'Vertigo' Star Kim Novak Slams 'The Artist' for 'Rape' of Hitchcock Film's Theme

“Vertigo” star Kim Novak says this year’s top Oscars contender, “The Artist,” used sections of Bernard Herrmann’s love theme from “Vertigo” in its score in a move that she labels artistic “rape.”

In a new full-page ad with Variety magazine, Novak, 78, says the use of the music from the classic Alfred Hitchcock film is “cheating” and a violation of her “body of work.”

“I want to report a rape,” the ad begins. “I feel as if my body – or, at least my body of work – has been violated by the movie, ‘The Artist.’

“The film could and should have been able to stand on its own without depending on Bernard Herrmann’s score from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” to provide it more drama ...In my opinion, the combined efforts of the composer, director, Jimmy Stewart and myself were all violated.”


Novak starred  in the film as the mentally unstable wife of a wealthy shipbuilder in the film, with whom James Stewart’s character becomes obsessed.

Of the group she mentioned, Novak is the only living member  and added that she is “the only one who can speak now.”

In response, “The Artist’s” director Michel Hazanavicius released a statement saying the film was “inspired by the work of Hitchcock” and other directors and added that the “Vertigo ‘Love Theme’” had “been used by many different films” since its release in 1958.

“I respect Kim Novak greatly and I’m sorry to hear she disagrees,” he added.

Novak said that despite the film giving “small credit to Bernard Herrmann at the end,” she believed it was “cheating” and a move to use “emotions [the theme] engenders as if it were their own.”

The silent film “The Artist” is widely considered to be the awards season front-runner, having earned several Golden Globe nominations and Oscar buzz.