Rear Window; Alfred Hitchcock

Published: 2021-09-27 22:00:04
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Category: Alfred Hitchcock

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After watching Rear Window for a second time I’ve come to realize that not only is Alfred Hitchcock a great director, but also a great movie watcher. What I’m trying to say is that he knows exactly what people want to see in certain movies. Voyeurism captures the attention of anyone, viewers want to “spy” on the characters without being seen, and they want to be in positions that reality doesn’t allow them to be in. Hitchcock knows this feeling all too well, making one of the greatest movies of all time around that one obsession viewers have.
This is why Rear Window is a great movie for ENC 1102, along with the romantic tension and multiple subplots. The first time a saw the movie I really didn’t see the voyeurism of the film, mostly because it was in my high school humanities class and was told to figure out the story behind the thriller. The teacher told us to find out the mystery of Mr. Thorwald. But after refreshing myself of the movie a noticed that Hitchcock was a very smart, nosy man, just like the rest of society.
I pictured Hitchcock in the wheelchair watching all those people out of his window, and then myself and came to realize that anyone would watch if it were open to you. This led me to recognize that the movie, behind the crime investigation, was all about voyeurism and how people love to see without being seen. I watched it with my brother, who is a film major at UCF, and he too thought the same thing. We discussed the movie afterwards and he came to appreciate the movie for being shot in one area.



