wrought demarcation on its left
edge, defining its form against the empty clarity of the noonday
San Francisco sky.
Besides these remarkable visual qualities, Coit Tower56
fascinates in other ways which begin to emerge here and which
resonate throughout the film. Unaware of Scotties address,
Madeleine remembered Coit Tower and tells him she used it as a
guide which led her straight to him. In a response which will
reverberate ironically and tragically, Scottie jests that this is
the first time he has been grateful to Coit Tower. If the phallic
overtones of the towers image are not at first visually
perceived, then certainly other pronounced erotic associations
can be heard just beneath each characters assessment of its
sudden importance, or perhaps they can be read in the linguistic
suggestions inherent in its name. Its appearance obviously has a
timely consonance with their mutually emerging amorous
attraction. Its positional implications also intrigue. Here it
occupies the far right segment of the screen, completing this
56 Coit Tower could also be observed in the previous nights scene within Scotties
apartment. Through his central windows horizontal blinds its illluminated form suggested a
kind of abiding vigilance, as did Scottie himself in many of the sequences designs.
60


remarkable composition. From Midges apartments windows, the
same tower was just off screen, barely out of the shot. From
that perspective, we and Scottie could see the slope of Telegraph
Hill, yet not its famous landmark. The painters brushes are the
unifying images of Scotties and Midges parallel mise en scene;
the suggestively eroticizing presence of Coit Tower does not
figure in the former shots composition.
Putting these considerations aside (too precise as they are
for a metaphysical reading), we need to return and reconstruct
the whole filmic image itself. Reviewing it, we reperceive the
troubling literalness of its physically separate characters, its
flat white wall, and its singular recession. Only then do we begin
to sense something in that space between Madeleine and the
tower. Everything else in the mise en scene is distinctly
foregrounded. Occupying as it does that fifth of the screen, the
distance mystifies us and only slowly invites our seeing the
towers physical presence. The tower itself appears void of both
associations and exact meanings. De Chirico comes to mind again:
What shall I love unless it be the enigma?57 With this shot of
57 in Soby, The Early Chirico, p. 13. The reference is to a motto that de Chirico affixed
to a 1908 self-portrait.
61


Coit Tower, as with the images of towers yet to appear,
Hitchcock achieves what de Chirico does by imparting a symbolic
vagueness through a pictorial exactitude.
From this singular image looming in the distance of the
doorway scene, Scottie and Madeleine embark upon mutual
wandering. He hurriedly closes his apartments open door, and
jointly they traverse transitional filmscapes: an enigmatically
curved road around Mt. Tamalpais, a straight stretch along
Stinson Beach, and the wondrous groves of Muir Woods. In this
latter sequence, the filmed images once again express painterly
traditions of Bocklin as well as an evocation of another painter
who had a considerable influence on de Chirico, Max Klinger.58
Scottie returns to Midge after each of his falls including, of
course, his falling in love. Following his excursion with
Madeleine which culminates in their first kiss, he again seeks
58 The shot I am thinking about is the one of Madeleines gloved hand. With it she
points out, via the the spiraling growth rings of the felled redwood, that somewhere in here I
was born, and there I died. But it was only a moment for you. You took no notice." It is a
marvelous shot, and its invention seems owed to Klinger, whose own art practically celebrated
a fetishism of the glove. Klingers recurrent gloves definitely influenced de Chirico. An
example of this can be seen in The Song of Love (1914). But even of greater interest is a
comment, related by Soby, p. 30, that augments this paper's focus: "It is interesting to note
that he [de Chirico] admired in Klinger a cinematic quality whose impact, if difficult to isolate, is
often felt in de Chiricos own early work: As I have already remarked, it [Klingers art]
possesses the dramatic quality of certain moving pictures in which the protagonists of tragedy
and of modern life seem fixed in a fleeting, apparitional moment in a setting of extreme reality.'
62


Midge. Hoping to regain Scotties attention, she has returned to
her first love, painting. She is at work on one as the scene
begins. Centered in front of the same middle window so crucial
to previous shots, Midge stands, palette in hand, amused by her
own work. In a few minutes, Scottie will observe her finished
painting from the same place and evince no sense of humor. The
parody of the Carlotta portrait complemented by the image of the
real and soon pitifully self-defeated Midge (Fig 3.29) forms a
concise metaphysical interior. Although we see it on the screen
for but a moment, within we notice its brilliant compression of
illusion and reality, of parody and passion, of the tragic and the
comic; additionally, and most importantly, we view its summary
conflation of cinema and painting. Real space is nearly
indistinguishable from the illusory. In fact, the receding sky in
the portrait appears deeper than the checkered floor tilted
toward her. Squeezed by these planes, neither the actual nor the
parodic Midge fascinates Scottie. She reveals the predicament of
her true confinement when, after Scotties sullen departure, the
closed glass window reflects her anguished face and repels her
thrown brush.
63


In the next scenes lone shot (not reprinted here), the love-
sick and barely visible Scottie wanders across Union Square
beneath the high-columned Statue of Eros silhouetted against a
blue nocturnal sky. Nowhere in Vertigo is the iconographys
relationship to the characters interior state as manifest. Space,
nearly denied in the films immediately preceding images,
reemerges here above the buildings sharp outlines and around the
statues yearning form.
New and familiar towers rise into the faint glow of the next
dawn. In the distance beyond and above Scottie, who is asleep on
his couch, Coit Tower and the nearly identical spires of the
Church of Saints Peter and Paul loom. The scene is imbued with a
sense of the approaching proximities of reality and dream. Its
establishing shot of the slumbering Scottie over whom these
towers brood suggests a dreamlike atmosphere, and our watchful
presence~but a moment before Scottie awakesintimates that
we, too, are privy to the dream.
He is wakened from his slumber by the doorbells soft buzz*
and, still somewhat languorous, opens the door to Madeleine who
stands haloed in the crepuscular light. Hitchcock devises a visual
64


trick here befitting the oneiric nature of the entire sequence. Out
the east window of Scotties apartment we could clearly see not
only the ever-vigilant tower but also the churchs spires.59 The
illusion occurs when Scottie opens his door which should (as was
indicated by the pronounced shadow line in the previous days
doorway scene) provide a view looking due south. However,
despite the certainty of these logistics, the church spires
reappear in that pale glow of the morning light beyond Scottie and
Madeleine as they are depicted in Figure 3.30. The apparent
reality of the looming skyline that we observed over the sleeping
Scottie has moved. This visual displacement occurs as if in a
dream. And yet all is wakeful now. Paradoxically once she is
inside, Madeleine lucidly recites the clarity of her vision of the
dream she brings with her. Her dream is clear, logical, and
arranged; reality is skewed, contradictory, and obscure. Within,
Scottie deciphers the one by the other.
The gradually closing distance between the dream world and
the real one appears to accelerate here. Hitchcock achieves this
effect imagistically by an inversion of de Chiricos iconic
59 Perhaps it is Hitchcocks grounding in and subsequent rejection of Catholicism
which influences his peculiar mix of Vertigo's towers, sacred and profane.
65


components, something which the painter himself does in certain
works. The shot of Figure 3.30 places the towers in the
background and brings the usual shadowy and remote figures to
the front. Not necessarily by recourse to the films spoken
narrative, but through the dramatic visual immediacy of the two
characters have we gained access to the substance of what those
figures in a de Chircian painting might be saying to each other.
Madeleine now crosses the same threshold she stood near just the
day before, and with her comes the dream. Scotties rational
explanation of not only the dreams circumstance but also its
exact place evinces an axiom which, if not exclusively a property
of the Metaphysical painters, then, more broadly, is certainly one
which reveals a kinship to the Surrealists: the resolution of
dream and reality.60 Scottie is not so much set upon resolving
these once disparate realms as he is determined to explain one by
the other. So in his rational attempt to solve the mystery of
Madeleines possessed state, he ushers her to a place which, he
promises, will destroy her dream. Events in this setting disclose
new visions which will complicate, resolve, and then newly
60 The phrase resolution of dream and reality occurs frequently among the writings
of both the Metaphysical painters and the Surrealists.
66


reveal Vertigo's enigmas.
Mission San Juan Bautista
The Mission San Juan Bautista is one of cinemas grandest
Metaphysical set pieces. A few others attain a similar stature:
Antonionis forlorn Island of Panarea in LAvventura\ Resnais
mirrored interior in the chateau at Marienbad; Welles vast yet
simultaneously cloistered labyrinth of Xanadu. As with these
works, this single locale is not the films only Metaphysical
setting. However it is here (as it is in each of those movies
respective settings) where the films shifting demarcations
between the real and the illusory are enacted. In that sense they
all manifest the notion of spatial theater so integral to a
de Chirican vision. Although it does not appear until well over
halfway through the film, the Mission San Juan Bautista informs
the remainder of Vertigo figuring in at least five of its episodes:
the first visit; the subsequent coroners inquest; Scotties
nightmare sequence; Judys flashback; and the magnificent and
67


final physical return of Scottie and Judy. The films treatment of
the setting which will end in a gloomy twilight begins in the full
radiance of day.
Placed in the half-shadowed recess of the arcades walkway
(Fig. 3.31), Hitchcocks camera again inverts the typical
perspective of early de Chirico paintings. In nearly all of his
Metaphysical townscapes, de Chirico depicts those innumerable
arcades from without. Not until The Anxious Journey (1913, New
York, The Museum of Modern Art) does he begin to explore the
visual and thematic complexities which derive from establishing
the perspective from within the passageway. Predominantly,
de Chiricos canvases exhibit that deeply saturated blackness
which fills the shallow spaces of his arched forms (Fig. 3.32:
Melancholy, London, Collection Peter Watson).61 However here,
Hitchcock places us inside just such a space on that meaningful
border of the exterior and the interior, between darkness and
light. The slowly panning camera of this first San Juan Bautista
61 Soby makes an interesting observation about de Chiricos use of the arch in his
paintings. The arch ... is one of the most persistent elements in de Chiricos youthful vision.
In explaining its fascination for him [self] he quoted [Otto] Weininger as follows: The arc of the
circle, as an ornament, may be beautiful: it does not signify perfect completeness, beyond all
criticism, as does Midgards snake that encircles the world. In the arc there is still something
unaccomplished which needs to be and can be completed: it still permits presentiment.'
Soby, p. 40.
68


sequence points us outwardly into the bright vastness across the
missions common green.
The filmmakers inversion of the painters vision almost
goes unnoticed. We share the cameras objective point of view.
But the shot, once the ninety-degree pan is accomplished, reveals
very little that suggests de Chirican iconography.62 The
compositional reversal is difficult to perceive because evidence
of it cannot be seen. We are in the objective position of a
Hitchcock shot or situated as if we were in a de Chirico painting.
We stand in the recessed shadow of the arcade. The ominous
tower looms behind us. Inhabiting those de Chirican spaces
among objects usually looked at, we look back. What we see (the
tiny figure and green car excepted) mystifies us by its absence,
by its lack of objects visually encoded in the Metaphysical. We
look through the arched form into mystery. Effectively then, this
establishing shot functions emblematically and brilliantly for all
of the San Juan Bautista sequences. From the recessed
perspective of our grounded safety, we see into a Metaphysical
62 Of course, the habited figure of the nun and Madeleines ever-present green car
resurrect something, but the general filmscape, marked by an old hotel and the livery stable,
hardly intimates the metaphysical.
69


absence prefiguring Scotties and the films final elevated vision.
Madeleine and Scottie are themselves recessed in the
darkened stable which opens to the light on either end. The
setting is obscure yet transparent. Reappropriating Scotties
vision, we see his view of Madeleine seated on the carriage
dramatically backlit. Entranced, she evidently stares into the
same emptiness we just witnessed from across the green. Again
the apparent lack of any de Chirican image impresses us,
especially given the shots vantage point and its dimensions. The
only vestige of the painters visual catalogue is an automobile
(recalling those oddly juxtaposed de Chirican vehicles) here
i
moving directly away. Scottie rationally declaims that there is
an answer for everything as the enigmatic car heads toward the
mission.
The films accelerating drama does not occlude the
cinematic evocation of its Metaphysical spirit; rather, it
heightens it. Scottie and Madeleine, together before the church,
are writhing and passionate enactments of a de Chirico work such
as Hector and Andromache (Fig. 3.11). Following Madeleines own
look toward the missions tower, Scotties vision of it (Fig. 3.33)
70


evidences the towers impelling and upward thrust.
Contrastingly, De Chiricos masterpiece, The Nostalgia of the
Infinite (Fig. 3.34: 1911, New York, The Museum of Modern Art),
exhibits a kind of patient equilibrium, as if it were awaiting the
arrival of the two figures near its base. In this sense, the
painting embodies the abiding Metaphysical mood seen in the shot
announcing Scotties and Judys final return to the mission (Fig.
3.36).
Vertigos pace resumes via Madeleines rush and Scotties
renewed pursuit of her through the arched opening into the
Churchs dim nave, eerily reminiscent of the Mission Dolores.
However, that sequences languor has been superseded by an
imaged urgency nowhere more realized than in Scotties climbing
the stairway to the bell tower. Achieved through a combined
forward zoom and a backward track, the nearly kaleidoscopic
stairway shots comprise Hitchcocks grandest Metaphysical
Interiors.
The emotional and psychological effects of the shattering
first climax are immediately expressed in the shot of Scotties
slow vertiginous descent of the stairs and are reinforced in the
71


