At the beginning of the film, a camera movement reveals Jeff´s profession and why he is immobilized in a wheel-chair. He is a photographer, interested in looking at other´s lives. So, he could be described as a voyeur. Across a very limited space- the courtyard of the neighbourhood, he spends his time looking through the window in order to avoid the boredom. He looks at different windows with different stories, just as the audience goes
The protagonist of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ is trapped, stuck in a wheelchair with a broken leg and we share his pain, we are also trapped. In a different way of course. We are trapped in his point of view. As the successful photographer that is L.B Jeffries (Jeff to his fiancée), played by James Stewart, passes his long and limited days and nights sitting by his window and shamelessly keeping an eye on his neighbours around him, we too share this obsession. The fact that Jeff has no chose but to sit and stare out the window, he cannot stop looking into this inviting and every changing view. We are like Jeff in the way that once we sit down in a cinema we too can only look at what is put in front of us. Patrick Stewart’s character symbolises all cinema goers, a human being brazenly watching the life of an alien. One of the first shots we see in the film is the opening of Jeff’s curtains by his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter). This
Rear Window, a 1954 romance/murder-mystery by the renowned golden age director Alfred Hitchcock, is a film that explores a multitude of themes and genres through the voyeuristic gaze of protagonist L.B. Jefferies. Jefferies, or ‘Jeff’ as he commonly known throughout the film, is a middle-aged bachelor recently hospitalised due to his high-risk career as a photojournalist. This hindered condition serves as an important foundation on which the movie is built upon as Jeff’s forced lifestyle being in a wheelchair causes an abrupt stop in his usual high intensity way of life and causes him to quench his boredom in other ways, predominantly watching the other residents in his apartment complex through the ‘rear window’ of his apartment. Observing the events that happen in the privacy of each of his neighbours’ apartments is certainly not minding one’s business but Jeff continues to do so anyway and ends up in all
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window has several themes. One major theme is relationships. The lead character, Jeff Jeffries, a photographer and committed bachelor, is involved in a relationship with Lisa Fremont, a model, although the relationship has some tension due to Jeff’s lack of commitment. When Jeff is confined to his apartment recovering from a broken leg, he begins spying through his rear window on his neighbors in a nearby apartment. Through her frequent visits, Lisa is drawn into this spying as well. In each of the apartments, lives are lived and relationships are being played out, and the dynamics of those relationships reflect back to aspects of Jeff’s and Lisa’s relationship and their anxieties and desires.
With Rear Window (1954), Alfred Hitchcock proved himself to be one of the best directors of suspense thrillers filled with mystery and humour. He himself called the film his most cinematic one because it was told only in visual terms (Morrow), but it was also a challenging “editing experiment” as the entire film was shot from one place, Jeff’s apartment that overlooked his backyard. The Film follows L.B. Jeffries “Jeff” (James Stewart), a photographer confined to a wheelchair in his apartment after breaking his leg at work. He spends his days watching his neighbours and eventually suspects that one of them killed his wife. His caretaker, his girlfriend Lisa and his detective friend, at first unconvinced of his suspicion, eventually join him in his voyeurism and help him to solve the crime. In this essay, I will discuss how the film is about film itself. The notions of gaze will also be analysed, through a discussion of voyeurism and Jeff and Lisa’s relationship.
Alfred Hitchcock 's Rear Window explores the lives of those who feel isolated within society. The 1954 film, set in the tenements of Grenwich village, depicts those who are incapable of fitting into society 's expectations, as well as those who feel isolated from common interaction with others. Moreover, Hitchcock displays how its human nature to seek comfort and deeper connection even with those who are surrounded by others. Despite depicting characters as lonely, the progression of the film illustrates how individuals can be freed from isolation.
Rear Window, a 1954 Hitchcock film is deceptively simple on the surface, but contains messages about marriage, class and privacy, to name a few. This essay will explore how attitudes to social standing in the 1950’s are expressed in the film. Lisa displays the attitude that class shouldn't be a factor in determining how she behaves or whom she should get married to. Jeffries is an example of the attitude that because of their material wealth and status, those in the upper echelons of society aren't entirely human and treats them as such. Stella portrays the attitude that class shouldn't be a major consideration in who to marry, but Jeffries would be foolish to not exercise social mobility and marry Lisa to improve his own social standing. Hitchcock's perspective to the attitudes of the characters in Rear Window also
Alfred Hitchcocks powerful and complex psychological thriller, horror film “Psycho” (1960) was classes as the first sub genre of horror, the slasher. The film ushered in the era of slashes with graphic content of blood-letting and shocking killings of the time. Although this was Hitchcock’s first horror film, he was labelled as a horror film director ever since. The film contains disturbing themes of corruptibility, confused identities, voyeurism, human vulnerabilities and victimisation. These themes symbolise the effects of money, oedipal murder and the dark histories. These were explored by the use of the motifs of birds, eyes, hands and mirrors (Filmsite.org, n.d.).
