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Vertigo (NFT/BFI Film Classics) [Paperback]

Pierre Boileau , Thomas Narcejac
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 May 1997 NFT/BFI Film Classics
No longer with the police for reasons he did not care to remember, Flavieres was not a man to be surprised by little side-slips of human conduct. So, when his old friend Paul Gevigne wanted him to keep an eye on his wife, Flavieres thought the reasons were pretty obvious.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (8 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747531870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747531876
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 1.1 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock's film version is superior 25 May 2000
By A Customer
Most big-screen book adaptations are vastly inferior to their source material. But when Hitchcock is the director, it's not surprising that the opposite is true. Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac's psychological thriller (first published in the UK in 1956 as "The Living and the Dead") varies only slightly from the 1958 movie version, except that the location is France during the Second World War, rather than post-war San Francisco. Most of the film set-pieces derive almost unchanged from the novel, although the ending is significantly altered.
The novel is divided into two parts, with a gap between of several years. This is more realistic than the time-frame of the film, but the second half suffers from a lack of narrative drive, as the central character discovers what he thinks is a reincarnation of his lost love and gradually transforms her into this 'perfect' woman. While slow in the film, this is positively tortuous on the printed page.
The prose of "Vertigo" is refreshingly straightforward, the story clever (perhaps a little too clever), and the dialogue believable. If you're a cinephile, and a huge fan of Hitchcock, then this makes for rewarding reading. If not, then just watch the movie version - it's more entertaining.
Mark Campbell (Freelance Writer)
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is an intelligent novel the denouncement is, at the same time so obvious and the last thing the reader thinks will happen.
The sense of doom bulids up gradually and this for some reason works so much better in a French setting than the film's American one.
Don't be put off because of the films excellence- it is wrong to assume that because the film surpassed the novel the book is "bad". Boileau and Narcejac were the ones who dreamt this story up and their version is the orginal- just because the film does not follow some of the plot devices or the ambiance of the book does not mean the novel can be critisised because of it.
What makes the book imperfect is its slow pace in some areas and the inability of the reader to sympathise with the narrator. I would highly recomend this book however- especially to read before watching the film.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with an amazing twist at the end. 14 Mar 1999
By A Customer
You attempt to make sense of what is going on all the way through, then at the end everything just falls into place.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original Story 12 July 2011
By Tom S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Vertigo (Universal Legacy Series) is my favorite Hitchcock film, and one of my favorite films, period. I watched it again recently, and I was interested to see how the film adaptation compared to the original. So I looked on Amazon and found a used copy of a British edition of the novel, and it's fascinating.

French writers Thomas Narcejac and Pierre Boileau wrote several mysteries together back in the 1950s, and two of them became famous movies, DIABOLIQUE and VERTIGO. They specialized in twisty plots and surprise endings, with morally ambiguous characters and lots of mood and atmosphere. The original novel of VERTIGO, D'ENTRE LES MORTES (From Among the Dead), is set in Paris, not San Francisco, and the surprise ending is quite different from Hitchcock's. It's actually a better ending, but the film censors in the '50s would never have allowed Hitchcock to use it. It's interesting to note all the ways the original and the film compare and contrast. If you're a Hitchcock fan like me, find a copy of the novel and see for yourself. It's excellent.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Twists and Turns 16 Sep 2007
By Kenneth P. Raftery - Published on Amazon.com
Whenever I see a film that I really enjoy, I immediately want to read the book. My library had a copy of this book, and I just finished reading it. While some parts are on the slow side, it really is a great read. In fact, the book is probably even better if you don't know the plot through the film. There are several differences between the film and book. The book is set in France, and the ending of the book differs just a bit.
Give the authors of the book credit- while the film is wonderful due to the performances and direction, you can't discount how clever the plot is. It's a shame that this book is not more widely available.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vertigo Fan 13 Mar 2013
By Theater gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was thrilled to get this book. I am a HUGE fan of the film and have looked for it for years. The book arrived covered in plastic and hard bound. It was a new book in perfect condition. I would definitely recommend it for any collector.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars VERTIGO ON PAPER 7 Feb 2014
By Socorro E. Crabb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must say that I expected the book to have a more in depth description of the root of the obsession in the man's mind over this woman he knows nothing about, but I was not prepared for the ending. Definitely worth reading if for nothing else to compare it to Alfred Hitchocks's masterpiece of suspense and obsession. I ended up so satisfied that I saw the movie first. It was a deeper look into John's obsession and his need to control the uncontrollable. Men, take heart, not many men are capable of such extremes in feeling and pursuit of "love at first sight."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of "Vertigo" 8 Feb 2011
By Toby Martin II (aka R. Howe) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While having been changed substanially in the screenplay for Hitchcock's classic VERTIGO, it was nonetheless interesting and enlightening to finally have an opportunity to read "The Living and the Dead"... the book which was the inspiration for the masterful film.
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