precipitous matte shot from outside the heights of the tower (Fig.
3.35). The former appears to hold its cinematic techniques of
tracking and zooming in a remarkable stasis while Scottie
descends into the images suspended realms of space and ground.
The latter shot with its disorienting aerial perspective receives
Scottie stumbling from the arcade into a sourceless shadow.
Above, the tower rises out of the composition, truncating our
view of its topmost level, the belfry.
Re-Visions
After one of the its rare fades,63 Vertigo's very next
image signals the copying and modeling that will transpire in its
final third. With the cameras immediate return to and its re-
placement within the now completely shadowed arcade, the film
begins to imitate itself. Vertigo generates within its own
images and through its own image-making process its theme of
63 Unlike Rear Window, a film which is punctuated by the fade, Vertigo rarely loses or
even temporarily ceases its own vision. Its most prominent and frequent punctuator, the
dissolve-- instead of evoking that typical filmic sense of uncertain boundaries-reinforces,
throughout the film, Scotties and our overlapped seeing. In fact, the films predominant
theme invites an extended analysis of its use of the dissolve, the cinematic technique by
which the one becomes the other.
72


remaking.64 Thus, acting like those Schopenhauerian phantoms
and dream-pictures and embodying that Nietzschean reality
which lies concealed, Vertigo becomes a palpable shadow of
itself, its own Metaphysical other.
By way of Scotties haunting revisitations and through
Judys and Scotties conscious and unconscious returns to the
Mission San Juan Bautista, Vertigo doubles its own cinematically
metaphysical perspective. Although Hitchcock admitted
displeasure with the inclusion of Judys flashback sequence, it
does not lessen the film. I think the strongest testimony to the
stature of the purely visual art of Vertigo resides in the
realization that once the secret of the narrative is out, the film
does not lose its emotive power. The revelation discloses only
the first level of the films hidden realities. It does not destroy
its Metaphysical being. In de Chirican terms, the daemon
remains to be found. Our, Scotties, Judys, and the films
wanderings do not cease. They continue up to and beyond the final
shot of the bell tower and of Scottie who begins to see, as with
64 This feature bears yet another uncanny resemblance to Giorgio de Chiricos
own lifelong tendency to recopy, remodel and rework the artistic productions of his
youth.
73


the clarity of a de Chirican vision, the contiguity of reality and
dream.
74


APPENDIX
Figure 3.1
75


The Tower, 1911-12. 45Vs x i77/s".
Collection Bernard Poissonnier, Paris
Figure 3.2
76


The Great Tower, 1913. 46'/i x iqV-i"
Collection Bernard Poissonnier, Parii
Figure 3.3
77


The Rose Tower. 1913. 29'A X 39'A"
Figure 3.4
78


Figure 3.5
79


Figure 3.6
80


Bocklin: Odysseus and Calypso, 1S81-83. Kunstmuseum, Basel
Figure 3.7
81


82


Figure 3.9
83


Figure 3.10
84


85


86


Figure 3.13
87


Figure 3.14
88


'HE JEWISH ANGEL, 1915
Figure 3.15
89


Full Text

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THE METAPHYSICAL FILMSCAPES OF HITCHCOCK'S VERTIGO by Matthew Wigdahl B.A., Colorado State University, 1974 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities 1997

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by Matthew John Wigdahl All rights reserved.

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This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Matthew Wigdahl has been approved by Date

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Wigdahl, Matthew (M.H.) The Metaphysical Filmscapes of Hitchcock's Vertigo Thesis directed by Professor M. Kent Casper ABSTRACT An acknowleged film masterpiece, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) manifests a cinematic evocation of the early phase of Giorgio de Chirico's style of Metaphysical painting. From 191 0 to 1 91 7 de Chirico's works exhibit four methods to represent our interior psychological and spiritual states. Exterior vistas mark silent and dream-like cityscapes featuring vague human figures, elongated shadows, receding arcades, obtrusive statuary, and looming towers. He soon combined these oneiric landscapes with oddly and arcanely juxtaposed objects. Eventually, metaphysical interiors evince a claustrophobic conflation of illusion and reality. Finally, his mannequin figures elicit a iv

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strangely balanced sense of calm and foreboding. Each of these manifestations of figure and space is evoked in Vertigo. The film's dislocated characters experience their wanderings against vast backgrounds and among crowded interiors which eerily recall the iconography and the dimensions of de Chirico's art. De Chirico's way of seeing functions proto-cinematically. It anticipates the generative power of film's imagery rather than cinema's tendency to develop plot and to serve narrative. Hitchcock, one of film's greatest auteurs, bodies forth this generative power of the filmic image in his masterpiece, Vertigo. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Sign M. Kent Casper v

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many thanks to my graduate committee: Professors Kent Casper, Stephanie Grilli, and Susan Linville for their inspiration, encouragement and support. Additionally, thanks to my students Beau and Sam for their ideas and reflections. I am especially indebted to Dan Chabas and Mary Kay Loner for their efforts in developing this paper's photo reproductions. Finally, to my wife, Pam, for her inexhaustible patience, love, and time.

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CONTENTS Figures ........................................................................................ ix CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION: FILM AND PAINTING ............................ 1 2. DE CHIRICO AND THE PITTURA METAFISICA ............. 7 De Chirican Seeing and Metaphysical Cinema ........................................................................... 13 3. VERTIGO: WANDERINGS AND VISIONS IN DE CHI RICAN FILMSCAPES ................................................... 1 8 Interiors .................................................................. ....... 2 7 Seeing and Wandering .................................. 34 Profiles and Portraiture ............................ 3 7 Shadows and Selves .................................... .40 Filmscapes ................................................................... 41 Equilibrium ...................................................... 4 7 Spatiality and lconography ................................... 51 The Emerging Towers .............................................. 57 Mission San Juan Bautista .................................... 67 vii

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Re-Visions ...................... ............................................ 72 APPENDIX Figures ....................................................................................... 75 BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................. 111 viii

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FIGURES Figure 3.1 Still from Vertigo, Scottie on the Ledge ................ 7 5 3.2 Giorgio de Chirico, The Tower ..................................... 76 3.3 Giorgio de Chirico, The Great Tower ........................ 77 3.4 Giorgio de Chirico, The Rose Tower .......................... 78 3.5 Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of the Oracle ....... 79 3.6 Still from Vertigo, The Belfry Tower ...................... 80 3. 7 Arnold Bocklin, Odysseus and Calypso ..................... 81 3.8 Giorgio de Chirico, Grand Metaphysical Interior ...................................................... .................... 82 3 9 Still from Vertigo, Midge's Apartment ................... 83 3.10 Still from Vertigo, Chasm and Flowers .................. 84 3.11 Giorgio de Chirico, Hector and Andromache .......... 85 3.12 Giorgio de Chirico, The Fatal Light. .......................... 86 3.13 Giorgio de Chirico, The Endless Voyage .................. 87 3.14 Still from Vertigo, The Flower Shop ........................ 88 3.15 Giorgio de Chirico, The Jewish Ange/.. .................... 89 ix

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3. 1 6 Giorgio de Chirico, The Double Dream of Spring ............................................................................ 90 3.17 Still from Vertigo, Mission Dolores .... .................... 91 3.18 Arnold Bocklin, The Isle of the Dead ...... ................. 92 3.19 Still from Vertigo, The Cemetery at Mission Dolores ......................................................... ................. 93 3.20 Still from Vertigo, Palace of the Legion of Honor .............................................................................. 94 3.21 Giorgio de Chirico, The Lassitude of the lnfinite .......................................................................... 95 3.22 Giorgio de Chirico, The Delights of the Poet. ....... 96 3.23 Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of the Hour ........... 97 3.24 Still from Vertigo, The Dare of the Sovereign ..... 98 3.25 Giorgio de Chirico, The Departure of the Poet ..... 99 3.26 Still from Vertigo, Old Fort Point .......................... 1 00 3.27 Giorgio de Chirico, Mystery and Melancholy of a Street. ......................................................................... 1 01 3.28 Still from Vertigo, Scottie's Apartment ............. 1 02 3.29 Still from Vertigo, Parody of Carlotta ................. 1 03 3.30 Still from Vertigo, Doorway at Dawn .................... 1 04 X

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3.31 Still from Vertigo, Arcade at San Juan Bautista ...................................................................... l 0 5 3.32 Giorgio de Chirico, Melancholy ................................. 1 06 3.33 Still from Vertigo, The Tower from Below ........ 1 07 3. 34 Giorgio de Chirico, The Nostalgia of the Infinite ....................................................................... 1 08 3.35 Still from Vertigo, The Tower from Above ......... 1 09 3.36 Still from Vertigo, Return to the Tower .............. 11 0 xi

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: FILM AND PAINTING Given the evident likenesses between painting and film, it is surprising how few critical studies based in either discipline have addressed them jointly. 1 bud ley Andrew's insightful work Film In The Aura Of Art posits the idea that "fertile" films are "obsessed by the tradition of art behind them. "2 According to Andrew, cinema renews art. Adopting the spirit of Andre Bazin and Walter Benjamin, he asserts that the mechanically reproduced nature of film reinvigorates art's withering aura. In separate essays on such distinct masters of cinema as Griffith, Murnau, Vigo, Capra, Delannoy, Bresson, Olivier, Welles, and Mizoguchi, Andrew examines the inheritance that film derives from art and the restoration it extends to the traditions of painting and 1 I am referring to full-length studies. There have, of course. been a considerable number of briefer examinations throughout both disciplines I will reference the pertinent ones in this paper. 2 Dudley Andrew, Film In The Aura Of Art (Princeton University Press, 1984 ), pp xi-xii. 1

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literature. His study of Olivier's Henry V, for example, acknowledges the film's obligations to its literary antecedent and assesses the work's revitalizations of Shakespeare. Additionally, Andrew details the film's appropriation of some of painting's venerated images such as those of the Limbourg Brothers and Jan Vermeer. Dudley Andrew's film criticism is compelling However, I think it accurate to read him as a critic who, at least in Film In The Aura Of Art, is focusing principally on the nature of the "art" film, not on the interaction of the two art forms. My approach to the interdisciplinary nature of this study has been strongly influenced by Anne Hollander's text Moving Pictures which comprehensively explores the proto-cinematic natures of works from five centuries of Western art. Extending her book's vast scope from the Late Gothic style of Jan Van Eyck to the urban Impressionism of Gustave Caillebotte, Hollander argues that art anticipated film; indeed, that paintings functioned cinematically in their ability to evoke psychic movement in viewers. According to Hollander, the impulses for cinema have, for generations, been embedded in European paintings. Hollander has comprehensively 2

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linked the two traditions. Her analyses encourage further advances into the vast and unexplored affinities between film and art, the likes of which this paper endeavors to investigate. Such explorations comprise Angela Daile Vacche's recent book, Cinema and Painting. Using the visual image as the unifying factor of painting and cinema, Daile Vacche studies how eight films incorporate diverse pictorial sources and traditions.3 She also examines the interplay of the two media, the dialogical nature o.f the image and the word, and the relationship between creativity and gender. Cinema and Painting is an expansive text, yet through a variety of analytical approaches it tries to keep its sights on the image and--with each film it studies--to continually readdress the image's generative power. In her chapter on F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu, Daile Vacche traces the film's balanced manifestations of Romantic and Expressionist painting. After identifying Nosferatu's own position in the contemporary context of German Expressionist cinema, she positions it in a larger art-3 Daile Vacche's Cinema and Painting (University of Texas Press) 1996, includes essays on Minnelli's An American in Paris, Antonioni's Red Desert, Rohmer's The Marquise of 0, Godard's Pierrot le Fou Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, Murnau's Nosferatu, Mizoguchi's Five Women around Utamaro, and Cavalier's Therese 3

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historical milieu--observing its pictorial relationship to the work of painters in both Die Brucke and Der Blaue Reiter as well as citing its visual evocations of nineteenth-century German art. For example, she specifically notes that in its opening shot the film references the work of the expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Further, she also reveals how throughout Nosferatu Murnau extensively draws on remoter Romantic pictorial traditions conveyed in the landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich. To a considerable degree, Daile Vacche treats Nosferatu as a film whose various mise en scene recall and reflect these artists' paintings. From Daile Vacche's critical perspective, the filmmaker Murnau is effectively using the screen as a canvas. In another analysis of a film whose director literally does paint the natural settings used in his work, Michelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert, Daile Vacche adopts a different approach. She simultaneously retreats from and adheres to the idea of the auteur as the singular creative force behind the painterly design of the shot. With Red Desert, Daile Vacche argues that Antonioni uses his character's (Guiliana's) eyes to paint, thus increasing 4

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"his freedom as a director who wants to insert abstract images into the cinema."4 Whether through the auteur-based approach of equating the director with the painter, or via the ocular "ventriloquism"S of Antonioni, or; additionally, in the varied manner of her half-dozen other examinations, Daile Vacche's consideration of how art is used in film invites us (further than Andrew's or Hollander's work) to look into the correspondences between cinema and painting that the image elicits. Daile Vacche's analyses of Red Desert and Nosferatu provide a bridge to my own specific study. She associates the cinematic atmospheres of both Antonioni and Murnau with the twentieth-century Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.6 This critical approach conveniently links to my intentions here which 4 Daile Vacche, p 62 5 Daile Vacche s thoroughly discusses this metaphor of ventriloquism in her book s chapter on Red Desert. 6 Daile Vacche's arguments are generally tenable; however, I disagree with the way she specifically relates the visual atmospheres of de Chirico's works to either directors' films. Her evocations of de Chirico would be better applied to the first three films of Antonioni's tetralogy, L'Awentura, La Notte, and L'Eclisse, films which bear much more pronounced visual correspondences (particularly L'Awentura) to de Chirico s art than does Red Desert. Additionally her application of de Chirico to Murnau stretches the tenuous visual affinity between Nosferatu and de Chirico's paintings to fit what she identifies as their common aesthetic connection, a kind of surrealist sense of mystery. Daile Vacche primarily compares the perspectival relationships between early de Chiricos in general and Nosferatu's town of Wisborg. 5

