Vertigo Scene: Judy Jumps
The scene that was chosen for the detailed description and analysis is taken from the movie Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1958; it is the last scene in the movie, and it demonstrates the fatal ending for both main characters, Judy and John.
This episode is devoted to the final conversation of the characters, in which Judy asks John to forgive the deception, she also tells him about her love. At the moment when they are close to forgiveness and reconciliation, the figure of a woman appears, and Judy, being scared to death, falls from the ledge. The figure appears to be the nun, who comes to ring the mission bell, but Judy is probably sure that it is the ghost of Madeleine, who has been killed. The concept of fate is very strong in the movie, as John, who can overcome his phobia for the sake of love, is standing and watching the body of his beloved woman dead. The bell ringing is very symbolic in the scene; it demonstrates the whole tragic element and fatality of Judy's death. Being sure that Madeline has returned for her, Judy dies the same way as Madeline; even though it was a terrible accident, for John it can be regarded as a sign of fate.
The scene requires special attention in the aspect of cinematography. It begins with the figure of John, demonstrated in full length, standing on the ledge. The viewer cannot see his face, only the figure. There is general darkness on the ledge, and only some details can be seen. While the first shot is demonstrated, John is saying the exposure to Judy, blaming her for working on Gavin and deceiving Scottie. His breathing is interrupted, and the viewer can see that he is very excited. The next shot demonstrates Judy; the light is on her hair and back, and this kind of lightning makes her look exactly like Madeline. Her face is turned to the wall, and the shuddering shoulders demonstrate that she is crying. In this specific shot general resemblance of Judy and Madeline is enormous, and it is a kind of allusion to the further destiny of Judy at the place of Madeline's death. The next shot demonstrates that John is approaching Judy, and the viewer can see his face with the expression of insane anger. This shot is altered by the next one rather quickly, and the face of Judy also appears lightened brightly, it has an expression of fear caused by Johns's obvious mania.
Escaping from his anger, she comes closer to the edge. The next shot demonstrates the face of John lightened; also it is depicted using close-up effect, making the state and mood of the man visible and understandable for the viewer. Specifically, the eyes of the man are significant in this shot, they are full of rage. The faces of John and Judy are alternating several times, and, what is significant, while Scottie is talking about the necklace, the face of Judy is demonstrated, as she is intended to realize her fatal mistake. These shots are manifesting the faces of the characters lightened, the other environment is dark, and the whole attention should be concentrated on the expressions, emotions, and words of the characters. The camera angle allows us to observe the face of both, John and Judy, in a detailed way, there is nothing extra in these shots that might have distracted the attention of a viewer.
In one of the shots, while the faces of characters are being altered, the expression of John changes at the moment when he told that he loved Judy. His face becomes sad despite his being angry. It promotes the development of the next shot, as Judy is slowly approaching him, talking about her love. The lighting is concentrated not only on her face, but also on the necklace on her neck, and it is a symbol of her initial treason. The next shot demonstrates the face of John, which is sad and transfixed. In the next shot, Judy comes closer to John, and the camera angle shifted, demonstrating them side-down in the background of the sky. The light becomes brighter and the embracing of the characters is followed by the music that is not emphasized in the first part of the scene. The moment of the kiss is defined in its importance by loud music, and it is also the moment of reconciliation.
The next shot is significant, as the light background changes into the dark one and the figure approaching the main characters on the stairs is demonstrated. The contour of the figure shows that it looks like a typical depiction of the ghost. The faces of the main characters are demonstrated lightened using close-up effect, and the face of Judy disappears from the shot, leaving John alone. The phrase: I heard voices, said by the figure, is followed by the scream of Judy, who falls while escaping ("Vertigo (11/11) Movie CLIP - Judy Jumps (1958) HD"). The figure of a nun appearing from the darkness is demonstrated, after that John is shown looking down. The nun crisscrosses and begins ringing the bell. The camera is slowly moving away, changing the angle and showing John looking down and the nun in the partial darkness. The figure of John standing at the edge and looking down is demonstrated in the last shot; it is followed by the bell ringing.
The meaning of the scene is demonstrated in a brilliant way using the shots alternation during it. Lightening, camera angles, music, close-up effect, and shadows demonstrate the development of characters relations, followed by an immediate act of fate. In general, it is one of the most meaningful and important scenes in the movie.