Vertigo is adapted from the 1954 French novel D’entre les morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, the title of which is generally translated as “From Among the Dead.” (It might also be rendered as “From Between the Dead” or “From Between the Deaths,” variants that seem more specifically attuned to both the film and its “ancestor” text.) Bernard Herrmann’s celebrated score is also based on the reworking of existing material: it is (in part) quotation – a remake, if you will – of music from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. For the viewer familiar with the opera this means that the experience of a sort of déjà vu is joined by one of a sort of déjà entendu. Vertigo seems to evoke Tristan and Isolde in other ways as well, for example in elements of its story, as is more obviously the case with Orpheus and Eurydice. And perhaps traces may be found in it

of Oedipus and his travails. All figures, these, who live in myths and legends that have themselves been told and retold, with minor and major variations, and exist for us in this untidy multiplicity.