Hitchcock’s Masterful Use of Colors in 1958’s Vertigo

vertigo 1958
source: Paramount Pictures

Vertigo is one of the best films ever to be put on the silver screen.

Directed by the incomparable Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo is a movie unlike anything I’ve ever seen. With its compelling storyline, fantastic acting and incredible location shots, it’s hard to label this film with anything other than the word “perfection.”

An underrated aspect of this movie, however, is the way Hitchcock uses color. There are multiple scenes in the film where color is (in some shape or form) used as a part of the story. For example, the color green is used to symbolize Scottie’s feelings of uneasiness, or more specifically – a dreamlike state. It’s no coincidence that every scene involving Judy or Madeliene the color green in somehow squeezed into the frame.

Vertigo 1958 2
source: Paramount Pictures

Even when green isn’t the focal point, Hitchcock‘s liberal use of color touches every single fiber of this movie.

Vertigo 1958 3
source: Paramount Pictures
Vertigo 1958 4
source: Paramount Pictures
Vertigo 1958 5
source: Paramount Pictures

The next time you have the luxury of watching Vertigo, look of for these intriguing tidbits of cinematic genius. It’s most certainly the least appreciated part of such a legendary movie.

Thank you, Alfred, we greatly appreciate it.


20 thoughts on “Hitchcock’s Masterful Use of Colors in 1958’s Vertigo

  1. For someone who made brilliant use of silver and chrome for such a long time, Hitchcock certainly was a master at colour. As Carol pointed out, you see the same master touch in Dial M For Murder. Thanks for the post Alex – look forward to reading more, now that I have discovered you! Best regards, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vertigo is not only a terrific story, but the film is so beautiful to look at too. The use of colour is extraordinary in this film. I love the scene where Judy becomes transformed and appears in a green haze to Scotty. Green seems to be a key colour in this film.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read that Hitchcock asked Edith Head to design a gray dress for Kim Novak. Blondes aren’t supposed to look good in gray so the dress was meant to tell the audience that there is something off about Novak’s character.

    Also, there was tradition in theater of associating ghosts with the green color which is why Hitch had Novak appear near green whenever possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. about that one . Is a matter office Kim Novak presented a couple years back or do the film remastered digitally at the Cannes film festival and she still looks good. She aged beautifully well. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely idea of a post Alex. I agree that the colours are so rich and alluring to the audience with the compelling darkness of the story. It’s one of my treasured Hitchcock movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your site….terrific source of info for movie fans like myself…thanks for posting it on internet…however, disagree with you re Vertigo….Hitch made many more superior films, e.g. Rear Window, Notorious, Strangers on a Train….could never understand why people rave so much about Vertigo…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree to be honest! I lover Vertigo and think it’s a fantastic film, but…I may have changed my opinion and perhaps Rear Window is the better film! Lol


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