The one person that does get to live the voyeurism in the movie is James Stewart. He’s the perfect main character, L. B “Jeff” Jeffries, who is a photojournalist. While on the job he broke his leg at an auto race after a big crash. Because of this he is confined to his own apartment and begins to watch all his neighbors and how they go about their day. Behind his building is a courtyard joined by three other buildings. Throughout these three building are different characters that Jefferies watches.
There’s a frustrated yet fun loving composer in the building to his right, a middle aged couple with a small dog, a dancer who seems to enjoy practicing her routines, a lonely woman who seems to live in a fantasy world, and a salesman and his unfounded wife all in the building in front of him and a pair of isolated newlyweds that live behind the shades of their apartment window to his left. As he sits cooped up in his apartment he begins to notice everyone’s behaviors, when suddenly the salesman’s wife has disappeared. Jeffries and his girlfriend, Lisa Freemont, played by Grace Kelly, become suspicious of the salesman Mr.
Thorwald. He begins to watch him every day and notices things that make him that more suspicious, like sending a suitcase off somewhere, having all his wife’s jewelry, or washing the knife and saw in his sink. Where did she go? What's in the trunk that the salesman ships away? What's he been doing with the knives and the saw that he cleans at the kitchen sink? Rear Window was released on August 1, 1954 and was shot in Los Angeles, California. Its company is Paramount Pictures and is in full color and sound. It is listed under many different types of genres like crime, mysteries, thriller and romance.
It was nominated for four Oscars, best cinematography, best director, best sound, and best writing. It was nominated in nine other categories at smaller award ceremonies and won four of them. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and had two main characters, L. B Jeffries and Lisa Freemont. Though the movie is one of the greatest ever made by Hitchcock and is supposed to be shot through a rear window, I find it hard for people to have interest in a movie with two main shots. In the movie you see the buildings and courtyard the majority of the time, the other shots being the one of Jeffries apartment and close ups on the individuals in their homes.
A user from IMDB. com didn’t like the movie at all, “I got impatient with Hitchcock's penchant for manipulating reality, as if it didn't matter, in setting up his character conflicts towards suspenseful endings. It's all to do with believing what you see. One should not take for granted any audiences, all of whom are familiar with real life. ” (Johnclark-1). Mr. Clark went on to talk about how he felt Hitchcock didn’t bring reality into the film, one of the examples being that in New York no one ever left their doors unlocked and windows open, in fact “we installed police locks” says Clark.
So another reason some people didn’t feel this movie should be ranked as one of the greatest all time. But we go back to voyeurism, and people can’t help but be nosy, and get into other people’s business. Because of this one obsession Hitchcock gets you tangled in subplots and thrilling murder stories. Unless you pay close attention and watch for those unrealistic moments in the movie, you will never even notice them. As I sat and watched the movie never did I think about what people in New York really do with their doors or how often their leave their windows open.
What I’m trying to say is that you will never notice these things unless you were told about them prior to watching the movie. I must admit, after reading that review I did see those moments in the film, but never did I think about them when I saw it the first two times. I am more than positive that if you show this in an ENC 1102 class they too will not notice the unrealistic lifestyle in the movie. Another couple reasons to show it in ENC 1102 is because of the voyeurism, romantic tension, and the films multiple subplots.
If there is a group of people that love to be part of drama, and know everyone’s business, it’s the age group of 18 to 20 year old college students. They will be so enriched with all the inquisitiveness going on in the movie that they won’t have problems for a week or two in their personal lives. The movie provides an insight on all the characters that live in buildings around that courtyard, and a voice over from Jeffries that voices his thoughts on all their lives. That brings me to my next point, the multiple subplots in the movie.
Hitchcock gives the viewers all kinds of stories from the romantic couple who are rarely seen, to the bachelorette ballerina who brings home a guy every night, to the women who can’t get a man and begins to make believe she invites one over for dinner. Another couple with the dog, they show love to each other through the dog, then the musician who throws parties to show off his new music, but struggles just to get there and finally the salesman and his wife, the main story, the murder. Hitchcock develops all these plots that revolve around murder case. They all have something to do with it, or are related in some way to that couple.
I don’t believe an 1101 class could keep up with multiple plots as in Rear Window. And then there’s the romantic tension between Jefferies and his girlfriend Lisa. It’s just another part of the movie that anyone could relate to, not just 1102. Jeffries is very intrigued by this woman but has a heavier burden on his mind, the crime across the courtyard. She insists time after time, but he never really takes his mind completely off the situation at hand. As I sat a watched Rear Window for the second time with my brother I asked him a couple questions throughout the movie to get his, soon to be, expertise on what he thought about certain parts.
It was a good experience for me knowing that he has a better eye for things that regular movie goers like myself usually don’t tend to catch. He helped me understand the movie a little more, and discussed with me what Hitchcock was trying to do in his film. Even though he’s close enough, my brother doesn’t count as a critic, here are some experts on what they thought about the movie. James Berardinelli liked the movie mainly, once again, because of it voyeurism. He though Hitchcock had a great background on voyeurism, “One of the most engrossing, and, in its own way, groundbreaking, studies of voyeurism is Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.
The film is universally regarded as a classic, and a strong cadre of critics and scholars considers this to be the director's best feature. ”(Berardinelli p. 1). He goes on to talk about the movie and its suspense, but also the great main character played by James Stewart, “Not only does the movie generate an intensely suspenseful and fascinating situation, but it develops a compelling and memorable character: L. B. Jefferies, a top-flight photographer who, as the result of an accident that left him in a leg cast. (p. 1). Another praise on the movie comes from Christopher Null; he too thought the movie was a classic. The aspect of the movie that caught his eye was the way Hitchcock made it all from a rear window, “the master craftsmanship on display, placing virtually the entire film within the confines of L. B Jeffries apartment has few parallels in modern cinema. ”(Null p. 1). He too agrees with me on another aspect of this great film, helping it to be one of the all time greatest, not only for Hitchcock but for all movies.
And finally my last critic is Lucia Bozzola, who liked the film for its one main shot, “Keeping the camera in Jeff’s apartment (except for a couple shots near the climax), Hitchcock limits the audience’s view to what Jeff can see and hear from his immobilized perch. ”(Bozzola p. 1). Even though I thought this could be a problem for some viewers, it is still a great feat to shoot close to an entire movie on one main shot; another reason why Rear Window is one of the greatest.
So after reading all the reviews from the critics and getting diverse answers from regular movie viewers, a person who has yet to see the film should see it for themselves and decide on what they think. As for showing it to either an 1101 or 1102 class, I think it should be seen by more mentally mature young adults in 1102. Primarily due to the voyeurism in the movie, watching all different characters I think they could keep up with it more. This is why Rear Window is a great movie for ENC 1102, along with the romantic tension and multiple subplots.
I thank you for your interest in my movie selection and leave you with this, a quote from James Berardinelli, “Simply put, Rear Window is a great film, perhaps one of the finest ever committed to celluloid. All of the elements are perfect (or nearly so), including the acting, script, camerawork, music (by Franz Waxman), and of course, direction. The brilliance of the movie is that, in addition to keeping viewers on the edges of their seats, it involves us in the lives of all of the characters, from Jeffries and Lisa to Miss Torso. There isn't a moment of waste in 113 minutes of screen time. ”

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