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
Over the fifteen weeks of the first semester of film school, we were taught many interesting types and styles of early world cinema which were extremely informative and influenced the filmmaking style of the whole class and made us better filmmakers instantly. One such ‘ism’ which inspired me the most was German Expressionism which is a unique characteristic of Weimar Cinema. In this essay I am going to talk about the history of this ‘ism’, its impact on cinema, some significant works and how it inspired me and influenced my filmmaking style.
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.
Alfred Hitchcock is remembered as the "master of suspense", most notably in one of his cinemas, "Psycho".Hitchcock used a variety of sensory details, to shock moreover frighten his audience.Three sensory details that he used, is when we notice a cop following Marion, we see that Norman is stalking Marion, and when a shadowy figure shows up while Marion is taking a shower.
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
Both of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, North by Northwest and Rear Window, were great movies with lots of suspense. The suspense, however, would not have been created without the entire mise-en-scene of the movies. Hitchcock was a master at using the elements of lighting, sound, and cinematography to heighten the suspense in his movies.
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.).
German Expressionism has influenced thousands of films and filmmakers since the art movement began in the 1920’s. It is known for its dismissal of the standard conventions of Western filmmaking for a more off-kilter style of storytelling. Some film historians consider Metropolis (1927) to be one of the most groundbreaking German Expressionist films ever made. However, there are many instances throughout Metropolis in which it deviates from the eccentric Expressionist style.
Hollywood has always done a terrible job of depicting real women in film, and although his work has a somewhat misogynistic reputation, Alfred Hitchcock has done so much involving the progression of female roles in Hollywood cinema. Although many of his female victims wind up dead, the survivors have lots of power – and without reliance on their male counterparts. Women remain the central focus in many of Hitchcock’s films, not just because of their beauty, but because the narrative is dependent on them.
To the unknown eye, Hitchcock has carefully and skillfully used Mise-en-scene to his advantage, causing the audience to feel fear and a sense of caution towards the character of Norman Bates. It isn’t until we reflect back on the scene and notice how intelligently Hitchcock uses the positioning of props and the characters, lighting, camera angle and staging, that we notice how he has added meaning to his characters but has also to the film, creating suspense and fear from one scene to the end of the film. Ultimately proving the point that Hitchcock “the master of suspense” uses Mise-en-scene to not only help make a brilliant film but also uses it as his disposal to add meaning in his
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.
This paper will discuss the motif of the double in Strangers on a Train. While the double is a recurring motif in Hitchcock’s work that he routinely employs in order to explore questions of moral responsibility, identity, and guilt, it receives its most overt and thorough treatment in Strangers on a Train. Studies of the film have consistently understood Bruno as a stand in for Guy’s unspoken desire, the chaos held at bay by societal order - Guy does indeed want to ‘get rid of’ his wife, but he transfers this responsibility (and associated guilt) to Bruno (Walker; Wood; Dellolio; Truffaut). As Walker notes, in Hitchcock’s films, the double most often serves as an ‘alter ego’ that enacts the repressed/disavowed/unpermitted desires of another character. Indeed, as Walker points out, There is little ambiguity that this is precisely what Hitchcock meant to communicate in the film, as he has formally stated this in correspondence with Francois Truffaut:
The practice of voyeurism is a debatable subject often criticized negatively for its perverted motives. Yet, through both Woolrich’s “It had to be murder” and its film adaptation Rear Window, the reader can be led to see a celebration of voyeurism rather than a critique. Jeffries is indeed given the most reasonable excuses to stalk his neighbours as his cast takes away his freedom of movement and the murder he tries to solve also gives him more reasons to spy on his neighbours. However, Jeff is greatly saved from being entitled as a Peeping Tom by the coincidence of Thorwald’s wife’s murder. As a matter of a fact, the timing in which Jeff is stuck in a cast and the woman is murder is nothing but a coincidence, neither Hitchcock nor Woolrich
For instance, Hitchcock purposefully used specific shots to captivate the acting and emotions of each character. In The 39 Steps, Hannay and Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) estranged and juxtaposition relationship, is what saves this film from being more than just suspense but helps add a romance touch to the film. When Hitchcock used wide shots, he captures the Hannay and Pamela’s emotional discomfort. The primary shots that Hitchcock uses in The 39 Steps, are close-ups instead of wide shots. Hitchcock uses close-ups to create suspicion in characters’ faces. A good example of this would be when Hannay and Pamela entered the hotel and talked to the hotel owners. Hitchcock zoomed into the owners face where no dialogue was needed to show that the characters were suspicious at first. Now, in order to show Hannay and Pamela’s marriage link through the film’s imagery, Hitchcock used a variety of imagery to suggest a romantic relationship link. The handcuffs could be seen as a symbol of wedding rings. Also the scene where they got into the car with the mistaken police, can be seen as the moment where they are off to their own honeymoon, which they later do go to a hotel and appear to be a recent married couple.
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