Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window Essay

1177 Words 5 Pages
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window

In Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, L.B. Jeffries, played by Jimmy Stewart, becomes completely obsessed with spending all of his waking hours watching his neighbors from his wheelchair. He even uses a camera to better his view and thus enhances his role as both a spectator and a voyeur. This contributes to the creation of a movie being played right outside Jeffries’ window. In this “movie within the movie” his neighbors’ lives become the subject for the plot. Each window represents a different film screen, each which is focused upon only when Jeffries directs his attention to it. He witnesses both the anxieties associated with the beginning of a marriage and the heartache of relationships ending. The
…show more content…
His wife seems to whine and constantly want him to be with her in bed. Upon this observation, Jeffries gains the perception of marriage as a physically and emotionally exhausting life.

The majority of the film deals with the events occurring within the Thorwald apartment. In many ways the Thorwalds’ marriage parallels Lisa and Jeffries’ relationship, except with a reversal in gender. Lisa and Lars Thorwald, both mobile and healthy, strive to make their respective relationships work. Thorwald brings his wife dinner in bed decorated with a rose. She only laughs at this gesture. On the other side, Lisa cannot even gain Jeffries attention by sitting in his lap. Mrs. Thorwald and Jeffries, who are both physically restrained, only complain to their partners. The Thorwald apartment becomes of particular interest when Jeffries begins to suspect murder. He believes that Thorwald finally became so tired of his nagging wife that he butchered her with a knife and saw. After some time he even convinces Lisa of his accusation, which in turn adds another gazer to the rear window. This makes her more important to Jeffries in that he can now discuss what is going on with someone who will listen. She still does not obtain his full attention until she crosses over into the plot within the Thorwald apartment. When Lisa becomes the subject of the gaze, then, and only then, is Jeffries attracted to her.

Laura Mulvey argues in “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” that in
Open Document