Monday, January 25, 2016

Great Moments In Movie Shelves #51

There was a Hitchcock marathon on BBC America yesterday so in between watching other things I got sucked into several scenes here and there for Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds, and I realized I've never devoted one of these posts to the Argosy Book Shop in Vertigo! It's the dream old-fashioned book store, where you go to find out who shot who in the Embarcadero in August, 1879.

Actually what they find there, via the colorful story-teller Pop Leibel, is the tale of Carlotta -- beautiful Carlotta, sad Carlotta, and finally the mad Carlotta -- whose painting haunts the film and whose ghost "haunts" Madeline Elster. Pop Leibel knows all about the Gay Old Bohemian Days of Gay Old San Francisco, and you can tell looking around his store that this is the right kind of place to meet the right kind of ghosts.

One thing I noticed watching the film this time that I'd never noticed before was when Scottie and Midge leave the store and are standing outside, the lights inside suddenly turn on inside the store. Perhaps it was just to frame them against the interior but this being Hitchcock I feel the need to read into it. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Anyway if you're interested in the actual location read about that over here - the book-store is based on a real shop but the Argosy itself was built on a sound-stage, so you can't visit it in San Francisco, sadly. Believe me I would have tried when I did my Vertigo tour a few years back.

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