‘Power and freedom’. Coupled together, these two words are repeated three times in Vertigo. First, at the twelfth minute by Gavin Elster (‘freedom’ under lined by a move to close-up) who, looking at a picture of Old San Francisco, expresses his nostalgia to Scottie (‘San Francisco has changed. The things that spelled San Francisco to me are disappearing fast’), a nostalgia for a time when men – some men at least – had ‘power and freedom’. Second, at the thirty-fifth minute, in the bookstore, where ‘Pop’ Liebel explains how Carlotta Valdes’s rich lover threw her out yet kept her child: ‘Men could do that in those days. They had the power and the freedom … ‘ And finally at the hundred and twenty-fifth minute – and fifty-first second to be precise – but in reverse order (which is logical, given we are now in the second part, on the other side of the mirror) by Scottie himself when, realizing the workings of the trap laid by the now free and powerful Elster, he says, a few seconds before Judy’s fall – which, for him, will be Madeleine’s second death – ‘with all his wife’s money and all that freedom and power … ‘ Just try telling me these are coincidences.
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A free replay (notes on Vertigo) by Chris Marker