In the Vertigo movie James Stewart plays a police detective named John Ferguson who suffers from a condition called acrophobia which is more commonly referred to as a fear of heights. When he gets in high places he begins to experience what is called vertigo where he begins to get dizzy and lose his balance. In the Vertigo movie Ferguson is hired by the husband of Madeleine Elster to follow her because he fears that she is going insane as she may believe that she is possessed possibly by a dead ancestor of hers from many generations back. Ferguson has a hard time believing the story but since the husband is an old friend of his he agrees to take the job. What Ferguson did not account for is that Madeleine Elster liked to wander off to high places and all throughout the Vertigo movie we are given glimpses into what it is like to have acrophobia and vertigo as Ferguson repeatedly finds himself growing more and more concerned for Madeleine as she ventures to higher and higher places. Soon his concern gives way to obsession and he is torn between continuing to follow Madeleine into situations where his acrophobia kicks in or just explain the whole situation to her husband.
The Vertigo movie is a masterful trip through the mind of a man that is pulled in so many directions that he sometimes does not know what to think. On the one hand he has a job to do and is contracted by a close friend because that close friend is concerned for his wife’s well being. On the other hand she keeps wandering into situations that he cannot easily follow her into and it makes his job extremely difficult if not physically painful. Add to that the angle that has Ferguson becoming obsessed with Madeleine and you have that mix of simple plot lines into one fascinating story that Alfred Hitchcock has become so legendary for in the memories of movie goers everywhere.