Vertigo was met with mixed reviews upon its release, but has since become one of the most thoroughly analyzed and written-about films of all time. Hitchcock worked with a screenplay by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor that was based on a novel, D'entre les morts, by Boileau-Narcejac, a French mystery writer duo. While some believed that the duo wrote the novel specifically with Hitchcock in mind, they denied this.
In an interview with French director Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock said of his interest in the story, "I was intrigued by the hero’s attempts to re-create the image of a dead woman through another one who’s alive." Filming took place on location in San Francisco and incorporates highly realistic shots as well as POV shots for Scottie to portray his experience of vertigo. Using a zoom lens as well as a backward dolly move, Hitchcock created the effect of Scottie's fear of heights. A nightmare sequence, in which Scottie experiences the terrifying visions that Madeleine once did, was designed by John Ferren.
Hitchcock originally envisioned Vera Miles, a frequent collaborator, in the role of Madeleine, and the two had a falling-out when Miles had to drop out of the process to have another child. Hitchcock and her replacement, Kim Novak, butted heads on certain creative decisions. In that same interview with Truffaut, Hitchcock explains his ethos about filmmaking in a story about his communications with Novak: "Miss Novak arrived on the set with all sorts of preconceived notions that I couldn’t possibly go along with. You know, I don’t like to argue with a performer on the set; there’s no reason to bring the electricians in on our troubles. I went to Kim Novak’s dressing room and told her about the dresses and hairdos that I had been planning for several months. I also explained that the story was of less importance to me than the overall visual impact on the screen, once the picture is completed."