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are to examine the pictorial relationship between Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and de Chirico's early paintings. Andrew, Hollander and Daile Vacche delineate a variety of ways to investigate the kinship between and painting. The aesthetic and thematic similarities apparent in the art and the films they examine invite the varied approaches. Sharing common perceptual starting ground with these critics, my study derives its original impetus from observihg an infusing presence of de Chirico's unique metaphysical space and iconography in Hitchcock's Vertigo and maintains an extended examination of the reciprocally generative power of the mise en scene found in both the film and in the paintings. 6

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CHAPTER 2 DE CHIRICO AND THE PITTURA METAF/5/CA Vertigo is a cinematic manifestation of Metaphysical painting. So persuasive is the film's 'metaphysical' look that a close study of its purely visual nature merits at least a cursory examination of the aesthetic tenets which this particular school of art evinces. The pittura metafisica is an Italian art movement and a style of painting formed during the first World War principally by Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra. It is usually dissatisfying to even attempt a concise definition of a school of art, but in broad art-historical terms, pittura metafisica can be seen as proto-Surrealist in that it attempts to represent an alternative reality that could convey an unconscious state by depicting dislocated objects incongruously. Both de Chirico and Carra claim to be the originator of Metaphysical painting. The dispute still lingers long after their deaths, but the pictorial evidence strongly suggests that de Chirico is the seminal 7

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influence. 7 In strict terms, the designation pittura metafisica is problematic and can be somewhat misleading. Specifically, this label and its anglicized equivalent refer to the paintings, manifestoes, and articles which were executed, announced, and written by de Chirico, Carra, Filippo de Pisis, Giorgio Morandi, Alberto Savinio (de Chirico's brother) and others beginning in 1 91 6 and continuing through 1 9 21 Approaching both the term and the style less formally allows us a more comprehensive yet a keener understanding of what is meant by Metaphysical. Since James Thrall Soby's first monogram on de Chirico appeared in 1941, nearly every critical observer of de Chirico has stretched the term to apply it to the early body of his work. Prior to that, 7 The argument over who originated Metaphysical painting remains unsettled. For a relevant discussion see Caroline Tisdall's Historical Foreword in Massimo Carra, Patrick Waldberg, and Ewald Rathke, Metaphysical Art, (Praeger: New York, 1971), pp. 7-16 Tisdall points out: "It should also be remembered that when they met in 1917 both painters had distinguished achievements behind them: Carra as leading member of the Futurist movement in Italy, and de Chirico as the sole exponent of his personal vision of the enigmatic in Paris." This asociation of Carra with the Futurists is evidence enough to rule him out as the primary source of the style. Despite some peripheral affinities, the similarities between the Futurists and the Metaphysical painters are few. To a significant degree the two art movements are antithetical. The Futurist's formal links with Cubism via their infatuation with the machine put them at odds with the dream-like enigmas of the purely Metaphysical. So even though Carra appears to undergo a crisis with his Cubist/Futurist roots as early as 1914, his claim diminishes due to this previous association And it nearly disappears in the light of de Chirico's earlier works which, dating from 1910, clearly manifest qualities which both artists espouse in later writings about the painterly and architectonic nature of the Metaphysical. 8

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in his Surrealist manifestoes of the mid-1920s, Andre Breton acknowledged the metaphysical nature of de Chirico's pre-1 91 6 paintings. Guillaume Apollonaire expressed similar reactions upon viewing (and in many instances titling) de Chirico's works at or very near the times of their creation or exhibition. Most importantly, de Chirico himself used the word 'metaphysical' in his own writings beginning as early as 191 0. The broader connotation of 'metaphysical' that I will employ is based on the tradition the term has been accorded throughout its nearly ninety years of aesthetic and critical application. Thus, Giorgio de Chirico's "personal vision of the enigmatic" as manifested in his paintings from 1 91 0 through 1 91 7 functions here as the touchstone of the Metaphysical. The aesthetic connotations of the term and the foundations of the formal art movement itself receive insightful and impartial treatment in the essay "Quest for a New Art" by none other than the son of de Chirico's collaborator turned rival, Massimo Carra. The younger Carra cites art historian Werner 9

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Haftmann who applies Nietzschean and Schopenhauerian casts. 8 The observations offered by Haftmann--while they are focused strictly on the products of pittura metafisica--also encompass the nature of the genius of de Chirico's earlier creative outpouring. Moreover, there is an anticipation of the subsequent Surrealist embodiment of this Metaphysical aesthetic and style: Pittura Metafisica did not contribute a new kind of painting, but a new vision of things. This group of painters experienced the world of things as alien and mysteriousreflecting the modern attitude towards reality. There was something disquieting about the way an inanimate object, seemingly withdrawn into its solemn steadfastness, could affect human emotions. Any old thing forgotten in a corner, if the eye dwelt on it, acquired an eloquence of its own, communicating its lyricism and magic to the kindred soul. If a neglected object of this kind were forcibly isolated, that is divested of its warmth and of the protective coat of its environment, or even ironically combined with completely unrelated things, it would reassert its dignity in the new context and stand there, incomprehensible, 8 Two nineteenth-century philosophical perspectives underlie the spirit and stance of Metaphysical painting. By extension, I think they also imbue the cinematic atmosphere of Hitchcock's Vertigo The first of these philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche, from whom de Chirico derives so much of the impetus for his art, proclaims in The Birth of Tragedy that the man of philosophic turn has a foreboding that underneath this reality in which we live and have our being another and altogether different reality lies concealed, and that therefore it [the latter reality] is also an appearance. This excerpt Nietzsche's frequently-cited presentiment, concerned as it is with apparent or even subliminally apparent realities, proceeds from intuition through which it calls these worlds of appearance into doubt. In the same text and just immediately after this Nietzsche asserts that Schopenhauer (the second and the remoter of these philosophical influences upon developments in de Chirico's art) "actually designates the gift of occasionally regarding men and things as mere phantoms and dream pictures as the criterion of philosophical ability. In a number of early writings, de Chirico cites the influences of both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer on his method of seeing. 10

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weird, mysterious.9 Besides echoing those nineteenth-century philosophical voices of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche--so integral to the formulation of the young de Chirico's aesthetic--Haftmann's interpretation of the Metaphysical style anticipates aspects of film theory. Both the philosophical and the filmic associations are evidenced in his remark about the object's ability to acquire "an eloquence of its own." According to Haftmann, to achieve a metaphysical vision the eye must dwell upon the mundane object for that object to convey "its lyricism and magic." This extended and penetrative seeing is at the core of Andre Bazin's film theory. 1 o Bazin--who championed the Italian neorealist filmmakers and celebrated as well other masters of cinematic "realism," Renoir, Welles and Wyler--admired cinema's long takes and deep focus techniques which can convey a realist aesthetic. For Bazin the extended single take and the deep focus photography involve the spectator's participation, engaging the 9 Werner Hattmann as quoted Carra, p 19 10 The crux of Bazin's argument occurs in the chapter entitled "The Evolution of the Language of Cinema" in Bazin's What is Cinema? trans Hugh Gray (University of California Press, 1967). 1 1

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viewer to derive a considerably greater meaning from the single filmic image than through that process which montage supplies. Even though Bazin drew his inspiration from a "realist" filmscape and not a "metaphysical" one, the method of seeing is common to both. In each, the reciprocating eye regenerates the already vitalized objects it sees. In addition to associating them with their successors in cinema, Haftmann suggestively includes the Metaphysical painters within the larger parameters of Surrealism by examining the ironies which emerge when an object is juxtaposed with completely unrelated objects. Haftmann's language here is reminiscent of the Surrealist's own source of the dissociative as expressed by Lautreamont in his famous observation about "the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table." 11 Although it is tempting to give this creative principle of Surrealism considerable attention, a closer analysis of specifically metaphysical vision will provide a more direct bridge to cinema. 11 The Surrealists claimed Isidore Ducasse, the "comte de Lautreamont", to be a principal precursor. This famous saying although obviously linked to Surrealism, has resonances within the metaphysical approach to seeing and painting 12

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De Chirican Seeing and Metaphysical Cinema "To find the daemon in everything"12 is, for de Chirico, the key to the metaphysical way of seeing. And this 'daemon', that is, the mysterious concealed behind every object is revealed to the artist in certain magical or 'abnormal' moments of his creative contemplation. 1 3 Carra goes on to state: It was De Chirico himself who chose Nietzsche as an example of an artist who knew how to gather these 'happy moments of the metaphysical', attributing to him the merit of having taught 'the non-sense of life, and how this non sense can be transformed into art .... The Fearful void discovered in this way is itself the inanimate and calm beauty of matter.' To this void and illogic De Chirico assigns the meaning of magic, the means of capturing the 'daemon'.14 Carra expands on the spectral nature of de Chirico's philosophical bases for painting and further delineates his technique: It seems that De Chirico resolutely pursued this tone of fantasy and fiction, that an element of narrative was dear to him more for its magic than for its discursive contents. 12 Carra, p. 20. Here he is quoting de Chirico from the painter's own writing of 1918. 13 Carra, p. 20 14 Carra, p 20. 13

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His means to this end included many subtle mannerisms, even subterfuges: violent light flowing from the sides to penetrate the composition in a melodramatic way, raw shadows and impetuous colors, presences as ambiguous as absences, real or imagined, but suggested, images between mystery and suspense, Nordic nostalgia for the unknowable, and intellectual irony. All these elements used with, at times, over skillful mastery create the impression of a great theatrical inspiration.1 s Art historians often refer to de Chirico's paintings as spatial theater. The works may indeed be inspired by the theater or perhaps painted to render its effects; yet, to me, nearly the complete scope of the early de Chirico oeuvre, his output beginning in 1 91 0 and extending through at least 1 91 7, is cinematic or, more toward my purposes, proto-cinematic. I see in these paintings anticipations of filmic space and iconography as they will be evoked and utilized by some of film's most notable directors. Certain auteurs, the aforementioned Murnau and Antonioni for example, share broader aesthetic and ontological similarities with de Chirico; however, Murnau never really composes shots tinged with de Chirican atmospheres or characterized by his arcanely juxtaposed objects, and Antonioni's cinema--despite the avowed similarities--maintains an 15 Carra, p. 20 14

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idiosyncratic sense of the metaphysical. Many observers see in the films of Orson Welles an expansive and Baroque use of space; however, I sense something visually 'metaphysical.' There is more than a mere suggestion of the de Chirican in Welles. There are images in Citizen Kane which subtly recollect perspectival devices and atmospheric effects that the Metaphysical painter employs. In the Jed Leland flashback episode of Kane, the reporter Thompson seeks and then finds an aging and hospitalized Leland in order to glean more information about Kane's enigmatic deathbed utterance. I have long seen the space before and beyond the architectonics of the looming bridge as well as the receding and rondured distance from the hospital's rooftop promenade as filmic realizations of the metaphysical. These images, in addition to other Welles' designs, 16 shot in a softened deep focus by Gregg Toland, seem cinematic expressions of de Chirico. Space, then, whether it be the expansive and melancholic emptiness of de Chirico's piazzas or the crowded juxtapositions 16 Although I tend to agree with those who say that the filmic space of The Magnificant Ambersons (1942) evinces a sense of the Baroque, I think that at least two of Welles later works, The Lady from Shangai (1948) and to a pronounced degree A Touch of Evil (1958) convey an evocation of de Chirico. 15

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of his interiors, informs the Metaphysical. Space is the source of de Chirico's aesthetic. To return briefly to the painter himself: We are constructing in our painting a new metaphysical psychology of things. The absolute awareness of the space that an object must occupy in a painting, and of the space that divides each object from the others, establishes a new astronomy of things connected to our planet by the fatal law of gravity. 1 7 The emotive power of de Chirican space 1 B--its disquieting atmospheres of receding colonnades and elongated shadows; the baffling dimensionality of its overlapped planes and figures among illusory interiors; and the mysterious and incongruous possibilities evinced in the isolations and juxtapositions of its objects--indeed, all the pictorial elements which comprise the metaphysical plenitude of de Chirico's art--are most significantly and beautifully developed in narrative cinema in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. In this masterpiece, film bodies forth an evocation of Metaphysical art. The film's affinities to de Chirico's art rise from the compelling arrangements of its cinematic space which invites us 17Carra, 21 18 The description "emotive," because it has been noted by so many observers of de Chirico, becomes operative in any critical investigation of his art. 16

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to see it as we would a painting. Thus, Hitchcock's work merits repeated viewings and asks its spectators to see past its pleasure-driven look or its murderous gaze into its painterly scope. Through reseeing it, we come to know the compressed and reflective interiors, the vague and melancholy distances, and the distracted and isolated human figures of Vertigo as metaphysical. 1 9 19 The Metaphysical vision in Hitchcock. which I will develop extensively in my next chapter's analysis of Vertigo, manifests itself, albeit sporadically, in all periods of his filmmaking. There is a shot in The Thirty-Nine Steps(1935) which was the first Hitchcockian image to impress upon me its metaphysical character. Richard Hannay has just encountered the distrusting Scottish crofter Hannay inquires about a obtaining a ride in a departing van which the crofter says is going the other way The shot of the van, the lighting upon it, and its overall cinematic atmosphere all convey something quite Metaphysical. There are many other images throughout Hitchcock's work which seem infused by it: the 'windmill' sequence in Foreign Correspondent (1940); the first views of the incoming train in Shadow of a Doubt (1943); Bruno on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Strangers on a Train (1951); James Stewart on that eerie walk up the silent London street in search of 'Ambrose Chapel' in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956); the bird's-eye matte shot of the UN plaza in North By Northwest (1959). Since Hitchcock's films are so predicated upon mystery and enigma, it seems only fitting to see these and so many other of his images in a metaphysical light. 17

