In the first suicide scene, after Kim Novak is rescued, Jimmy Stewart takes her home, strips her naked, puts her into his bed and then waits for her to regain consciousness.

After she wakes she doesn't react as you'd expect her to, finding herself naked in a stranger's house (e.g. hysterical, crying, etc.) Why not?

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  • 1
    Asking about character motivation in a film, especially when someone reacts out-of-the-ordinary is definitely on-topic
    – Valorum
    Sep 27, 2023 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


The script gives a fairly good run-down of what's going through her head. She's stunned and unsure whether she should know why she's in his bed. She's nervous and apprehensive, but not wanting to make the situation worse by overreacting.

SCOTTIE: Yes?... No, it's all right; I'll call you back. Yes. Yes!

[He hangs up, and tries to smile down at Madeleine, who has not moved, but has followed his every move with fright and apprehension.]

SCOTTIE: Are you all right?

[No answer, only the eyes staring at him. And then he realizes, with some embarrassment, that she cannot move, that she is naked under the bedclothes, and he reaches across to the dressing gown he has laid out for her on the bed, and moves it closer to her.]

SCOTTIE: Oh... you'll want this...

[He gives her a reassuring nod and smile, straightens up and goes to the door, and goes into the living room, closing the bedroom door behind him. And she stares after him as he goes. In the living room, he moves to the fireplace, puts another log on, and watches it catch. The bedroom door behind him opens, and he turns to face Madeleine. She has the dressing gown belted tightly around the middle and holds it together with one band at her breast. And she stands there staring at him nervously, frightened, not wanting to admit that she does not know how she came there, but wanting very much to know. And she cannot help herself: knowing her own fears, she has to ask.]

She's actutely aware of her nakedness under her dressing gown, but she doesn't seem to feel that she's been sexually assaulted. She's more embarassed about having been seen nude than worried that she's been touched inappropriately. 'Scottie' has given zero indication of being anything other than a perfect gentleman.

[And now, knowing that he dried her hair, she realizes that he must have taken her clothes off, too, and she looks down at her body with deep awareness of her nakedness, and draws the dressing gown more closely to her, and looks back at him with frightened embarrassment. And her head begins to move quickly, the eyes darting about the apartment as though seeking a way of escape, and she sees the clothes hanging in the kitchen. And she looks back to Scottie appealingly.]

  • exactly my point, when she realizes that has been seen nude by a stranger without her consent will cause a stronger reaction to a "regular" person, even though this may be related to a personal opinion, this irreal situation takes you out from the film, and makes you think of this rather than in the plot of the movie.
    – DanielV
    Sep 27, 2023 at 15:22
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    @DanielV - Don't forget that's she's not in her right mind. She lacks memory of what happened to her and she's had a physically shocking experience. She doesn't perceive that she's in danger, at the very least.
    – Valorum
    Sep 27, 2023 at 15:33
  • I suspect that her attitude would be radically different if he acted in a way as to suggest that he was anything other than someone who'd rescued her and/or completely disinterested in her being naked
    – Valorum
    Sep 27, 2023 at 15:36
  • But isn't the point that she is "faking" this reaction, that she was hired to pretend that she has no memory loss, that she is actually there to deceive Scottie? Sep 29, 2023 at 13:55
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    @DarthLocke -The script doesn't give that impression. Possibly worthy of its own question, though...
    – Valorum
    Sep 29, 2023 at 13:57

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