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Literature Film Quarterly (1989) - Orpheus Descending: Love in "Vertigo"




Ostensibly the dramatization of a man's infatuation with a woman he supposes dead, Vertigo has been analyzed extensively by critics like Robin Wood because of the haunting sense of its strange visual power, a power somehow incompatible with the simple reading of the film as a study in necrophilia causally related to Scottie's acrophobia. If a love as powerful as Scottie's cannot bring Madeleine to life, then Judy's death at the end is the fitting and tragic climax of a vision of the modem world more appalling and desolate than the death of God, for the God that is still possible in Scottie must remain alone in a darkness rendered absolute by the absence of any responsive voice.