Vertigo

Been studying Kim Novak’s hair in Vertigo again. Hitchcock seems to have been set on using it as a character; these loving close ups make it obvious. Many shots are composed around her hairstyles [all delicate wigs] and often the lens in focused on the hair, not the face, keeping the rest of the frame in a depth of field haze. The swirled chignon isn’t mere decoration, it’s structured like a dizzying vortex leading into a dark hole. When she’s in control seducing Scotty, not a single hair is out of place, even on a windy hilltop. When she needs to inspire Scotty’s sympathy and protection, her hair is at its most vulnerable, sad wet tendrils crying on her back. Her hair is a character in the diabolical plot against dazzled, naive, horny Scotty.

Not gone with the wind. Elnett-ed to infinity.

Sad, confused chignon.

Ready for its close up. One of many.

Another miracle of senses is inspired by the two different shots used when Scotty sees Madeleine for the first time. This scene was reshot after filming had been completed [Novak had looked in the camera by mistake] and bears signs of inevitable slips in continuity. Can you guess which is the latter version? It’s the one with the redder background.

Judy is a mere brunette, a lesser breed. She knows it. “I’m just a girl.”

As Judy, she disappears into the background. She has no light.

“I don’t care about me anymore.”

On a parting note, meet Kim’s wig head, on which Max Factor created these Vertigo wigs.

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