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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nine-Tenths of a Great Book- More or Less
As soon as I learned of Dan Auiler's book on the making of 'Vertigo', I bought it, and devoured it. I came away curiously hungry, and it took me about a year of ownership before I figured out what the problem was. Auiler has constructed his book on the basis of the production records that still survive, and they do give many insights into what was done when during...
Published on September 5, 2000 by Sandy McLendon

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Little insight, little research
The author's main source for this book are the production notes from the film, when it was photographed in 1957. And it shows. There are few interviews, few insights on the filmmaking/creative process. If you're looking for something like a travel guide of San Francisco and a dry account of the number of takes Hitchcock printed for each scene, then you'll be...
Published on April 28, 2000


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nine-Tenths of a Great Book- More or Less, September 5, 2000
By 
As soon as I learned of Dan Auiler's book on the making of 'Vertigo', I bought it, and devoured it. I came away curiously hungry, and it took me about a year of ownership before I figured out what the problem was. Auiler has constructed his book on the basis of the production records that still survive, and they do give many insights into what was done when during 'Vertigo's' shooting schedule. What he didn't get- or give to us- were the interviews with surviving participants that would have fleshed out his calendar of events. There's not a word from Barbara Bel Geddes, and not any new info from Kim Novak. What I would have liked to see from this book was a definitive interview with Miss Novak about her experiences making the movie. How did she feel about this scene- or that one? What were the inner resources she drew on to find the characters of Madeleine and Judy inside her? Unfortunately, Auiler quotes only from extant Kim Novak interviews, and that sparingly. I realise that Kim Novak is perhaps the most difficult person to secure for an interview since Greta Garbo, but to have NOTHING new with her in a 'Vertigo' book meant to be definitive is a crying shame. There's also a certain skimpiness in the photo sections; there are some handsome frames from the 1996 restoration of the movie, but not anything like enough material showing shooting in progress. One nice touch is when Auiler shows us the actual hotel room used to plan the set of Judy Barton's room in the Empire Hotel; I wish he'd done this for each of the major sets, such as Ernie's, Scottie's apartment on Lombard Street, and Ransohoff's.
There is a way for readers to cure this book's problems; this book needs to be purchased along with a copy of the movie in letterbox format. At the end of the movie, there's a terrific little American Movie Classics special on the making of 'Vertigo'; it shows much of the photo material Auiler's book lacks, and has an interview with Kim Novak to boot. Novak's interview is short, but I got a lump in my throat when I saw what she was holding in her hands while talking- the original green knit dress she wore forty years earlier in the movie. The special also shows many of the original set drawings for the film, and some amateur 'home movie' footage of the shooting done at the mission at San Juan Bautista.
Despite my reservations, I do think that any Hitchcock or 'Vertigo' fan should definitely buy this book- but I think that AMC special on the video of the movie is the only way you'll ever get any of the info Auiler doesn't provide.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Little insight, little research, April 28, 2000
By A Customer
The author's main source for this book are the production notes from the film, when it was photographed in 1957. And it shows. There are few interviews, few insights on the filmmaking/creative process. If you're looking for something like a travel guide of San Francisco and a dry account of the number of takes Hitchcock printed for each scene, then you'll be satisfied with the book. If you're curious about why Hitchcock or Jimmy Stewart make the decisions they do, and their opinions on their own work, you'll find little of that here. I loved the film--it's one of my favorites, but I was very disappointed in this book. Better to read Hitchcock by Truffaut for an inside look at filmmaking with Hitchcock...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC, April 28, 2002
By 
MOVIE MAVEN (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
"Vertigo" is not only my favorite Hitchcock film; it is also one of my top five favorite films of all time.
It is a film that, at first viewing, seems merely like a slightly irregular, well-made, not quite formula murder mystery. You go away from the movie with doubts in your mind (questions keep pricking you over and over) and then the "Vertigo" vertigo starts: How did they do it? How did they get away with it and why? Why is James Stewart so obsessed with, at first, a living woman and then, tragically, a dead woman? Why does Kim Novak allow Stewart to manipulate her into becoming a different person? Why do the director and author tell the audience who-done-it long before the movie is over? (This is a particularly thorny point in Auiler's book). And those are only the questions which pop to mind after a first viewing with no preconceptions.
