The Living and the Dead

The Living and the Dead (1954)

Novel: The Living and the Dead ()
Published/Performed: 1954

Author: Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
Born: Apr 28, 1906 Paris, France
Passed: Jan 16, 1989 Beaulieu-Sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Film: Vertigo
Released: 1958

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About the Novel The Living and the Dead:

The Living and the Dead (also published as Vertigo) (French: D'entre les morts, literally "from among the dead") is a 1954 crime novel by Pierre Boileau and Pierre Ayraud (Thomas Narcejac), writing as Boileau-Narcejac. Alfred Hitchcock directed an adaptation of the novel in 1958 as Vertigo starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes.

The story concerns a former detective who suffers from vertigo, who is hired to follow the wife of a friend who is puzzled by her strange behavior. The detective becomes obsessed with the woman, eventually falling in love with her but unable to explain her strange trances and her belief in a previous life. When she falls to her death from a tower, he is unable to save her due to his fear of heights and experiences a psychotic break. After his partial recovery he encounters a woman who is nearly the image of his dead love, and the obsession begins all over again...

The film also alludes to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Although the source novel's explicit references to the myth do not appear in the film, certain themes do, including the return of a dead beloved to life, and discovering the fatal consequences of "looking back."

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Featured Cast (Names and Roles) of the Film Vertigo: