Vertigo

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Boileau Narcejac, Alec Coppel, Samuel A Taylor
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes

San Francisco detective John Ferguson (James Stewart), who is called “Scottie” by his closest friends, develops an extreme fear of heights after a fellow police officer (Fred Graham) falls to his death during a rooftop chase. His fear of heights soon leads to an advanced case of vertigo. He is forced to retire from police work, and is unable even to stand on a stepstool in the apartment of his friend Marjorie “Midge” Wood (Barbara Bel Geddes) without being paralyzed by fear and dizziness.

Scottie is later hired as a private detective by a college acquaintance, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), who wants his beautiful wife Madeleine Elster (Kim Novak) followed. Elster is worried that Madeleine appears to have symptoms of a mental illness or spiritual possession. Scottie tails Madeleine, who spends her days visiting the grave and painting of Carlotta Valdes, a woman who killed herself 100 years earlier. Scottie notices that Madeleine is wearing her hair exactly like Carlotta and that she wanders the city in a trancelike, obsessive state.

Scottie becomes strongly attracted to Madeleine. He follows her to Fort Point at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, where she jumps into San Francisco Bay in what appears to be a suicide attempt. Scottie saves her and brings her to his apartment. On the phone with Gavin, Scottie learns that Carlotta was 26 when she killed herself, Madeleine’s current age.

Judy pleads to Scottie that she does love him, and his anger abates. The two embrace and then, suddenly, a shadowy figure appears at the top of the stairs. Judy, frightened, backs away from the approaching shadow and steps backwards off the tower ledge, plunging to her death. The figure, a nun, whispers, “God, have mercy”, and rings the tower bell as Scottie stares downwards.

Psycho

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Novel, Robert Bloch, Screenplay, Joseph Stefano, Samuel A Taylor
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire

In Phoenix, Arizona, lovers Marion Crane (Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) want to marry, but cannot, as Sam is in debt and must also pay heavy alimony to his ex-wife. Unhappy and desperate to improve their situation, Marion steals $40,000 in cash from her office and drives to California, where Sam lives. All the while, Marion is nervous and apprehensive, and drives well into the night, eventually parking alongside the road to sleep. She is awakened by a concerned highway police officer, who warns her that it is dangerous to sleep in a car on a busy highway and tells her that there are many motels that she can use in future. However, Marion’s agitation and desperation to leave arouses his suspicions. He allows her to go on, but follows her, which agitates Marion further. Realizing that he now knows her plate number and can track her when the money is reported missing, she trades her 1956 Ford Mainline for a 1957 Ford Custom 300 before continuing to California. However, the same officer has been watching the exchange from across the street and gotten her new plate number. Marion leaves, worrying that the car trader will express suspicions of his own to the officer.

The last scene shows Norman Bates seated in a cell. His mind is now completely dominated by the persona of his mother. We hear “her” internal voice as a voice-over. She blames Norman, and plans on demonstrating to the authorities that it was Norman who did the crimes, whereas she is utterly harmless. She knows that people must be observing her, and will show them what kind of a person she is. As a fly crawls on Norman’s hand, Mother continues, “I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They’ll see, they’ll know, and they’ll say, ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly'”. We see “Mother” smile with satisfaction, which shows through Norman’s demented stare (a double exposure shot of Norman’s face over a bleached skull). The film’s final shot is of Marion’s car being recovered from the swamp.