Any good story ultimately involves a power struggle of some sort, whether it be between two characters or between a character and his or her own mind. Character X wants something Character Y has: since the story of Cain and Abel, this is the most basic plot vector there is. In the scene from Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ shrewdly and economically analyzed here by YouTube’s Evan Puschak, aka ‘The NerdWriter," Gavin Elster wants Scottie Ferguson to take his questionable case very much, but Scottie is reluctant. The conversation we witness between the two of them is all about power: who has it, who wants it, who takes it away, how it can float between two individuals like a cloud. And that power play is show through blocking, though the way the two men occupy the space they share: who stands. Who sits. Who’s in the foreground. Who takes up more screen territory. If you turned the sound off on this scene, you’d be able to tell what was happening with only the slightest bit of extrapolation. And that is the nature of true drama, as we see it on film.
Watch: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ Is All About Power Struggles and Blocking