Synopsis: An ex-police officer who suffers from an intense fear of heights is hired to prevent an old friend's wife from committing suicide, but all is not as it seems. Hitchcock's haunting, compelling masterpiece is uniquely revelatory about the director's own predilections and hang-ups and is widely considered to be one of his masterworks.
Genre: Romance, Thriller
Year:
1958
74 Views

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - CLOSE SHOT

We see a close view of a roof parapet and the curved rail of

a fire escape. In the bag, are large skyscrapers with all

their windows fully lit in the late winter afternoon. This

background is used for the CREDIT TITLES of the picture.

After the last card has FADED OUT, we HOLD on to the empty

parapet, when suddenly a man's hand reaches and grips the

top of the rail. It is followed by another hand and, after a

beat, we see the face of a man in his early 30's. He is an

Italian type, with rough features. He turns quickly and looks

below him and then turning back, springs up over the empty

parapet and is lost from view. We STAY on the EMPTY SCENE

for a second or two as we HEAR the scraping of boots on the

iron ladder. Someone else is coming up. Presently, two more

hands and the head of a uniformed policeman with cap and

badge starts to climb over the parapet. The CAMERA PULLS

BACK so that by the time he has completed his climb, he is

in full figure. He dashes out of the picture drawing his

gun. Immediately following him over the parapet, a detective

in plain clothes climbs over. This is JOHN FERGUSON, known

as SCOTTIE. He too pulls a gun and dashes out of the picture.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - LONG SHOT

A vast panorama of the San Francisco skyline. Nearer to us

are three tiny figures running and jumping over the roof

tops. The man on the run, whom we first saw climb over the

parapet, is dressed in a white shirt and light tan linen

slacks, and wearing sneakers. The uniformed man is shooting

at him. Scottie is dressed in medium grey clothes. The CAMERA

SLOWLY PANS the group across the roof tops.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - MED. SHOT

We now see a short gap between rooftops, with a drop below.

The pursued man makes the leap successfully followed by the

uniformed policeman. Scottie makes the same leap, but almost

trips in taking off and is thrown off balance. He tries to

recover, lands awkwardly on the opposite roof, and falls

forward, prone, with a heavy impact that hurts and drives

tile breath from his body. He tries to rise but raises his

head with a look of pain -- one leg is doubled up under the

other. The tiles give way, and he slides backwards, and his

legs go over the edge of the roof, then his body. In his

daze he grasps at the loose tiles, and as he goes over the

edge he clutches on to the gutter, which gives way, and he

swings off into space, looking down.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - CLOSE SHOT

Scottie looking down.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - LONG SHOT

From Scottie's viewpoint, the gap beneath the building and

the ground below. It seems to treble its depth.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - CLOSEUP

Scottie looking down with horror. His eyes close as a wave

of nausea overcomes him.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - MEDIUM SHOT

In the distance the fleeing criminal. The policeman, seeing

what has happened to Scottie, returns to the slope of the

roof and strains to reach down to Scottie.

POLICEMAN:

Give me your hand!

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - CLOSE UP

SCOTTIE'S HEAD. His hands grip the edge of the guttering.

The tips of the fingers of policeman straining to reach

Scottie, are at the top of screen. Scottie begins to open

his grip but stares down, he quickly resumes his grip looking

up hopelessly towards the helping hand. He looks down again.

FROM SCOTTIE'S VIEWPOINT - the ground below still a long way

away.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO ROOF TOPS - (DUSK) - MEDIUM SHOT

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Alec Coppel

Alec Coppel (17 September 1907 – 22 January 1972) was an Australian-born screenwriter, novelist and playwright. He spent the majority of his career in London and Hollywood, specialising in light thrillers, mysteries and sex comedies. He is best known for the films Vertigo (1958), The Captain's Paradise (1953), Mr Denning Drives North (1951) and Obsession (1949), and the plays I Killed the Count and The Gazebo. more…

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"Vertigo" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 22 May 2018. <https://www.scripts.com/script/vertigo_1423>.

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