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Friday, December 6, 2013

Rear Window: Film Analysis

DIRECTOR: Alfred Hitchcock YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 1954 COUNTRY: USA LANGUAGE: English

rear window film poster


When looking at Alfred Hitchcock’s most critically acclaimed movies, “Rear Window”. Hitchcock uses Voyeurism is the main idea that Rear Window is stand on, as it is a chronic theme throughout the film. The key character, L.B. Jeffries, has an absolute; no embrace excluded viewing of the whole thing going on around him. His occupation, a photographer, associates in with the voyeurism theme, as it is a very voyeuristic job, as he captures snapshots into the life of others by capturing photos of them. This is revealed within the first scene in the film, with a mise-en-scene of Jeffries’ apartment that includes his photographs on the walls, telling us that he is a photographer. As Jeffries’ can’t o back to work for another week due to his broken leg, he has to resort to a different kind of voyeurism – from being a voyeur for his work, to using it in his home life. He views the lives of his neighbours, and sometimes even uses binoculars to do so. You can see from his facial expressions in the first few scenes of the film, he enjoys watching what is going on in their lives, and probably enjoys the fact that he can watch all of them without being seen by them, and feels that he isn’t hurting anyone by doing so. “Hitchcock’s Rear Window: Reflexivity and the Critique of Voyeurism” by Roberta Pearson and Robert Stam, who state that ‘His profession of photojournalism assumes and exploits a kind of voyeurism’ (p.197).

Rear Window links with inquisitiveness and the need to interfere into the lives of others. Jeff’s curiosity begins soundly enough, but steadily, his interest turns to spying. For example, he starts to use a photographic lenses and binoculars from his job as photographer. At this point, it also becomes apparent that being curious is Jeff’s job. His nurse Stella and his fiancee Lisa feel very uncomfortable and accuse him of being a voyeur, a ‘Peeping Tom’. They do not believe his story about Thorwald murdering his wife. Stella calls him a ‘window shopper,’ and other characters in the movie indeed present Jeff as a typical voyeur, particularly as he seems to be getting himself so involved in their day to day activities, that he gives them all names, such as ‘Miss Torso,’ or ‘Miss Lonely hearts.’

What starts off as naively peering into his neighbours’ windows turns into looking out for them and being anxious about things which seem wrong? For instance, Jeffries notices that ‘Miss Lonely-hearts’, the single woman who seems incapable of finding happiness, looks like she is going to commit suicide, and he goes on to notify the police of what she aims to do. This moment in the film, and other moments like it, shows that Jeffries’ voyeurism has developed.

The film “Rear Window” directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. Fascinate worldwide viewers through its intellectual and innovative representation of a suburban murder. It is an extensively well-known crime thriller that occupies many reunion of the genre, while challenge others, in order to show a realistic situation that give way into anxiety and suspicion.

In this film micro elements such as cinematography and mise-en-scene can be used to generate all sorts of effects, feelings and an opinion within a screen play. Cinematography is the use of the camera, the shots used, the angles and distances. When joint and used efficiently they can form any mood or feeling. As the film begins the director uses a lot of establishing shots to demonstrate the area in which the film is set, there are also many high angle shots with panning transitions into zoom shots. We start off by seeing everything from the main character's perception which shows us that his point of view will be key. This film is a bit confusing for the audience as we know it is a thriller yet we get no idea what is going to happen and where the suspense will kick in. this in a sense leaves the viewer with the feeling of mystery.

The screen going up essentially set the narrative of the film, which is basically J.B Jeffries watching his neighbour’s through the window on the titles. This would set the feel of a conventional thriller because of the style of the film. I guess the whole point of this was to make the film a little bit more interesting rather than us just focusing on the whole crime scene. The director might have chosen to give a specific characteristic to each character just to add more depth to the film. It also keeps you at the edge of the seat just to find out the whole story of the film leaving you in suspense rather than just pointing it out straight away.  
 
Stam, Robert and Roberta Pearson, “Hitchcock's Rear Window: Reflexivity and the Critique of Voyeurism,” in Deutelbaum and Poague, eds, A Hitchcock Reader, 2nd ed, Chichester, UK. & Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

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