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CHAPTER 3 VERTIGO: WANDERINGS AND VISIONS IN DE CHIRICAN FILMSCAPES The visual properties and enigmatic themes apparent in the early works of de Chirico infuse the cinematic and psychological atmospheres of Hitchcock's Vertigo imbuing it with a Metaphysical look. I can find no acknowledgement of such an influence on the part of the filmmaker; nor can I locate, for that matter, many substantial references within the catalogue of Hitchcock criticism which demonstrate the influence of art on Vertigo or on any of his films.20 Evidence resides in the delineation and analysis of the striking visual correspondences between de Chirico's body of work from 1 91 0 through 191 7 and Hitchcock's masterpiece. To see the final shot of Vertigo, the image of the newly shocked and redevastated Scottie, emergent from the shadowed 20 Of course, the fact that Hitchcock commisioned the Surrealist Salvador Dali to design the dream sequence in Spellbound (1945) stands in notable contrast to my claim Yet beyond this directly acknowledged incorporation of art into his films, neither Hitchcock nor his myriad observers reviewers and critics make much reference to his films' manifestations of painting 18

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and arched window of the tower's belfry, is to be visually reminded of de Chirico. Although the process of being 'reminded' may suggest something rather mundane, the very act of . reminiscence proves fitting to Vertigo as it does to de Chirico. Because reminiscence itself denotes the apprehension of an idea known in a previous existence, it applies to both. Thus, not only is the reaction attuned to the character of Scottie, whose failed "second chance" with Judy/Madeleine simultaneously reveals to him the apparent reality and the real guise of his own and of his love's prior existences; but additionally, the observationbecause of its doubled view of the artistic representation as something which is at once cinematic and painterly--is instinctively and intuitively metaphysical. Perhaps Scottie's climactic emergence from the mission's tower onto its ledge (Fig. 3.1) reminds us of the painter's work by the waving of Scottie's tie, an image reminiscent of those fluttering pennants atop so many of de Chirico's towers in what otherwise seem breathlessly quiet atmospheres. More likely it is the eerie and dramatic play of figure and ground created by the relationship of the roughly-plastered tower wall and the deeply 19

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recessive sky that recalls de Chirico. One would think that all of our visual attention would be drawn to Scottie, shocked out of and perhaps back into his vertigo by the sudden, second death of his own re-creation. And it almost is, but for Hitchcock's framing which leaves perhaps one/fifth of the composition of the shot open to the tragically receding sky, our visual equivalent to what Scottie sees beneath him--thus a metaphysical expression of Scottie's desolated interior state.21 For the first of many instances in Vertigo, De Chirico's most noted aesthetic dictum comes to mind: "Who can deny the troubling connection that exists between perspective and metaphysics?"22 Other factors that comprise the final shot of Vertigo simultaneously reinforce and counter typically de Chirican devices. It is unlike a de Chirico in that it is a relatively close shot from a midair perspective. In most of his Tower paintings, De Chirico's point-of-view is usually from a grounded or slightly 21 I am reminded of Antonioni's shot of Lidia (Jeanne Moreau) in La Notte where the character appears about to be crushed by the wall which dominates an even greater percentage of the screen than does the tower's exterior in the final shot of Vertigo. Antonioni's aesthetic kinship with de Chirico is much more pronounced. 22 Cited in Soby from de Chirico's own writing in the Italian magazine, II Convegno. 20

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suspended distance, and what is even more likely, it is painted from the filmic equivalent of a long shot or an extreme long shot. De Chirico's towers stand off, rise up or loom high above, and in this, they bear a much closer relationship to so many other of the movie's images to be addressed. (Fig. 3.2: The Tower, 1911-12, Paris, Collection Bernard Poissonnier; Fig. 3.3: The Great Tower, 191 3, Paris, Collection Bernard Poissonnier; and Fig. 3.4: The Rose Tower, 1913, Venice, Collection Peggy Guggenheim.) However, before leaving the film's climactic tower shot, a frame aptly representative of the mature Hitchcock, we must images within it and immediately preceeding it which recall seminal figures in the art of the young de Chirico. Scottie's downcast posture apparent in figure 3.1, subtly evokes an image of de Chirico's own in The Enigma of the Oracle (Fig. 3.5: 191 0, Venice, Private Collection). In this work, a shrouded and, by a subtle suggestion, nearly headless figure stands on the edge of a lofty chamber's precipice under a fluttering black curtain. The mysterious figure appears to lean out, precariously balanced, as if about to plummet into the abyss. A second figure, with only its ghostly white head and shoulders visible, looms 21

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from behind another black curtain drawn closed on the painting's right side. Isolated, the shrouded figure resembles Scottie, slightly hunched and enwrapped by the dark arch behind him. Yet our perspective of the two figures is completely different. Whereas we see the filmed image from the character's front, de Chirico's shrouded figure is viewed obliquely from behind and from its left. With each, the downward tilt of the head suggests the enigmatic. In the de Chirican figure, the mystery lies in the unanswerable: what does it see? what oracular knowledge has it gained? With the Hitchcock, we share the character's knowledge . It is his next step that remains in doubt. The resemblance of this mysterious early de Chirican figure to the emotionally shattered Scottie of Vertigo is not completely uncanny. It does suggest that Hitchcock was, to some degree, aware of the visual allusion.23 Just prior to the climax and back inside the belfry, the film's penultimate shots of Scottie and Judy (Fig. 3.6) offer other visual links to The Enigma of the 23 Hitchcock's training in art history might partially explain his apparent adaptation of the image. His use of the figure perched on a precipice is a motif often referenced in Symbolist art, from whose larger aesthetic atmosphere Vertigo perhaps may draw upon. 22

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Oracle, reinforcing the metaphysical natures of both images. Scottie has brought Judy to the top of the tower to "free" himself by exorcising his past. This "second chance" in many ways duplicates the behavior of Gavin Elster, who used Scottie for his own murderous purposes. Having arrived in the belfry through its trapdoor, Scottie flings Judy toward its edge and the edge of the film's frame leaving a considerable space between her and himself. Behind this space looms the dark presence of the tower's bell, beyond which, out another arched opening, we see glimpses of the foreboding sky. In The Enigma of the Oracle and the first belfry shot of the climax to Vertigo, space assumes importance. In each work, it seems that space fills the void. Effectively, space completes each composition. In the de Chirico, the voluminous space before the brick wall and above the uneven stone floor imparts the unknowable essence of the oracle's enigma. In Vertigo, the space conveys the presence of a number of absent characters: Elster and the "real" wife; the supposed possessing spirit, Carlotta Valdes; perhaps even the nearly pure phantom of Judy's mind, the scolding Sister Teresa. In addition to de Chirico's own observations on the 23

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supremacy of space, we recall Massimo Carra: "presences as ambiguous as absences, real or imagined, but suggested, images between mystery and suspense. "24 Hitchcock's allusion to de Chirico may not be a conscious one, but its metaphysical spirit is nonetheless unmistakable. The allusive nature of the film image is further compounded by the fact that the shadowy figure in de Chirico's The Enigma of the Oracle is borrowed quite directly from an artist whose work he avowedly imitated, the Swiss painter Arnold Bocklin. A strikingly similar figure to the shrouded one in de Chirico occurs in Bocklin's Odysseus and Calypso (Fig. 3. 7: 1881-83, Basel, Kunstmuseum). In the Bocklin as in the de Chirico, the figure is placed on the far left of the canvas and turned obliquely away from us. But in the Bocklin, the figure is completely silhouetted and, more important, not literally on a precipice but on the shore of the sea. For this is a man of candor, yet one who is seemingly cloaked in mystery. It is Odysseus at that moment in Homer when we first encounter him near the sea's edge: sick for home and longing for Penelope, while simultaneously enthralled by Calypso, 24 Carra, p. 20. 24

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who is depicted on the right side of the composition before the arched entrance to her cave. This multiple alignment of characters, (in fact it is a quadruple one with its descent from the classical literary antecedent, through the two art works, and finally to the film), intrigues in many ways. Perhaps its first allure surfaces when we realize that the prototype for the shrouded figure who evolves visually into Scottie is Odysseus, the archetypal wanderer. But setting the wandering theme of Vertigo aside for the time, we are attracted by other ramifications of these representative images. In all three visual sources and even in the Homeric textual archetype, there is a brooding absence. In The Odyssey as in the Bocklin painting, it is of course, Penelope. In Vertigo it is the "other": either the ghost of the murdered "real" Madeleine; or that other, who, in the entrancing realm of the film's ironies, is actually here--a simultaneous presence and absence. Only in the de Chirico is the "other" presence unidentified, but nonetheless it remains enigmatically present. Further, a notion of the oracular informs each work. Odysseus' sojourn with Calypso is nearly at an end. The nymph's 25

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own melancholy is apparent in Bocklin's painting as she sits forlorn having heard from the Olympian's winged oracle, Hermes, that the immortals--most persuasively Athena--want Odysseus to head home: The title. of the de Chirico as well as its imagery create the oneiric circumstance which is fraught not only with the indecipherable interpretations of prophecies but also with their unfathomable sources. The implication in Vertigo is that the oracular power is embedded in the setting of the film's planned destination: the place of both its initial and revisited climaxes, the Mission San Juan Bautista. Thus, the film evokes the oracular through the suggested reference to the precursory and prophetic powers of John the Baptist. But in contrast to heralding the arrival of a greater "coming," the tower's mission setting serves to witness an initial and then a second leaving. In conscious imitation of the trajectory of the film, I will eventually return to these concluding tower shots; however, prior to that I will first, among other excursions, examine de Chirico's metaphysical interiors and draw parallels to Hitchcock's own cinematic interiors in Vertigo. 26

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Interiors Beginning in 191 5 and continuing through the brief period of his collaboration with Carlo Carra, Giorgio de Chirico created works which he called metaphysical interiors. These are paintings which conflated his previously developed representations of vastness and the architectonic with oddly juxtaposed objects and figures evincing multiply planar forms. The paintings resemble cubism, yet they maintain a purer metaphysical sense through their residual evocation of the spatial, however obliquely-angled and oddly-dimensional they may appear. Many of these works are titled as Metaphysical Interior. Others begin that way: Metaphysical Interior with Biscuit and Cigarette Holder, for example. Superficially then, these Interiors appear to incorporate the analytic cubism of Picasso and Braque into de Chirico's own seemingly proto surrealist milieu; but either association is peripheral. If these 27

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works do not necessarily transcend form, the cubist's fascination, they go round it. And it will be recalled that de Chirico's work is not considered purely Surrealist. He is effectively co-opted and claimed by them in Andre Breton's First Manifesto of Surrealism published in 1924.25 De Chirico's Grand Metaphysical Interior (Fig. 3.8: 191 7, Private Collection) provides an apt representation of this phase of the artist's work and serves as an effective link to Hitchcock's own cinematically metaphysical interiors in Vertigo. De Chirico's work "proposes," as art historian James Thrall Soby observes, "an unforgettable counterplay between realism of detail and fantasy of over-all invention. "26 A number of sequences in Vertigo provide filmic manifestations of this sense of the dislocational as it can be witnessed in de Chirican interiors. The first is Midge's apartment (Fig. 3.9), the refuge Scottie seeks after the film's first "fall" and his ensuing vertigo.27 Another dozen of the film's designs, perhaps more, can 25 Although the Surrealists namely Breton, were disgruntled with what they considered de Chirico's lapsed powers, the first manifesto still identifies his early work as a precursor of their own. 26 Soby, p. 41. 27 The film's first kaleidoscopic shot employing the backward track and the forward zoom to depict Scottie's vertigo could be said to function as an interior. 28

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be perceived in similar compositional terms. Coming as it does immediately after the film's prologue (a precarious rooftop chase sequence) and particularly following the vertiginous subjective shots before, during, and after the fall of the policeman, the interior of Midge's apartment seems a safe enough haven. But Hitchcock's treatment of the setting, after an establishing shot places us firmly and comfortably in it, edges us toward multiple and more incisive ways of seeing via the use of overlapped and angular elements of the mise en scene which eventually convey a pronounced sense of dislocation for both the viewer and the viewed. The set of Midge's apartment recalls the design which comprised nearly every shot of Rear Window.28 However, in the earlier Hi. tchcock film, the deep-focused space beyond the windows invited ours as well as the character's gazing. Certain shots of Rear Window's peopled courtyard and adjacent apartments seem imbued with the painterly spirit of George Bellows or, in more suspenseful or "metaphysical" moments of 28 As Donald Spoto in his The Art of Alfred Hitchcock has observed the images as well as the actor (Stewart) and the situation (incapacity) are also recalled in this opening sequence. 29

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the film, with those of his contemporary Edward Hopper.29 However here, in the establishing shot and to a considerable extent in the backgrounds of the ensuing matching shots of Scottie and Midge, interior and exterior elements assume a de Chirican cast and curiously merge. The visual busyness of the steep slopes of Telegraph Hill becomes one with the cluttered foreground of Midge's studio. Planar distinctions blur. The initial part of Vertigo's first interior sequence is primarily composed of finely-fitted matching shots, each of which contains only one character. Scottie and Midge may be in the same room, but after the establishing shot we see them only in isolated frames. They are juxtaposed cinematically by montage. Here Hitchcock's use of an element of traditional film language30 tells the story, but it is the pictorial depth and the rich iconography of each interior's mise en scene which affords the insights into the characters. Many de Chirican Interiors exhibit a canvas which either contains a completed work or one in-progress. The picturewithin-the-picture in the Grand Metaphysical Interior (Fig. 3.8) 29 The Hopper/de Chirico connection is nicely assayed in Robert Rosenblum's article "DeChirico's Long American Shadow" in Art in America, Vol 84 no 7, July 1996, pp. 46-55. 30 Despite the relative proximity of Midge and Scottie. the overriding sense of their distinct isolation effectively renders the editing closer to parallel montage. 30

