Bernard Herrmann's score is largely inspired by Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" which, like the film, is also about doomed love.
Alfred Hitchcock had originally opted for another location for the famous staircase sequence, but associate producer Herbert Coleman's daughter (Judy Lanini) suggested the Mission at San Juan Bautista (the location that was eventually used) as a more suitable location for filming.
Alfred Hitchcock had originally wanted to use his now-famous Vertigo zoom in Rebecca, but due to lack of technology at that time he couldn't do it. The technique was inspired by a time when Hitchcock had fainted during a party.
Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted Vera Miles to play Madeleine, but she became pregnant and was therefore unavailable.
Alfred Hitchcock reportedly spent a week filming a brief scene where Madeleine stares at a portrait in the Palace of the Legion of Honor just to get the lighting right.
Alfred Hitchcock switched Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's story from Paris to San Francisco and changed their ending, in which the enraged hero strangles the mystery woman upon discovering her trickery.
Alfred Hitchcock was embittered at the critical and commercial failure of the film in 1958. He blamed this on James Stewart for "looking too old" to attract audiences any more. Hitchcock never worked with Stewart, previously one of his favorite collaborators, again.
Alfred Hitchcock: [bathroom] Madeline emerges from the bathroom, ready for lovemaking.
Alfred Hitchcock: [hair] Carlotta and Madeline have spiral hairstyles, and Judy's hair colour is significant.
Alfred Hitchcock: about 11 minutes in wearing a grey suit walking past Gavin Elster's shipyard, carrying a musical instrument case.
Kim Novak hated wearing the important gray suit because it felt confining. However, she learned to make it work for her, as she saw it a symbol of Madeleine's character.
John Ferren, the artist for the "Nightmare Sequence" design, also painted the pivotal "Portrait of Carlotta" that transfixes the main characters of the film. Production Designer Henry Bumstead did the joke one of Carlotta with Midge's head. John Ferren also did a portrait of Vera Miles when she was to play the Kim Novak role.
A theme song titled "Vertigo" by Livingston and Evans (Jay Livingston and Ray Evans) was recorded by Billy Eckstine, and was reportedly used for promotional purposes, but was not included in the film's final cut. Word has it that Alfred Hitchcock didn't feel it was appropriate.
At age 24, Kim Novak was less than half the age of James Stewart, who played her love interest in the film.
At age 50 James Stewart was nearly 15 years older than Barbara Bel Geddes, although they were supposed to be the same age.
Average Shot Length (ASL) = 6.7 seconds
Both the interiors and exteriors of "Ernie's" restaurant were filmed on sets, although the restaurant was a San Francisco landmark which closed its doors in 1999.
Costume designer Edith Head and director Alfred Hitchcock worked together to give Madeleine's clothing an eerie appearance. Her trademark grey suit was chosen for its colour because they thought it seemed odd for a blonde woman to be wearing all grey. Also, they added the black scarf to her white coat because of the odd contrast.
Hitchcock hired Maxwell Anderson to write the first draft of the screenplay titled "Darkling I Listen" but it was rejected by Hitchcock.
In 2002, named by "Positif" (France) as one of the 50 best films of the last 50 years (critics' choice: #2, readers' choice: #4)