With a foreward (really a short appreciation of "Vertigo")by Martin Scorsese, Dan Auiler's book is a "Vertigo" encyclopedia: the author has collected color and black & white photographs from the film and from ad campaigns; he shows us reproductions of Hitchcock's famous storyboards; he has researched and explained how and why the screenplay was written (and by whom!)and lets us know how Hitchcock participated in the writing in this and everyone of his films and why the studio did not want Hitchcock to direct this movie, preferring that he do another African adventure after the success of "The Man Who Knew Too Much." We learn how Bernard Herrmann's score came about and was recorded, why the specific actors were chosen for their roles and how they worked with their director, how the movie was made ready for the public and how the public received it, originally and in its re-release. There is also a discussion of the process used in making VERTIGO which was called Vistavision.
Auiler also explains the process by which this great, sad, twisted, dark, mysterious, complicated, brave movie was saved from destruction by complete restoration, a painstaking process that directors such as Scorsese support and fund on a regular basis.
This book is a must-read for any fans of Alfred Hitchcock, of "Vertigo" and, indeed, for any film fans. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy companion to Hitchcock's best film., May 8, 2002
This review is from: Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic (Paperback)
Dan does a nice job here providing lots of information on the development of the script, the circumstances of the adaptation from the french novel, the shooting sequences, and the relationships of the actors and actresses once the camera stopped rolling.
Vertigo is my favorite film and I was generally pleased by this book. My only complaints concern numerous printing/spelling errors that I came across. These errors do not contribute to any misinformation about the film, but they are annoying. The reproductions of various movie posters and pictures from the set throughout the book are a nice addition. This book is a must for film buffs-especially Hitchcock film fans. Dan makes a convincing argument for the claim of many who say this is the master's best film. Hopefully some of the typographical errors in my first edition will be corrected in the future-nothing major, but enough to drop my rating one star.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nine-Tenths of a Great Book- More or Less, September 5, 2000
By 
As soon as I learned of Dan Auiler's book on the making of 'Vertigo', I bought it, and devoured it. I came away curiously hungry, and it took me about a year of ownership before I figured out what the problem was. Auiler has constructed his book on the basis of the production records that still survive, and they do give many insights into what was done when during 'Vertigo's' shooting schedule. What he didn't get- or give to us- were the interviews with surviving participants that would have fleshed out his calendar of events. There's not a word from Barbara Bel Geddes, and not any new info from Kim Novak. What I would have liked to see from this book was a definitive interview with Miss Novak about her experiences making the movie. How did she feel about this scene- or that one? What were the inner resources she drew on to find the characters of Madeleine and Judy inside her? Unfortunately, Auiler quotes only from extant Kim Novak interviews, and that sparingly. I realise that Kim Novak is perhaps the most difficult person to secure for an interview since Greta Garbo, but to have NOTHING new with her in a 'Vertigo' book meant to be definitive is a crying shame. There's also a certain skimpiness in the photo sections; there are some handsome frames from the 1996 restoration of the movie, but not anything like enough material showing shooting in progress. One nice touch is when Auiler shows us the actual hotel room used to plan the set of Judy Barton's room in the Empire Hotel; I wish he'd done this for each of the major sets, such as Ernie's, Scottie's apartment on Lombard Street, and Ransohoff's.
There is a way for readers to cure this book's problems; this book needs to be purchased along with a copy of the movie in letterbox format. At the end of the movie, there's a terrific little American Movie Classics special on the making of 'Vertigo'; it shows much of the photo material Auiler's book lacks, and has an interview with Kim Novak to boot. Novak's interview is short, but I got a lump in my throat when I saw what she was holding in her hands while talking- the original green knit dress she wore forty years earlier in the movie. The special also shows many of the original set drawings for the film, and some amateur 'home movie' footage of the shooting done at the mission at San Juan Bautista.
Despite my reservations, I do think that any Hitchcock or 'Vertigo' fan should definitely buy this book- but I think that AMC special on the video of the movie is the only way you'll ever get any of the info Auiler doesn't provide.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vertigo is a dizzyingly outstanding book on the makiing of a classic film, December 23, 2005
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This review is from: Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic (Paperback)
Vertigo is one of the best films ever made. Sir Alfred Joseph

Hitchcock's masterpiece will keep you dizzy with the intricate

plot, the beauty of the streets of San Francisco and the great

acting of James Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes.