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features a scene of heightened realism juxtaposed with ambiguous images from the supposed real world. Many other of de Chirico's Interiors suggest similar juxtapositions. In this early scene from Vertigo, Midge is seated working at an artist's table dynamically angled across the center of the screen. lntersticed almost subliminally into the parallel montage is a shot of Midge's ongoing work, a sketch of a woman in a brassiere. The clarity and simplicity of the sketch counters the cluttered and overlapped ambiguities of the apartment's decor. Scottie is also seated, cane in hand, proclaiming his fervent desire to be a "free" man. Each character is completely surrounded by the furnishings and appurtenances of Midge's studio. If the composition were predicated more around color than form, its crowded mise en scene would exhibit a pictorial connection to the work of nineteenth-century Symbolist painters such as Pierre Bonnard or Edouard Vuillard. 31 But its true kinship is with de Chirico. Not only does it echo his interior illusional spatiality, it also establishes a remarkably contrasted resonance to the vast metaphysical exteriors of the artist's earlier work and, by 31 Hitchcock's spatially-crowded images recall these artists' use of ho"or vacuui, that dread of any trace of compositional emptiness 31

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extension, to the similar filmic images which will dominate later in Vertigo. Artists' brushes supply the common element of each mise en scene. They protrude upwardly from the lower right hand corner of the shots of Midge and from the lower left of shots of Scottie. Sketches, drawings, flowers and an unusually juxtaposed brassiere fill the compositions. A dangling cloth flutters almost imperceptibly from Midge's drawing board. There appear to be no gaps in either shot's planar recessions. Scottie seems protected from the precipitous void beyond the windows. In these closed and foreshortened shots, the world's physical exterior looks nearly denied. Yet the vulnerability of Scottie's own physical and psychologcal states is exposed when he and the camera move away from the tightness of these shots. In the remainder of this sequence Scottie moves through and stands somewhat tentatively in the apartment's space. He relies on his cane which balances him above the floor, functions as the edge of a hypothetical desk, and supports him leaning against the wall. Throughout the rest of the sequence, he is continually filmed against increasingly sparse 32

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and emptier backgrounds: a blank wall, a dark divan, an open foyer. When he returns to the area next to the windows to test his found faith in conquering his vertigo, his collapse from the top of the stepstool is predicated upon his glimpse into a hitherto unseen gap in the planar depth: the apparently bottomless chasm below Midge's apartment. Hitchcock's highly artificial composition (Fig 3.1 0), with its slightly dimmed yet strangely luminescent atmosphere, peers into absence employing elements reminiscent of both the expansiveness of de Chirico's vague vistas and the confinement of his troubling still lifes. The flowers, foregrounded near the window's ledge, provide an aptly de Chirican punctuation with their suggestion of "iconographical irrelevance. "32 Scottie's abbreviated plummet is arrested by Midge who holds him in her "motherly" way much in the manner of a pieta. Or, it could be argued, that the two of them are subtly suggestive of the pairs of de Chirico's intertwined manniquined figures33 (Fig. 3.11: 1917, Milan, Feroldi Collection) who begin to appear concurrently in this phase of his art. 32 James Thrall So by, The Early Chirico p 32 Additionally, the funereal flowers establish an asociation with dizziness and falling which manifests itself throughout the film. 33 The variations and self-forgeries of Hector and Andromache ( 1916, 1917 and as late as 1924) come to mind as do many others 33

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Seeing and Wandering On a literal level, Vertigo is also about seeing . It does not exhibit the overt allusions to spying, watching, viewing, or just plain looking that Rear Window displays;34 nor does its script underlie the movie's images with an excess of optical references as do many of Hitchcock's works.35 Yet, it revolves around seeing: Gavin Elster's plot to murder his wife using her look-alike, the shopgirl Judy Barton, must begin with his seeing her as a fit double to act as his accomplice. His manipulation of Scottie's witnessing the actual murder and perceiving it as an apparent suicide rests on his ability to visualize Scottie as he knew him in their "college days" and to recognize in Scottie's recently acquired disabilities of acrophobia and vertigo, the perfect and final steps to his own murderous plan. Judy's vision is at once 34 Although Laura Mulvey in her "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" insists on Scottie's "blatant" voyeurism, I maintain that Vertigo's watching manifests itself meta artistically It is, as my reference to Dominique Pa"ini asserts later in this paper a representation on representation. 35 Samuel Taylor s rescue of Alec Coppel s script of Vertigo does have a number of subtle references to seeing but they are so interwoven into the script so as not to overwhelm. Strangers On A Train (1951), The Lady Vanishes (1938), and Secret Agent (1936), among others, come to mind as films whose screenplays emphasize the metaphor of seeing 34

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the film's most acute yet also its most myopic as the second half of the film reveals. She sees into the conscious clarity of Gavin's foul scheme while simultaneously looking into the obscuring heart of Scottie's dimmed innocence. In each, she also sees her own increasingly adumbrated selves. Moreover, she sees it all twice. Scottie, who until the moment of Judy's flashback is our source of seeing, labors earnestly for glimpses into the possessed soul of the woman he loves. Penultimately, his reflected discovery of the necklace springs from unconscious sources of seeing which lead to his and the film's conclusively tragic vision. Wandering leads Scottie into subsequent metaphysical interiors and across increasingly vast de Chirican filmscapes. By way of Gavin's shipbuilding office, Ernie's Restaurant, a flower shop in downtown San Francisco, and the Mission Dolores we witness a series of enticingly claustrophobic interiors balanced by ever-expansive, silently oneiric vistas that, commingled, draw us and Scottie into the chimerical mystery of Vertigo. 35

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The sequence in Gavin's office36 parallels the preceding one in Midge's apartment. Its two characters begin the scene a considerable distance from one another37 and conclude it in close proximity with Gavin overlapping Scottie in an over-the-shoulder composition which is shot from behind Gavin toward Scottie. The cinematic choreography that finally aligns them so is extensive and intricate. Its culmination yields an image obscurely yet ingeniously suggestive of a de Chirican work like The Fatal Light (Fig. 3.12: 1915, Venice, Collection Peggy Guggenheim).38 Hitchcock's alignment produces a lack of dimensionality or at least a drastically abbreviated depth plane. In the sequence's final shot the two not only appear quite pronouncedly overlapped, but they also evince a nearly depthless and cutout quality as do the manniquin figures in a number of de Chirico's paintings which 36 There is a marvelous dream of de Chirico's that Soby relates in The Early Chirico, (p. 5.) It yields an uncanny correspondence with the opening images of Gavin's office. When later in his life he was asked by the Surrealists to relate his most impressive dream, de Chirico described this recurrent one about his father : "I struggle in vain with the man whose eyes are suspicious and very gentle. Each time that I grasp him, he frees himself by quietly spreading his arms, which have an unbelievable strength an incalculable power. They are like irresistable levers like all-powerful machines like those gigantic cranes which raise from the swarming shipyards whole quarters of floating fortresses with turrets as heavy as antediluvian mammals." (italics mine) 37 Robert Harris' 1996 restoration of Vertigo places them together in the scene's establishing shot. 38 In some catalogues it is called The Blinding Light In fact, Soby himself refers to it by the two different titles. It may be one of de Chirico's self-copyings 36

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date from 1915. Profiles and Portraiture The viewer appropriates Scottie's vision at Ernie's. We do at the moment when Scottie, seated at the bar, leans back to view the woman he has been hired to follow. The camera obliquely then circuitously retreats in a looping fashion before it begins a direct tracking shot toward Madeleine. Despite the camera's moving away from Scottie's subjective point of view, the sudden steadiness of its track and the penetrative purpose of its gaze link our seeing with Scottie's.39 Madeleine rises from the table and walks directly toward us just ahead of Gavin who, of course, is intentionally detained by the maitre d' to allow Scottie and us to see what amounts to our first profiled view of Madeleine. Dominique Pa"lni, in a remarkably applicable study of Vertigo, 40 discusses this first "vision" of Madeleine at Ernie's 39 William Rothman and Laura Mulvey come most immediately to mind in their persuasive observations about the power of the gaze in Hitchcock. 40 Dominique Paini "How Films See Art : A Case Study" in The Journal of Art October 1991 pp 28-29 Palni s article was part of the second colloquium convened at the Louvre in that same year concerned with the relationship between film and painting. 37

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and four subsequent visions of her41 as crucial to perceiving Hitchcock's general incorporation of art and his specific referencing of portraiture in this film. Pa"lni maintains that the traditional portrait's role in cinema (as in much of art history) usually centers around the idea of a "painting within a painting." Pa' ini claims that: Hitchcock implies throughout the film that cinema is the heir of painting, that it is indeed a form of painting. In so doing he transforms the traditional cinematic mise en scene into a mise en portrait that specifies the type of passion that motivates the main character, Scottie.42 In another observation, Pa'ini asserts: One can postulate that Vertigo is as much a representation on representation as it is a representation of representation. Scottie's Svengaliesque obsession with finding one woman by "remodeling" another invites the spectator to view the film as a parable of artistic activity. 43 Although this last observation anticipates events of the final third of the film, Scottie's obsession with Madeleine's 41 For PaTni four sequences suggest this passage from the face to the portrait and from the portrait to the shadow ... First sequence : The first vision in the bar .... Second sequence: The second vision at the flower shop ... Third sequence : Scottie at the cemetery ... The fourth vision in the museum 42 PaTni, p. 28. 43 PaTni, p 28 38

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image is born in this first profile shot which is so integral to Hitchcock's employment of mise en portrait. This technique corresponds with de Chirico's frequent use of the device of a painting-within-a-painting. He first uses it in The Endless Voyage (Fig. 3.13: 1914, New York, Private Collection).44 Madeleine's profile at Ernie's resonates even more with the reclined and foreshortened head at the bottom left of The Endless Voyage than it does with the manniquined figure which dominates the vertical dimension of that canvas. Her face's powerful presence in the front plane of the frame recalls the de Chirican countenance and reverberates meaningfully throughout Vertigo. In addition to the connotations of death which this effigy foreshadows, the profile of Madeleine sets off a whole series of intra-iconographic profile references which have repercussions among almost all the characters in the film. 44 Soby in The Early Chirico, P 46, speculates that the device first occurs in The Endless Voyage. 39

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Shadows and Selves -We revisit metaphysical interiors by way of Scottie's close pursuit of Madeleine to the flower shop. Through an obscure entrance off the alley, Scottie follows her. In an abbreviated but important shot, we see his shadow before we see him. It is projected onto the door's opaque window pane. The visual relationship of shadow and self will assume great meaning in the film. Within, his and our espials of her (achieved by a marvelously graduated wipe line from screen left to screen right) reveal the store's brilliantly-colored floral interior, a kind of Redonesque vision; however, the sequences's most notable shot is indeed one marked by many de Chirican associations. Its disorienting power resides in the compacted images of the real Scottie and the reflected Madeleine (Fig. 3.14 ). The shot's compression of Scottie's head peering from the obscurity of the adjacent storeroom next to Madeleine's own brightly mirrored profile links it to a de Chirico work like The Jewish Angel (Fig. 3.15: 1915, London, Collection Roland Penrose) or with the 40

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manniquin figures found in the middle ground of The Double Dream of Spring (Fig. 3.16: 1915, New Canaan, Connecticut, Private Collection). In these works, it is the juxtaposing of the figures' heads rather than any other pictorial quality which connects Hitchcock and de Chirico. Scottie's hasty exit through the storeroom effectively leads Madeleine out of the flower shop. His rapidly retreating figure almost appears to fall into the backlighting of the opaque frame. Departing, Scottie's shadow and self become indistinguishable. Filmscapes In the Mission Dolores sequence, Vertigo begins to break out of this kind of claustrophobic mise en scene into somewhat expanded filmic atmospheres which correspond to Scottie's increased scopic capacity. The exterior shot of the mission's streetside facade introduces the configuration of the arch. From this foreshortened perspective we see the arch shape triplicated, with its third and opened entrance serving as the access through 41

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which Scottie will follow Madeleine here and throughout. The pilastered white walls are purely de Chirican (Fig. 3.17). There is a striking interplay between their stark brightness and the darkness of the arched doorway into which, after climbing a few steps, both seem to be engulfed: first the shadowless Madeleine and then Scottie, self and shadow entering simultaneously. A brief interlude inside the mission's church reaffirms both existences. Surprisingly, the perspective within is considerably deeper than in the exterior shot. From the back corner of the church's vestibule, Scottie and his shadow double separate. He sees the figure of Madeleine, (herself a fleeting shadow against the huge arched wall behind the altar) disappear again through a similarly-shaped doorway at the altar's right. This time her passage is from the church's tenebrous realm back into the world of light. Scottie's already well-developed pattern of following drives him out the same door. Even at this point in Vertigo, the imagery associated with such leads and pursuits transcends the mere possessed and the mundanely occupational. It directs us deeper into an entrancing mix of the psychological, the morbid, and the erotic. 42

