Artifacting

Part two of B. Kite and Alexander Points-Zollo’s video essay, THE VERTIGO VARIATIONS, is now up at Moving Image Source. Recommend you head over and download the QuickTime movie rather than watching the streaming version, which necessarily is of inferior visual quality.

I contributed an idea to this one — as the filmmakers were looking for more ways to distort and disturb Hitchcock’s beautiful images, I suggested encoding the film at a very low bitrate. At its most extreme, this degrades the image to blocky Mondrian patterns which turned out quite beautifully. Although I have an official DVD of Edgar Ulmer’s STRANGE ILLUSION that’s almost as distorted.

I’m loving this series and looking forward to the third and final part — each episode promises to be stranger than the last. Here, much of the focus is on a part of VERTIGO you may never have seen, and which is universally despised by those who have seen it. Typically, Kite and Points-Zollo find a way to admire it…

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7 Responses to “Artifacting”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    Can your DVD of STRANGE ILLUSION possibly be worse than my DVD or Ulmer’s BLUEBEARD?

  2. Well, one would think not, since Bluebeard only seems to exist in 16mm, but ultimately it comes down to the encoding, and also the fact that smoke is notoriously hard to deal with digitally. And there’s more smoke in Strange Illusion.

  3. Christopher Says:

    excellent stuff for the person who can’t get enough of Vertigo..

  4. Oh yes — a new way to dream that dream.

  5. Madeleine as the ultimate MacGuffin, precise indeed.
    I have been aware of the Elster-radio “alternate ending,” but was previously baffled by a friend’s comment that it “clearly showed Scottie & Midge married.” Watching it again in this thoughtful meditation, I notice that Midge does entertain Scottie in her bathrobe – a sign of connubial closeness? (Of course, Scottie does the same with Madeleine;)
    Thank you to the filmmakers, and DC, for the Mondrian patterns.

  6. Your friend has a nice mind!

    I’m assuming that Scottie has just got back from telling the police everything — it’s night, so Midge was preparing for bed. The radio report results from movie time compression, since it’s unlikely this amount of detail would make the news so soon.

    The marriage explanation doesn’t account for where Scottie is arriving from in this scene, but on the other hand, he lets himself in. Maybe Midge left the door unlocked, expecting him.

  7. I feel the need to check (I’m ashamed that I can’t remember, for one who professes to love this film) if Scottie let himself into Midge’s apartment in the film, or always knocked; as that would be a potentially significant difference. And to watch this alternate ending large and paused, to see if we get a shot of Midge’s ring finger;)

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