The bird’s eye view shots in North by Northwest created true “cliffhanging” suspense, like the Mt. Rushmore chase scene. The use of wide-angle shots gave the audience a feeling of helplessness that feeds into the suspense. Also, the camera would cut quickly between actors to give a sense of urgency and fear. By comparison, Rear Window’s cinematography seems less rushed and urgent, but that does not mean it is any less suspenseful. The film was shot mainly from Jeff’s perspective, in his apartment looking across the courtyard into his neighbors’ windows. The movie mainly focuses on the use of fade in/fade out techniques, representing Jeff falling asleep and waking up, the passing of time, and the shutter of Jeff’s camera lens. While North by Northwest and Rear Window seem to have few similarities on the surface, both movies use expert cinematography to convey suspense.
In Laura Mulvey’s article, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” she writes about the relationship between voyeurism, cinema, and gender. She begins by describing the concept of scopophilia, which means to gain pleasure from looking. She writes that scopophilia is inherently active/masculine, and that pleasure is derived from looking at other people as mere objects. On the other hand, the passive/feminine is derived from the experience of being looked at (pg.188). Mulvey sees this binary relationship between viewer and object being viewed as a part of our culture, and the greatest example of this is found in cinema. She argues that the act of moviegoing satisfies these voyeuristic desires in people. She writes, “The mass of mainstream film portray a hermetically sealed world which unwinds magically, indifferent to the presence of the audience, producing for them a sense of separation and playing on their voyeuristic fantasy,” (pg. 186). In this essay, I will further discuss her viewpoints on cinema and voyeurism, and how it connects to the film Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock.
Society is fooled into believing in the applied connection among people. Benedict Anderson’s idea of imagined communities emphasizes that, “… the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (5). Members of neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries feel a sense of unity with other members for living in the same place or maybe having the same basic values, but true unity comes from understanding the similarities among each other, considering the impact a person can have on another, and caring about lives. Recognizing the importance of lives being socially intertwined is necessary to sustain a considerate society.
Through an in depth analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's ‘North by Northwest’ (NBNW), it becomes evident that in order for films to be able to entertain their audiences they must ‘weave’ or manipulate images, characters and issues. This is evident through two particular scene within the film, including: chapters 5 and 26 (clickview). Hitchcock's manipulation of issues and characters in NBNW to entertain the audience is exemplified through the severity of the issues faced by the protagonist, Roger O Thornhill (R.O.T) and his comical response and attitude towards the adversity he faces.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho redirected the entire horror genre, and in doing so dismantled the prudent 1950’s societal barriers of cinema. Although unseen for its potential by the large studios of the time, Psycho became one of the crowning achievements of film history. While based partially on a true story of murder and psychosis from Wisconsin, the widespread viewing of this tale made way for a new era of film and ushered in a new audience of movie goers. The use of violence, sexual explicitness, dramatic twists, sound, and cinematography throughout this film gave Hitchcock his reputable name and title as master of suspense. In 2018, reviews of films often are headlined with “the book was better.” But, in 1960 there was no such thing
In fact, there are many mysterious doors belonging to the opposite apartments which the destinations to are never discovered. This is a device used to create fear of the ‘unknown,’ but also heighten suspense. Therefore, our gaze may not be as omnipotent as had been discussed in the previous chapter. Given that the movie is diegetic, it is impossible for us to see everything as Jeff is human and needs his sleep just like the rest of us. He becomes a prisoner of his own gaze, fearful of what incriminating evidence he may miss during his unconscious hours. However, on four occasions the camera plunges out of Jeff’s window, into the courtyard. These instances include the opening sequence, the scene where the body of the strangled dog is discovered, the scene where Thorwald pushes Jeff out of the window and the final scene, where Jeff is seen with both his legs in casts. These scenes are important as it gives the audience the opportunity to escapes Jeff’s gaze and adopt an unrestricted overview of the situation for once. The choice of using a non-voyeuristic viewpoint for the final scene is thoughtful as it suggests there is no longer a need to be a voyeur now that the murderer has been
Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, England during the Edwardian Era. His parents, William and Emma Hitchcock, instilled the ideas of guilt and punishment into him from an early age. They were devout Catholics and sent their son to a strict religious boarding school. He was taken out of school, however, at the age of fourteen because of his father’s death. Due to his upbringing, Alfred developed a fear of punishment at a young age. His fear transformed into a morbid interest as he grew older. His fascination for guilt and punishment shaped the way his films were made.