Monday, July 2, 2012

Nancy meets Alfred Hitchcock

Caution: If you’ve never seen Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo, you may want to skip this post.

Behold Nancy Ritz and Sluggo Smith, in their screen tests for the roles of Madeleine Elster and John “Scottie” Ferguson, roles that went to Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. Nancy’s Madeleine, possessed by the spirit of her great-grandmother Carlotta Valdes, is about to speak the haunting line “Somewhere in here I was born, and there I died.”

[Click for a larger view of Novak, Stewart, and a cross-section of a redwood.]

More haunting still is the Ritz and Smith version of Vertigo’s recognition scene. In the blue-green light of the Hotel Empire’s neon sign, Scottie sees Judy Barton transformed at last into the now-dead Madeleine.

Vertigo is my favorite film. I think it can take a joke.

[Click for larger views.]

Other Nancy posts
Charlotte russe
The greatest Nancy panel?
Nancy is here
Nancy meets Stanley Kubrick (screen test for The Shining)

[Nancy panels by Ernie Bushmiller, March 13 and March 30, 1945, from Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943–1945 (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2012). I’ve removed speech balloons from the second panel. Blue-green light courtesy of the Hotel Empire.]

comments: 4

Sean said...

If I were being cynical, I'd say that Ritz's and Smith's screen test was a shill by the movie studio to keep Novak's and Stewart's salaries low. :)

Great catch, by the way. This has all the makings of a classic.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Sean. When I see this sort of thing, I can’t stop myself.

Adair said...

One of my favorite films, Chris Marker's La Jettee, quotes this very scene from Vertigo. The time-traveller points to the furthest ring of the Sequoia trunk and says: I come from there...

Michael Leddy said...

Our son introduced us to that movie. Someone has put the scenes together on YouTube, along with a Vertigo-watching scene from Twelve Monkeys.