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After viewing 'Rear Window' again, I've come to realize that Alfred
Hitchcock was not only a great moviemaker but also a great moviewatcher.
the making of 'Rear Window,' he knew exactly what it is about movies that
makes them so captivating. It is the illusion of voyeurism that holds our
attention just as it held Hitchcock's. The ability to see without being
has a spellbinding effect. Why else is it so uncommon to have characters
movies look directly into the camera? It just isn't as fun to watch
when they know you're there. When we watch movies, we are participating in
looking into another world and seeing the images of which we have no right
to see and listening to the conversations that we should not hear. 'Rear
Window' and Powell's 'Peeping Tom' are some of the best movies that aren't
afraid to admit this human trait. We are all voyeurs.
When watching 'Rear Window,' it is better to imagine Alfred Hitchcock
sitting in that wheelchair rather than Jimmy Stewart. When the camera is
using longshots to watch the neighborhood, it is really Hitchcock
not Stewart. Hitchcock's love of voyeurism is at the center of this movie,
along with his fascination with crime and his adoration of the Madonna
In many of Hitchcock's movies, 'Rear Window,' 'Vertigo,' 'Psycho,' 'The
Birds,' etc, the blonde actresses are objects. Notice how rarely they get
close with the male leads. In 'Vertigo,' Stewart's character falls in love
with the image of Madeleine; in 'Psycho,' we see the voyeur in Hitchcock
peeking out of Norman Bates at Marion; and in 'Rear Window,' Jeff would
rather stare out of his window than to hold the beautiful Lisa by his
For Hitchcock, these women are ideals that should be admired rather than
However, the story of 'Rear Window' isn't about the image of women, as it
in 'Vertigo.' 'Rear Window' focuses more on seduction of crime, not in
committing it but in the act of discovering it. At one point in the story,
Jeff's friend convinces him that there was no murder, and Jeff is
disappointed, not because someone wasn't dead but because he could no
indulge into his fantasy that someone was. Think how popular crime shows
on television, and noir films at the movies. People do not want to commit
crimes; they want to see other people commit them.
'Rear Window' is one of the most retrospective movies I've ever seen. In
span of two hours, it examines some of the most recurrent themes in film.
When we watch 'Rear Window,' it is really us watching someone watch
else. And all the while, Hitchcock is sitting on the balcony and seeing
reaction. It is an act of voyeurism layered on top of itself, and it
us to examine our own behavior as we are spellbound in Hitchcock's world.
The only thing that I feel is missing in the movie is a scene of Jeff
his binoculars and seeing himself in a mirror. Why did Hitchcock leave it
out? Maybe because it would have been too obvious what he was doing. Or
maybe he was afraid that the audience would see themselves in the
of the lens.
Tags for Rear Window Full Movie
, James Stewart
, Thelma Ritter
, Wendell Corey
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