Thursday, September 18, 2008

Going down with a thud

The Merry Popcorn Bunch watched Hitchcock’s Vertigo last night. The ending still confounds me despite the fact that Miss Alice insists that the nuns were out on parole chase. This is one of the movies that I have to watch again because I failed to see its brilliance. Perhaps it is in the impact of the nonstop musical score which spirals over and over again to repeated scenarios of ghostly madness or perhaps it is precisely a paraphrase of what I read in a book: tension and mystery at its best shrouded over a simple Scooby Doo open and shut case.

Even though the turn of events is astounding and deals mainly with the obsession of the Jimmy Stewart’s character to overcome not only his acrophobia but to free himself from events of the past, it just fails to live up to the tension that one feels when watching other Hitchcock movies such as Rear Window. Nonetheless, the ending of Vertigo leaves you wondering: mad nuns on call for a 911 suicide or a simple fall from grace at the fear of being confronted by a ghost? The fade out at the end of the movie left us guessing and rewinding to see what we had missed. What we failed to understand last night was, what the hell was a nun doing up in a bell tower in the middle of the night? Of course you’re gonna “hear voices” if you go out in search for gloomy places to spend your evenings.-

Viewer Commentary:
  • Why would you let Madeleine run off to a cliff when you know she’s a potential suicide risk? She's a clear case of Wuthering Heights!
  • Clark Kent, our official San Francisco tour guide, fell asleep and could not continue with the tour. He woke up in the middle of the movie claiming to be “awakened by the soundtrack” and gave us (a.k.a "the awakened") a detailed summary of everything.
  • Limbo: “The thud can only be explained by the fact that the Nuns are fully equipped with ladders and 911 calls in case they happen to hear a thud at night. It just means suicide."
  • “Midge es el patetico caso de una virgin que quiere ser tirona”
  • Two things cannot be explained in this movie: the ending and Novak’s eyebrows.
  • “Oh pero Judy y Madeleine no se parecen en nada” (resultaron ser la misma persona)
  • Igor: “pero Midge is short for WHAT?”
  • BDark con su random story del tio en una finca con la Kowalenko y que “booooo”. We simply thudded.
  • Miss Alice: “I’m sure the nuns had something to do with it”
    Limbo: “ehmm nooooo.”
  • Toto: “who the hell is Nun Vader and why does she become the main character at the end of the movie?"
For the benefit of the MPB (the Merry Popcorn Bunch) here is a small account of the final scene. Don’t read if you haven’t viewed the film:

"Experiencing intense feelings of both repulsion (hate) and attraction (love), he softens when she insists that she loves him and falls into his arms for a passionate embrace and kiss - they renew their twisted love. Then, suddenly the footsteps of a black-clad figure in the shadows startle Judy. [In Judy's mind, the words "bringing her back" are fulfilled.] Judy backs away from Scottie gasping: "Oh, no!" The dark, shadowy figure says: "I hear voices." Terrified, thinking and believing she is seeing the ghost of the murdered Madeleine (or the reincarnation of the ghostly doomed mother Carlotta Valdes), Judy recoils, steps and falls backward through an opening in the tower and plummets to her own death (off-screen) in an emotionally-shattering climax. The figure, actually a nun from the mission, crosses herself and murmurs the last words of the film: "God have mercy."

The nun [a Mother Superior or virginal Sister of Mary?] pulls the bell rope and rings the mission bell. As the bell tolls (signalling not salvation but eternal damnation), Scottie, cured of his vertigo, emerges from the arched window of the tower onto the belfry ledge. He stares down in horror at her body far below - stunned, open-mouthed, shocked and glassy-eyed with his arms slightly away from his body. He is cured of his vertigo, but totally destroyed by his other delusions and burgeoning sorrow. Will he join her in a suicidal leap, or again go mad? Tragically loving and losing the same woman twice, repeating the pattern he had intended to break, the scene fades to black."

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