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The mission's cemetery setting with its "diffused"45 look is closer in spirit and artistic expression to Bocklin than it is to de Chirico. Its chiaroscuro technique recalls the Swiss painter's The Isle of The Dead (Fig. 3.18: 1880, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). The shots are replete with de Chirican iconography: the stark white walls, the looming towers and the arched configurations; however, the atmosphere is Bocklinesque. De Chirico does not really address the dead as directly as Bocklin does,46 and here Madeleine's visitation to the grave of her possessing ancestor calls for the painterly treatment that Bocklin might give it (Fig. 3.19). Throughout the sequence her image remains more defined. She does not assume the vague semblance of an attenuated shadow as in a de Chirico townscape, but remains highlighted in at least a half-dozen compositions wherein she recalls the prototypical shape of that figure of Bocklin's first seen in Odysseus and Calypso (Fig. 3. 7). In fact, the brightness of her image stands out like the statuesque form 45 According to Spoto, p 310, Hitchcock was quite proud of the cemetery sequence: "I diffused it, you know. I gave it a kind of undefined outline. I wanted to put a feeling onto it." 46 Two of de Chirico's landscapes from 1909 attempt just this. They are very derivative of Bocklin and not as fully realized. It truly seems that in the works of the next year de Chirico finds his genius which inarguably draws a metaphysical feel from BOcklin but incorporates only limited iconographically Symbolist sources. 43

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on the prow of the boat in The Isle of the Dead. Madeleine, like her Bocklinesque visual precursor, is also seen among similarly dark cypresses and in an enveloping obscurity in each of the sequence's compositions. Art historian Stephen F. Eisenman identifies the Bocklin work as a "siren song in praise of blissful solitude and easeful death."47 A passage from de Chirico's own writing in the magazine Convegno, illustrates the profound influence on him by Bocklin. It reveals an intriguing relevance to the cemetery shots from the Mission Dolores sequence as it also conveys so much of the ideas and spirit which underlie the whole of Vertigo: Bocklin's metaphysical power always springs from the precision and definition of a decided apparition. . Each of his works evokes that same disconcerting shock of surprise we all feel when we meet an unknown person whom we think we have perhaps seen once before, though we do not know where or when--or when, in a city new to us, we come upon a square, a street, a house, which we mysteriously seem to recognize.4B Leaving her entranced position near Carlotta's grave, Madeleine pauses near Scottie, allowing him and us the third 47 Stephen F Eisenman, Nineteenth Century Art, (Thames and Hudson: London, 1994). p.318. 48 The II Convegno article as cited in Soby p 27 44

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vision of her profile. For a moment, the beguiling sense of portraiture established in Ernie's and re-modeled in the flower shop's mirror seems about to falter. The 'siren' leading her victim to 'solitude' and 'death' appears to be on the verge of stepping out of her portraited self to warn the man she is luring. Composure regained, she turns from Scottie and also from the de Chirican interplay of illusion and reality. She drifts off to more magical and Bocklinesque distances where her illuminated figure is subsumed by the dark vegetation. Scottie's pursuit of Madeleine into the Palace of the Legion of Honor is reprinted in figure 3.20. I think it is the first exterior shot in the film that is most like the de Chiricos of 1912-14. Its broad, steep walkway recalls the wide and aperspective mass of space and light in the center ofThe Lassitude of the Infinite (Fig 3.21: 1913, New York, Collection Mrs. John Stephan). Its square orientation suggests the receded, central portion of The Delights of the Poet (Fig. 3.22: 191 3, New York, The Museum of Modern Art). The dissolving figure of Scottie evokes the transparent beings in The Enigma of the Hour (Fig. 3.23: 1912, Milan, Feroldi Collection). Even the presence of 45

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Madeleine's green car approximates the role of trains, an integral compositional factor in these and other contemporary de Chiricos. Arches and columns appear throughout this prolific and enduring phase of de Chirico's art. Correspondingly, the images will resonate within Vertigo itself. This shot's single arch and its many columns dissolve resonantly into the solitary dark column and the vaguely illusory arches of another metaphysical interior, the quiet gallery where Scottie observes Madeleine who sits apparently transfixed by the Portrait of Carlotta. In sharp contrast to the first metaphysical interior, Midge's crowded and sound-filled studio apartment, the museum's gallery is spacious and silent. Despite the profound difference in the mise en scene, the same aesthetic is at work here as in the first interior: the interplay of realism and illusion, the clash of definition with ambiguity. When reduced, the essences of de Chirico's Metaphysical Interiors center around the notion of what is reality and what is art. And, by extension, how do they inform each other? Ultimately, what observations are they making? Scottie, the "hard-headed" detective, appears engaged by these questions as he observes the apparent interaction of reality and 46

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illusion in Madeleine and in the Carlotta. The notion of Scottie as observer is crucial to an understanding of this interior. In the first one, the camera's point-of-view is authoriaL We watch Midge and then Scottie alternately in. separate mise en scene. The pronounced artists' brushes in the foreground define the particular cinematic perspective. Here, the camera once again appropriates Scottie's vision or vice versa. In either case, Scottie sees the hand corsage on the bench next to Madeleine and the camera, in a point-of view shot, zooms to a similar hand corsage in the lap of Carlotta. Scottie sees the swirl of Madeleine's hair and again the camera zooms to the swirl of hair in the portrait. This reappropriation of vision in a Hitchcockian metaphysical interior as in a de Chirican, only deepens its illusory and enigmatic nature. Equilibrium The film's established patterns of design and behavior are continually treated in the ensuing half-dozen or so scenes. Each scene references most if not all of Vertigo's accumulating 47

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paradigms: interiors and exteriors, leading and following, ascents and descents, entering and exiting, shadows and selves. However, in each there is a temporary sense of equilibrium. Space is not as compacted, nor as vast. The metaphysically -invigorating presence of Madeleine is gone. She vanishes from the old McKittrick Hotel whose dark wood and rich hues recall the interior of Gavin's office.49 Scottie's realization of her sudden disappearance is registered from the McKittrick's upstairs window--strongly prefiguring her subsequent disappearances and his subsequent shocks; however here, his double take to the hotel's attendant, while undoubtedly mystified, is still somewhat comic. Moments later, cresting the street in front of Madeleine's Nob Hill residence, Scottie's squinting second look at her parked car reassures him because it displays the diagnostic corsage comfortably resting on the dash. Things have been restored to balance. The world is as it appears. These 'double takes' and 'second looks' disclose no metaphysical 49 The similar look of their interiors may help to recall Gavin s office where the deception begins; additionally the name McKittrick itself slyly alludes to Gavin's stratagems to deceive Scottie. He does so no more eerily nor effectively than here. But a McKittrick is a lot like a MacGuffin. Gavin's murderous deception is not central to Hitchcock; it is Scottie's obsession with seeing what is and is not there which imbues the metaphysical heart of Vertigo 48

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insights. There are no Schopenhauerian 'phantoms' or 'dream pictures'; the world yields no Nietzschean 'concealed realities'; and Hitchcock has forestalled the de Chirican mode of image making. Midge herself is comfortably poised: seated on the shelf, feet resting on the footstool, in front of the center window of her studio. This is not even the multi-leveled stepstool from which Scottie swooned during his view into the abyss; rather it is the single-step stool which Scottie, in his rather puerile attempts to overcome his vertigo, mastered quite easily. Midge faces inward toward us. In her pose, there is not the remotest suggestion of the enigmatic pictorial figures we have discussed. Although angled much like Madeleine was before the Carlotta portrait, Midge exhibits a fascination with things far from the realm of possessing spirits. She is polishing a shoe. Soon, Scottie's mystical pursuit of Madeleine is replaced by his comical trailing after Midge on their hurried way to investigate the rational realm of Carlotta's history. A slight destabilizing effect resumes in the Argosy Book Shop. In fact an inversion of the established patterns occurs: 49

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Midge follows Pop Liebl down from the shop's loft; she also runs after Scottie as he exits. An intriguing and subtly graduated physical darkening occurs in the course of the shop owner's recitation on the tragic life story of Carlotta Valdes. Once again, as in the scene in front of Madeleine's apartment, Scottie's car crests the hill after he drives Midge home from the book shop. Before they part, a departure Scottie urges, Midge swiftly solves at least the premise of the mystery behind Elster and the possession of his wife by the "mad" Carlotta. She just as quickly dismisses it as unreasonable. Midge's bringing up the subject of Madeleine does not simply coincide with the reappearance of metaphysical space, as much as it resurrects it. Through the back window of Scottie's car, the western span of the Bay Bridge looms. Atop its central tower a light blinks at revelatory moments of their exchange. A barge glides, from left to right, slowly to the wharf. Upon Midge's leaving, Scottie leans into the center of the frame, the brim of his hat effectively contiguous with the distant bridge's tower. From the glove compartment he pulls the museum's guide book and finds the image of Carlotta. Superimposed is his vision, the 50

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profile of Madeleine. In the watery space of the bay beyond the car's back window, another barge moves slowly to port. Through dimension and iconography, de Chirican mystery has returned. Spatiality and Iconography Space and imagery are once again, via the mise en scene, conveyances of Scottie's interiority. Since the film's first vertiginous shots his psychological and emotional states have been expressed through these devices. After a lengthy conversation with Gavin at his club, so Scottie begins his second pursuit of Madeleine which returns both to the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Once more Hitchcock's establishing shot is taken from outside the singly-arched colonnade. The shot's orientation, previously squared, is now angled obliquely. In addition to incorporating the ever-present green car, this marvelous 50 Both the foreground and the deeper space of this interior recall Gavin s office and the McKittrick Through the use of devices within the mise en scene the two increasingly appear as doubles for the other 51

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cinematic image (Fig. 3.24 )51 includes two huge equestrian statues standing on massive plinths. While providing the composition with balance, their silhouettes nevertheless disconcert us through their simultaneous conveyance of depthlessness and bulk. Instead of merely recalling de Chirico or evoking his artistic spirit, these statuary are more like direct cinematic transcriptions of the half-seen horse and rider in The Rose Tower (Fig. 3.4) and of the similar figures, fully visible and seemingly astride the horizon, in The Departure of the Poet (Fig. 3.25: 1914, Private Collection). As in those two de Chirico's (similarly as with nearly all of the townscapes of this period), Hitchcock's composition is marked by defined and dark shadows, whose painterly qualities approach a kind of visual saturation. In such shots, Hitchcock's iconography departs from de Chirico's through his deployment of his actors. The director works his miniscule cinematic figures into Vertigo's interlocked themes of leading and pursuing. In de Chirico the tiny human figures are almost always seen in proximity, or else, quite to the contrary, they are occasionally found in distinct and utter 51 For Hitchcock it is also a remarkably long take Its screen duration, between the dissolves, is fully ten seconds. 52

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isolation and solitude. Yet here, in the representation52 of Figure 3.24, the gravitational pull of Madeleine from the composition's far left upon Scottie on its far right is as palpable as the mutual orbits of so many shadowy pairs peopling vastnesses throughout de Chirico's early oeuvre. Perhaps Vertigo's best expression of the isolated de Chirican character occurs in the Old Fort Point sequence. Madeleine arrives at this landmark near the end of Scottie's second pursuit. Her enigmatic solitude is even more realized here than it was in the Bocklinesque rendering of her at Mission Dolores. By way of her silhouetted figure and through the wondrous juxtaposition of its visual components, the Old Fort Point shot (Fig. 3.26) calls forth one of de Chirico's best known paintings, Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (Fig. 3.27: 1914, Private Collection). The shadowy figures are the most obvious connecting devices, but the works also share larger compositional elements which imbue each with an ironically nostalgic atmosphere of dread. Both exhibit the two vehicles parked 52 I am inclined to title these shots from Vertigo. However, in keeping with their de Chirican spirit, one cannot simply apply prosaic appelations upon them To call this The Pursuit of Madeleine would meet only its most perfunctory needs. Playing the metaphysical game that de Chirico and Apollonaire played so long ago, I like to call this particular work The Dare of the Sovereign. 53

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against the shadowed walls, with the van's open doors recalling images and notions forebodingly resonant throughout Vertigo; each constructs a similar recessional alignment from their composition's left to its center, the painting's arcade and the film's bridge both identically angled; both feature broad central passageways, the street in de Chirico and the flowing water in Hitchcock. Within the respective mise en scene, the enigmatic figures move. Madeleine's behavior troubles Scottie as the action of the little girl with the hoop puzzles us. The girl, her long hair blown behind, runs obliviously to the right up the tilted plane of the glaring street toward the piazza's ominous shadow. Madeleine, her scarf fluttering in the Golden Gate's seaward breeze, drifts to the left along the quay and disappears behind the obscuring edge of the old fort's dark wall. Each work seems to suspend its own medium's distinct ontology and adopt that of the other: de Chirico advancing toward cinema and Hitchcock recalling painting. However, I think it misguided to extend this thinking too far in one direction. That is to assert that painting is a static medium and film a dynamic one, and out of that reduction to postulate 54

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that through Hitchcock's cinematic methods an invigoration occurs so that a visual art like de Chirico's no longer exists in a condition of perpetual abeyance. This amounts to adopting a Keatsian stance toward the fixed realm of a celebration and a resentment of its immutable nature. To do this, in fact, would ultimately cede to film something akin to this same wronglyperceived status of art as ossified. There is something more to it. The ontological relationship is much more complex, and it runs deeper. A physical and a psychological dramaturgy drive them both, and a balance of dynamism and suspension pervade each. The self-adumbrated girl with the hoop is a corporeal phantom--effectively an absent presence. The long-shadowed torso, be it cast by a statue or a vital being, emits a powerful force incommensurate with its real presence which is not directly seen. Jointly, their obscured nonrealities exert a gravitational attraction that creates a sense of what Anne Hollander means by the proto-cinematic "psychic movement" in art.S3 Madeleine's movement and disappearance is made possible, 53 Throughout her study, Moving Pictures Anne Hollander emphasizes the point about psychic movement. 55