Aulier begins his book with a short biography of the rotund

Cockny genius AJH. We learn of his career and the outstanding

team he assembled to produce such timeless masterpieces as Vertigo.

Vertigo is Hitchcock's most personal film as he explores such

heavy topics as:

1. Romantic obsession as Detective John Scottie Ferguson seeks his lost love Madeline seeking to remake her in shopgirl Judy.

2. Voyeurism as Hitchcok lovingly photographs the Bay area and gets inside the mind of his characters.

4, The haunting score by Bernard Hermann adds texture to the dreamlike operatic quality of this masterpeice, Hitch looks at

dreams and the elegaic desire to return to the past.

The convoluted plot is well known but readers will learn the

nuts and bolts of how a great film is put together from business

deals; casting (Vera Miles was scheduled to play Madeline)special effects; sound and filming techniques,

Aulier illustrates his book with stills from the film as well as letters from Hitch. The book contains interviews the author conducted with such Hitchcock aassociates as Saul Bass who created the titles noted for their swirling imagery.

Vertigo is based on a French novel and is like a wheel within

a wheel in its complexity and insight into the mind of AJH.

If you love movies, San Francisco, mystery, glamour and haunting music then Vertigo is the film for you! This fine book

is a requisite primer and introduction to this filmic classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing, illuminating, handsomely-produced book, July 13, 1998
Writing ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE MAKING OF 'PSYCHO,' I harbored the hope that more writers would tackle behind-the-scenes sagas of classic older films -- films that have long intrigued, inspired, and deeply moved audiences. Dan Auiler has poured his obsession for 'VERTIGO' ( a study in obsession, among other psychological hobgoblins that make life worth living) into an absorbing, illuminating, handsomely-produced book. I applaud and respect many feats he's accomplished here, not the least of which is that he's been so thorough, yet he's left untouched the essential mystery and haunting quality of Hitchcock's very great work. I know that, just as I ritualistically re-experience "Vertigo" once or twice yearly, I will also happily revisit Mr. Auiler's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More trivia than insight, August 14, 2012
By 
This review is from: Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic (Paperback)
I wavered between two and three stars for my rating, finally settling on two on the basis that I'm certain I will never open this book again to re-read it.

First a note about the Kindle formatting: It is very poor. When someone is quoted, there is no format change of any kind to let you know you're leaving third person narrative and entering a quote. The very title of the movie was sometimes shown as "Vertigo", and other times inexplicably as "1krtigo".

As for the book itself, there was too much trivia regarding how many takes Hitchcock took on various scenes. I picked up a few interesting facts about the movie; but not enough to justify reading the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Tells everything about Vertigo, step-by-step, June 9, 1998
By 
Charles Hall (Raleigh, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This neat book traces the genesis of the movie Vertigo from it's beginnings as a French novel right through to modern day retrospectives. It tells absoultuely everything about the production, but never gets bogged down. Also tells the current status of the many locations in the film. Just a great, fun read. It also provides real insight into Hitchcock's way of collaborating with writers, cameramen, etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating analysis and commentary, September 6, 2014
By 
James T. Wheeler (TUCSON, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This book offers some fascinating analysis and commentary on "Vertigo," Hitchcock's masterpiece from 1958. The author seems very well versed in all that happened leading up to the production and then the adjustments and changes that had to be made later on. What intrigued me most was discussion of the flashback scene where Judy pictures herself being part of killing Elster's wife. The audience therefore knows she is complicit in the crime, two-thirds of the way through the film rather than waiting for a surprise at the end. Hitchcock himself was ambivalent about whether or not to make this disclosure relatively early in the movie and may have been forced by Paramount to include the flashback scene. In any case, I feel it adds a lot to the tension and drama of the movie as we wait to see what happens when the lead character, played by Jimmy Stewart, finally discovers this truth. For additional study, readers might also want to get the BFI booklet written by Charles Barr on "Vertigo." This booklet supplements the Auiler book in several useful ways and adds to the overall appreciation of this great film.
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Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic
Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic by Dan Auiler (Paperback - August 19, 2000)
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