An interview with alum Gabriel Blackwell (fiction, ’09) about Madeline E., a cross-genre book about the film Vertigo, appears at Entropy Magazine:
1) In multiple ways, Madeleine E. presents itself to the reader as a continuum of failure. Scotty’s and Judy’s inability to achieve their desires within the scripted universe of Hitchock’s Vertigo; the movie’s own disappointing initial box-office performance; the failure of the narrator to write the book his agent wants him to write; etc. Why is failure such a compelling literary subject?
There’s this scene, a little over midway through Vertigo, where Scottie goes up the tower after the woman he believes is Madeleine Elster. Though he starts up the stairs, he can’t make it all the way to the top. Now, if he had, we, the audience, know, he would have found not only Judy, but also Elster and the “real” Madeleine waiting there for him—the mystery would be solved, the story would be resolved. And to Scottie, getting to the top is the difference between saving Madeleine and letting her die. No matter how one sees it, then, Scottie’s failure to make it up the stairs is quite serious, so serious that thinking of it sends him to some sort of rest cure. Even knowing how serious the situation was, though, Scottie could not make it up the stairs.
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