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of course, through what is generally perceived as cinema's defining ontological feature, the film's motion itself. However, during Scottie's vision of her she too is a ghostly animation, the only moving figure in the mise en scene rendering those aforementioned compositional elements a metaphysical stillness. Presented thus, she is the film's simultaneous presence and absence, befitting where the film is headed on its narrative path. The fact that the same filmic image depicts her as both present and absent is crucial. She disappears into the composition--not from the screen. It is her own motion and not the film's necessary ones of montage or camera movement which displaces her. The shot, as a work, remains intact. Needless to say, Hitchcock's conventional cutaway to Scottie, verifying his vision, lessens its impact and its de Chirican spirit. We realize that this "second" look at her is consistent with that "doubled" nature of the film's theme, but a single long take of Madeleine's slow walk along the water's edge would have enhanced our apperceptions of the image, so wonderfully envisioned by Hitchcock and brilliantly shot by 56

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Robert Burks.S4 The Emerging Towers An ingenious conflation of the film's visual motifs occurs in the doorway shots at Scottie's apartment the day after his rescue of Madeleine and her subsequent running off. She has returned to his Lombard Street apartment via a tortuous route from her Nob Hill townhome. The spiraling descent comprises Scottie's third pursuit of her. Their mutual rearrival at a doorway recalls the dramatic interplays in the flower shop and at Mission Dolores, connecting as well to the film's numerous other doorway emergences. Obviously, it also anticipates the extended use of this same image pattern through the remainder of the film to its final shot. But here the drama is less charged than in Scottie's covert 54 A considerable amount of credit for the visual brilliance of this film is due Hitchcock's longtime collaborator, cinematographer Robert Burks. Beginning with Strangers on a Train (1951) and continuing through Mamie (1964), Burks shot every Hitchcock filmwith the exception of Psycho (1960). His importance to the artistic legacy of these works is inarguable. Vertigo and at least five other of his Hitchcock films attest to Burks' of his craft and the enduring power of his work 57

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observation of Madeleine through the partially opened door at the flower shop or during his eerie pursuit of her through the arched doorways of the Mission. Leading and pursuing have temporarily halted. The moment is understated, relaxed, and conciliatory. Among Scottie's and Madeleine's intermingled concerns, apologies, and thank yous, they coyly enact a courtship. They are separately filmed in front of the exterior of his apartment's stark white walls: she on the top step of his entryway; he at the base of the landing. Scottie projects no shadow. Madeleine leans comfortably against her own outline cast on the wall behind her. The sequence is metaphysically infused moments later in the wide two-shot of them on the top step of Scottie's entry. Unerringly balanced in five increasingly proportionate and nearly seamless sections, the shot is one of the film's most beautiful. (Fig. 3.28).55 It concisely conveys the already-established characters and meanings, and subtly expresses their and the film's unconscious concerns and motivations. On its left side through Scottie's open door lies the memory of the previous 55 The still reproduced in this figure is taken from the rereleased Vertigo in video format. It is nearly impossible to see Coit Tower here as it to find the plinthed statuary in the Palace of the Legion of Honor shot referred to earlier. Robert A Harris restoration of the film released in 1996 does indeed 'restore' images to their place in the film 58

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night's comfort and its sanctuary. Scottie, reading the letter which Madeleine has just delivered, dominates the next segment of the composition. His hatted head and the upper third of his torso are profiled in front of a triangular shadow angled on the white wall behind him. The largest compositional element, the blank white plaster wall itself, comprises the center. Reminiscent of the stark mise en scene of Antonioni as well as that familiar and recurrent component of de Chirico's work, the wall's dimension prefigures, in its spatially significant emptiness, the enigmatic relationship of the characters so crucial to the film's penultimate scene in the mission's bell tower. Madeleine, in the shot's right center, leans enticingly back onto the railing's gridwork, her left profile no longer seen against the wall, but just clear of it--her face backgrounded by the receding street. The metaphysical perspective of Coit Tower behind and beyond Madeleine conveys one of the film's most finely realized pictorial moments. At once it displays a flatness and a curvature. The slender tower, in addition to evoking those magnificent structures of de Chirco (Fig. 3.2 and 3.3) recalls the precision of Signac's bright-paletted pointillism. It shimmers, 59

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and it luminously draws a finely wrought demarcation on its left edge, defining its form against the empty clarity of the noonday San Francisco sky. Besides these remarkable visual qualities, Coit Tower56 fascinates in other ways which begin to emerge here and which resonate throughout the film. Unaware of Scottie's address, Madeleine remembered Coit Tower and tells him she used it as a guide which led her straight to him. In a response which will reverberate ironically and tragically, Scottie jests that this is the first time he has been grateful to Coit Tower. If the phallic overtones of the tower's image are not at first visually perceived, then certainly other pronounced erotic associations can be heard just beneath each character's assessment of its sudden importance, or perhaps they can be read in the linguistic suggestions inherent in its name. Its appearance obviously has a timely consonance with their mutually emerging amorous attraction. Its positional implications also intrigue. Here it occupies the far right segment of the screen, completing this 56 Coit Tower could also be observed in the previous night's scene within Scottie's apartment. Through his central window's horizontal blinds its illluminated form suggested a kind of abiding vigilance, as did Scottie himself in many of the sequence's designs. 60

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remarkable composition. From Midge's apartment's windows, the same tower was just off screen, barely out of the shot. From that perspective, we and Scottie could see the slope of Telegraph Hill, yet not its famous landmark. The painter's brushes are the unifying images of Scottie's and Midge's parallel mise en scene; the suggestively eroticizing presence of Coit Tower does not figure in the former shot's composition. Putting these considerations aside (too precise as they are for a metaphysical reading), we need to return and reconstruct the whole filmic image itself. Reviewing it, we reperceive the troubling literalness of its physically separate characters, its flat white wall, and its singular recession. Only then do we begin to sense something in that space between Madeleine and the tower. Everything else in the mise en scene is distinctly foregrounded. Occupying as it does that fifth of the screen, the distance mystifies us and only slowly invites our seeing the tower's physical presence. The tower itself appears void of both associations and exact meanings. De Chirico comes to mind again: "What shall I love unless it be the enigma?"57 With this shot of 57 In Soby, The Early Chirico, p 13 The reference is to a motto that de Chirico affixed to a 1908 self-portrait. 61

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Coit Tower, as with the images of towers yet to appear, Hitchcock achieves what de Chirico does by imparting a symbolic vagueness through a pictorial exactitude. From this singular image looming in distance of the doorway scene, Scottie and Madeleine embark upon mutual wandering. He hurriedly closes his apartment's open door, and jointly they traverse transitional filmscapes: an enigmatically curved road around Mt. Tamalpais, a straight stretch along Stinson Beach, and the wondrous groves of Muir Woods. In this latter sequence, the filmed images once again express painterly traditions of Bocklin as well as an evocation of another painter who had a considerable influence on de Chirico, Max Klinger.S8 Scottie returns to Midge after each of his falls including, of course, his falling in love. Following his excursion with Madeleine which culminates in their first kiss, he again seeks 58 The shot I am thinking about is the one of Madeleine's gloved hand With it she points out, via the the spiraling growth rings of the felled redwood, that "somewhere in here I was born, and there I died. But it was only a moment for you. You took no notice It is a marvelous shot, and its invention seems owed to Klinger, whose own art practically celebrated a fetishism of the glove Klinger's recurrent gloves definitely influenced de Chirico An example of this can be seen in The Song of Love (1914). But even of greater interest is a comment, related by Soby p. 30, that augments this paper's focus: "It is interesting to note that he [de Chirico] admired in Klinger a cinematic quality whose impact, if difficult to isolate, is often felt in de Chirico's own early work: 'As I have already remarked, it [Klinger's art] possesses the dramatic quality of certain moving pictures in which the protagonists of tragedy and of modern life seem fixed in a fleeting apparitional moment in a setting of extreme reality 62

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Midge. Hoping to regain Scottie's attention, she has returned to her "first love," painting. She is at work on one as the scene begins. Centered in front of the same middle window so crucial to previous shots, Midge stands, palette in hand, amused by her own work. In a few minutes, Scottie will observe her finished painting from the same place and evince no sense of humor. The parody of the Carlotta portrait complemented by the image of the real and soon pitifully self-defeated Midge (Fig 3.29) forms a concise metaphysical interior. Although we see it on the screen for but a moment, within we notice its brilliant compression of illusion and reality, of parody and passion, of the tragic and the comic; additionally, and most importantly, we view its summary conflation of cinema and painting. Real space is nearly indistinguishable from the illusory. In fact, the receding sky in the portrait appears deeper than the checkered floor tilted toward her. Squeezed by these planes, neither the actual nor the parodic Midge fascinates Scottie. She reveals the predicament of her true confinement when, after Scottie's sullen departure, the closed glass window reflects her anguished face and repels her thrown brush. 63

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In the next scene's lone shot (not reprinted here), the love sick and barely visible Scottie wanders across Union Square beneath the high-columned Statue of Eros silhouetted against a blue nocturnal sky. Nowhere in Vertigo is the iconography's relationship to the character's interior state as manifest. Space, nearly denied in the film's immediately preceding images, reemerges here above the building's sharp outlines and around the statue's yearning form. New and familiar towers rise into the faint glow of the next dawn. In the distance beyond and above Scottie, who is asleep on his couch, Coit Tower and the nearly identical spires of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul loom. The scene is imbued with a sense of the approaching proximities of reality and dream. Its establishing shot of the slumbering Scottie over whom these towers brood suggests a dreamlike atmosphere, and our watchful presence--but a moment before Scottie awakes--intimates that we, too, are privy to the dream. He is wakened from his slumber by the doorbell's soft buzz; and, still somewhat languorous, opens the door to Madeleine who stands haloed in the crepuscular light. Hitchcock devises a visual 64

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trick here befitting the oneiric nature of the entire sequence. Out the east window of Scottie's apartment we could clearly see not only the ever-vigilant tower but also the church's spires.S9 The illusion occurs when Scottie opens his door which should (as was indicated by the pronounced shadow line in the previous day's doorway scene) provide a view looking due south. However, despite the certainty of these logistics, the church spires reappear in that pale glow of the morning light beyond Scottie and Madeleine as they are depicted in Figure 3.30. The apparent reality of the looming skyline that we observed over the sleeping Scottie has moved. This visual displacement occurs as if in a dream. And yet all is wakeful now. Paradoxically once she is inside, Madeleine lucidly recites the clarity of her vision of the dream she brings with her. Her dream is clear, logical, and arranged; reality is skewed, contradictory, and obscure. Within, Scottie deciphers the one by the other. The gradually closing distance between the dream world and the real one appears to accelerate here. Hitchcock achieves this effect imagistically by an inversion of de Chirico's iconic 59 Perhaps it is Hitchcock s grounding in and subsequent rejection of Catholicism which influences his peculiar mix of Vertigo's towers, sacred and profane. 65

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components, something which the painter himself does in certain works. The shot of Figure 3.30 places the towers in the background and brings the usual shadowy and remote figures to the front. Not necessarily by recourse to the film's spoken narrative, but through the dramatic visual immediacy of the two characters have we gained access to the substance of what those figures in a de Chircian painting might be saying to each other. Madeleine now crosses the same threshold she stood near just the day before, and with her comes the dream. Scottie's rational explanation of not only the dream's circumstance but also its exact place evinces an axiom which, if not exclusively a property of the Metaphysical painters, then, more broadly, is certainly one which reveals a kinship to the Surrealists: the resolution of dream and reality.60 Scottie is not so much set upon resolving these once disparate realms as he is determined to explain one by the other. So in his rational attempt to solve the mystery of Madeleine's possessed state, he ushers her to a place which, he promises, will destroy her dream. Events in this setting disclose new visions which will complicate, resolve, and then newly 60 The phrase 'resolution of dream and reality' occurs frequently among the writings of both the Metaphysical painters and the Surrealists 66

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reveal Vertigo's enigmas. Mission San Juan Bautista The Mission San Juan Bautista is one of cinema's grandest Metaphysical set pieces. A few others attain a similar stature: Antonioni's forlorn Island of Panarea in L 'Avventura; Resnais' mirrored interior in the chateau at Marienbad; Welles' vast yet simultaneously cloistered labyrinth of Xanadu. As with these works, this single locale is not the film's only Metaphysical setting. However it is here (as it is in each of those movie's respective settings) where the film's shifting demarcations between the real and the illusory are enacted. In that sense they all manifest the notion of 'spatial theater' so integral to a de Chirican vision. Although it does not appear until well over halfway through the film, the Mission San Juan Bautista informs the remainder of Vertigo figuring in at least five of its episodes: the first visit; the subsequent coroner's inquest; Scottie's nightmare sequence; Judy's flashback; and the magnificent and 67

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final physical return of Scottie and Judy. The film's treatment of the setting which will end in a gloomy twilight begins in the full radiance of day. Placed iri the half-shadowed recess of the arcade's walkway (Fig. 3.31 }, Hitchcock's camera again inverts the typical perspective of early de Chirico paintings. In nearly all of his Metaphysical townscapes, de Chirico depicts those innumerable arcades from without. Not until The Anxious Journey ( 1 91 3, New York, The Museum of Modern Art) does he begin to explore the visual and thematic complexities which derive from establishing the perspective from within the passageway. Predominantly, de Chirico's canvases exhibit that deeply saturated blackness which fills the shallow spaces of his arched forms (Fig. 3.3 2: Melancholy, London, Collection Peter Watson).61 However here, Hitchcock places us inside just such a space on that meaningful border of the exterior and the interior, between darkness and light. The slowly panning camera of this first San Juan Bautista 61 Soby makes an interesting observation about de Chirico's use of the arch in his paintings. "The arch . is one of the most persistent elements in de Chirico's youthful vision In explaining its fascination for him [self] he quoted [Otto] Weininger as follows: The arc of the circle, as an ornament, may be beautiful: it does not signify perfect completeness, beyond all criticism, as does Midgard's snake that encircles the world. In the arc there is still something unaccomplished which needs to be and can be completed: it still permits presentiment.' Soby, p. 40. 68

