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Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor, based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. It is the story of a retired police detective suffering from acrophobia who is hired as a private investigator to follow the wife of an acquaintance to uncover the mystery of her peculiar behavior. The film received mixed reviews upon initial release, but has garnered acclaim since and is now often cited as a classic Hitchcock film and one of the defining works of his career, appearing repeatedly in best films polls by the American Film Institute. After a rooftop chase in which his latent acrophobia results in the death of a police officer, San Francisco detective John "Scottie" Ferguson retires, spending much of his time with his ex-fiancée Midge Wood. Scottie tries to gradually conquer his fear but Midge suggests another severe emotional shock might be the only cure. An acquaintance, Gavin Elster, asks Scottie to tail his wife, Madeleine, claiming she has been possessed; Scottie reluctantly agrees.