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sequence points us outwardly into the bright vastness across the mission's common green. The filmmaker's inversion of the painter's vision almost goes unnoticed: We share the camera's objective point of view. But the shot, once the ninety-degree pan is accomplished, reveals very little that suggests de Chirican iconography. 62 The compositional reversal is difficult to perceive because evidence of it cannot be seen. We are in the objective position of a Hitchcock shot or situated as if we were in a de Chirico painting. We stand in the recessed shadow of the arcade. The ominous tower looms behind us. Inhabiting those de Chirican spaces among objects usually looked at, we look back. What we see (the tiny figure and green car excepted) mystifies us by its absence, by its lack of objects visually encoded in the Metaphysical. We look through the arched form into mystery. Effectively then, this establishing shot functions emblematically and brilliantly for all of the San Juan Bautista sequences. From the recessed perspective of our grounded safety, we see into a Metaphysical 62 01 course. the habited figure of the nun and Madeleine's ever-present green car resurrect something, but the general filmscape, marked by an old hotel and the livery stable, hardly intimates the metaphysical. 69

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absence prefiguring Scottie's and the film's final elevated vision. Madeleine and Scottie are themselves recessed in the darkened stable which opens to the light on either end. The setting is obscure yet transparent. Reappropriating Scottie's vision, we see his view of Madeleine seated on the carriage dramatically backlit. Entranced, she evidently stares into the same emptiness we just witnessed from across the green. Again the apparent lack of any de Chirican image impresses us, especially given the shot's vantage point and its dimensions. The only vestige of the painter's visual catalogue is an automobile (recalling those oddly juxtaposed de Chirican vehicles) here I moving directly away. Scottie rationally declaims that there is an answer for everything as the enigmatic car heads toward the mission. The film's accelerating drama does not occlude the cinematic evocation of its Metaphysical spirit; rather, it heightens it. Scottie and Madeleine, together before the church, are writhing and passionate enactments of a de Chirico work such as Hector and Andromache (Fig. 3.11 ). Following Madeleine's own look toward the mission's tower, Scottie's vision of it (Fig. 3.33) 70

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evidences the tower's impelling and upward thrust. Contrastingly, De Chirico's masterpiece, The Nostalgia of the Infinite (Fig. 3.34: 1911, New York, The Museum of Modern Art), exhibits a kind of patient equilibrium, as if it were awaiting the arrival of the two figures near its base. In this sense, the painting embodies the abiding Metaphysical mood seen in the shot announcing Scottie's and Judy's final return to the mission (Fig. 3.36). Vertigo's pace resumes via Madeleine's rush and Scottie's renewed pursuit of her through the arched opening into the Church's dim nave, eerily reminiscent of the Mission Dolores. However, that sequence's languor has been superseded by an imaged urgency nowhere more realized than in Scottie's climbing the stairway to the bell tower. Achieved through a combined forward zoom and a backward track, the nearly kaleidoscopic stairway shots comprise Hitchcock's grandest Metaphysical Interiors. The emotional and psychological effects of the shattering first climax are immediately expressed in the shot of Scottie's slow vertiginous descent of the stairs and are reinforced in the 71

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precipitous matte shot from outside the heights of the tower (Fig. 3.35). The former appears to hold its cinematic techniques of tracking and zooming in a remarkable stasis while Scottie descends into the image's suspended realms of space and ground. The latter shot with its disorienting aerial perspective receives Scottie stumbling from the arcade into a sourceless shadow. Above, the tower rises out of the composition, truncating our view of its topmost level, the belfry. Re-Visions After one of the its rare fades,63 Vertigo's very next image signals the copying and modeling that will transpire in its final third. With the camera's immediate return to and its replacement within the now completely shadowed arcade, the film begins to imitate itself. Vertigo generates within its own images and through its own image-making process its theme of 63 Unlike Rear Window, a film which is punctuated by the fade, Vertigo rarely loses or even temporarily ceases its own vision. Its most prominent and frequent punctuator, the dissolve-instead of evoking that typical filmic sense of uncertain boundaries--reinforces, throughout the film, Scottie's and our overlapped seeing. In fact, the film's predominant theme invites an extended analysis of its use of the dissolve, the cinematic technique by which the one becomes the other. 72

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remaking.64 Thus, acting like those Schopenhauerian 'phantoms and dream-pictures' and embodying that Nietzschean reality which 'lies concealed,' Vertigo becomes a palpable shadow of itself, its own Metaphysical other. By way of Scottie's haunting revisitations and through Judy's and Scottie's conscious and unconscious returns to the Mission San Juan Bautista, Vertigo doubles its own cinematically metaphysical perspective. Although Hitchcock admitted displeasure with the inclusion of Judy's flashback sequence, it does not lessen the film. I think the strongest testimony to the stature of the purely visual art of Vertigo resides in the realization that once the secret of the narrative is out, the film does not lose its emotive power. The revelation discloses only the first level of the film's hidden realities. It does not destroy its Metaphysical being. In de Chirican terms, the 'daemon' remains to be found. Our, Scottie's, Judy's, and the film's wanderings do not cease. They continue up to and beyond the final shot of the bell tower and of Scottie who begins to see, as with 64 This feature bears yet another uncanny resemblance to Giorgio de Chirico's own lifelong tendency to recopy, remodel and rework the artistic productions of his youth. 73

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the clarity of a de Chirican vision, the contiguity of reality and dream. 74

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APPENDIX Figure 3.1 75

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76 Tho Tower, 45"/a x 177/a". Collection Bernard Po i ssonnier, Paris Figure 3.2

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Tire Great Tower, 461/.r X Collection Bernard Poissonn ier, Paris 77 Figure 3.3

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Tile Rose Tower. 1913. 29!12 X 39\i
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79 Tl1e Enigma of tl1c Oracle, 1910. About 1 1 x 18". Privat e collec tion, Italy Figure 3.5

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Figure 3.6 80

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Bi:icklin: Odysse11s nnd Cnlypso, "158"1-8). Kunstmuseum, Bose! Figure 3.7 81

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GRAND METAPHYSICAL INTERIOR, 1917 Figure 3.8 82

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Figure 3 9 83

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Figure 3.10 84

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Figure 3.11 85

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The Fatal Light. 1915. 21 X 14 W' Figure 3 12 86

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.' The Endless Voyage, 1:91:4. 341h x 1:51//'. Collection Mrs. Marcel Duchamp, New York Figure 3.13 87

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Figure 3 14 88

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'HE JEWISH ANGEL, 1915 Figure 3.15 89

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THE DOUBLE DREAM OF SPRING, l 915 Figure 3 16 90

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Figure 3.17 91

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14 ARNOLD BOECKLIN Tbe Island of lbe Dead r88o 92 Figure 3.18

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Figure 3 .19 93

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Figure 3.20 94

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Tl,,. I n!:'>ilml,. nf t/1P. ltafiuitc. (?). 171h x .u". Collection Mrs John Stephan, New York Figure 3.21 95

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The Delights of the Poet, "19"13. 273/ x ;4". The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the Lillie P. Blis s Bequest Figure 3 22 96

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The Enig:ua of the Hour x 277/ti'. The Gianni Mattioli Foundation, Milan Feroldi Collection Sec pho tograph of courtyard adjoining the Brancacci Chapel Church of the Carmine, Florence, page 58 Figure 3.23 97

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Figure 3.24 98

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The Depnr/ur e of llw Pool, '9'4 34 "'6". :ollcction M rs. L. M Mai tland, Brentwood, California Figure 3 25 99

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Figure 3.26 100

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GIORGIO DE CHIRICO. Mystery and Melancholy of a Street. 1914. 33 1 /2 X 2.71/[. Resor Collection, New Canaan, Connecticut Figure 3.27 101

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Figure 3.28 102

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Figure 3.29 103

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Figure 3.30 104

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Figure 3.31 105

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Figure 3.32 106

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Figure 3.33 107

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"he Nostalgia of till! lnfi11ite. 1913-1914. 5JY.i x 2JW' Figure 3.34 108

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Figure 3.35 109

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Figure 3.36 110

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexandrian, Sarane. Surrealist Art. trans. Gordon Clough. London: Thames and Hudson, 1970. Andrew, James Dudley. Concepts in Film Theory. New York: Oxford University Press. 1984. Film in the Aura of Art. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1984. Arnheim, Rudolf. Film as Art. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1957. Arrowsmith, William. Antonioni-The Poet of Images. ed. Ted Perry. New York: Oxford University Press. 1995. Bazarov, Konstantin. Landscape Painting. London: Octopus Books. 1981. Bazin, Andre. What is Cinema. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1967. Brill, Leslie. The Hitchcock Romance: Love and Irony in Hitchcock's Films. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1988. Brown, Royal. "Vertigo as Orphic Tragedy". Literature and Film Quarterly. 1. 14 (1986): 32-43. 1 1 1

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Cameron, lan and Robin Wood. Antonioni. .New York: Praeger Publishers. 1969. Carra, Massimo, Patrick Waldberg and Ewald Rathke. Metaphysical Art. New York: Praeger Publishers. 1971. Carroll, John. Toward a Structural PsychologY of Cinema. The Hague: Mouton Publishers. 1980. Chatman, Seymour. Antonioni or. the Surface of the World. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1985. Cole, Bruce and Adelheid Gealt. Art of the Western World from Ancient Greece to Post-Modernism. New York: Summit Books. 1989. Crawford, Larry. "Looking, Film and Painting. the Trickster's In Site/In Sight/Insight/Incite". Wide Angle. 3.5 ( 1983 ): 6469. Crow, Thomas, Brian Lukacher, Linda Nochlin and Frances K. Pohl. Nineteenth Century Art. A Critical History. London: Thames and Hudson. 1 994. Daile Vacche, Angela. Cinema and Painting: How Art is Used in Film. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1996. Deutelbaum, Marshall and Leland Poague, eds. A Hitchcock Reader. Ames: Iowa State University Press. 1986. Eliot, Alexander. Three Hundred Years of American Painting. New York: Time. 1957. 112

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Fer, Briony, David Batchelor and Paul Wood. Realism. Rationalism Surrealism. Art between the Wars. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1993. Ferguson, Russell, ed. Art and Film Since 1945: Hall of Mirrors. Los Angeles: The Monacelli Press and The Museum of Contemporary Art. 1996. Goldwater, Robert. Symbolism. New York: Harper & Row. 1979. Harris, Thomas. "Rear Window and Blow-Up: Hitchcock's Straightforwardness vs. Antonioni's Ambiguity". Literature and Film Quarterly. 1.1 5 (1987): 60-63. Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood, eds. Art in Theory 1900-1990. An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell. 1992. Hobbs, Jack A. and Robert Duncan. Arts. Ideas and Civilization. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 1989. Hollander, Anne. Moving Pictures. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1986. Hubert, Riese. Magnifying Mirrors: Women. Surrealism. and Part nership. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1994. Hunter, Sam and John Jacobus. Modern Art. New York: Prentice Hall. 1992. Janson, H.W .. History of Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1991. 113

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Jenkins, Bruce. "Hollis Frampton's Autumnal Equinox: A Modern ist Film and its Pictoral Past" Film: HistoricalTheoretical Speculations. The 1977 Film Studies Annual: Part Two. New York: Redgrave Publishing. 1977. Kaplan, Charles and William Anderson, eds. Criticism Major Statements. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1991. Kawin, Bruce. How Movies Work. Berkeley: University of Califor nia. 1992. Leprohon, Pierre. Michelangelo Antonioni. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1963. Lucie-Smith, Edward. Symbolist Art. New York: Thames and Hudson. 1972. Mast, Gerald revised by Bruce F. Kawin. A Short Historv of the Movies. New York: Macmillan Publishing. 1992. Mast, Gerald, Marshall Cohen, and Leo Braudy, eds. Film Theory and Criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1992. Modleski, Tania. The Women Who Knew Too Much. Hitchcock and Feminist Theory. New York: Methuen. 1988. Monaco, James. How to Read a Film. The Art. Technology, Language, History. and Theory of Film and Media. New York: Oxford University Press. 1981. Paini, Dominique. "How Films See Art", The Journal of Art. Vol. 4, No. 8. (October, 1991 ): 28-29. Perry, Ted and Rene Prieto. Michelangelo Antonioni-a guide to references and resources. Boston: G.K. Hall. 1986. 114

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Raubicheck, Walter and Walter Srebnick, eds. Hitchcock's Rereleased Films From Rope to Vertigo. Foreword by Andrew Sarris. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1991. Reisz, Karel and Gavin Millar. The Technique of Film Editing. New York: Hastings House. 1968. Rohdie, Sam. Antonioni. London: The British Film Institute. 1990. Rosenblum, Robert. "De Chirico's Long American Shadow", Art In America. Vol. 84, No. 7. ( July, 1996): 46-55. Rubin, William. Dada, Surrealism. and Their Heritage. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. 1968. Sloan, Jane. Alfred Hitchcock: The Definitive Filmography. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1993. Sobchack, Vivian. The Address of the Eye. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1992. Soby, James Thrall. Giorgio de Chirico. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. 1968. ---. The Early Chirico. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. 1 94 1 Spoto, Donald. The Art of Alfred Hitchcock Fifty Years of His Motion Pictures. New York: Doubleday. 1976. Sterritt, David. The Films of Alfred Hitchcock. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. 1993. 115

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Williams, Linda. Figures of Desire. A Theory and Analysis of Surrealist Film. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1981. Young, Vernon. "Nostalgia of the Infinite: Notes on de Chirico, Antonioni and Resnais", Arts Magazine. 37. Jan. 1963: 14-21. 116