Flippin Sweet Family Blog

I have watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window a few times and enjoy the way his films are so different from what I now watch. He has a unique way of building tension or suspense in a film. It is not the usual dramatic music or edge of your seat suspense, but it can still make your heart speed up while hoping the innocent people get out of harms way fast enough. Hitchcock doesn’t use a lot of music in the background. You will hear the whistling of a bird, a dog barking, someone playing the piano or the nagging wife. This leaves your brain free to concentrate solely on what is really happening in the picture. When you hear the woman scream you are shown a shot of the courtyard where nothing seems amiss. It isn’t until almost an hour later that you see his neighbor Mr. Thorwald leave his home at 2 am with a silver briefcase. It is pouring rain and he comes and goes a few time through the night leading Jeffries’ and us as the viewers to assume what has happened. His wife was always nagging him and we assume that he finally had enough and murdered her.

In this particular film, the whole film can be seen from the “rear window” of L.B. Jeffries’ apartment. This overlooks a courtyard filled with many other rear windows of many other apartments. Jeffries is a photographer recovering from an accident which has put him in a wheelchair for the last seven weeks. He has nothing better to do with his time than to watch all of his neighbors through their windows and get a peek at what they do in a day. Most of us would consider this being a peeping tom. I can say we are curious human beings and will listen or watch when the opportunities present itself. (not that it is right) Jeffries’ takes it to a different level when he starts using his binoculars and camera lens to get a better picture. He starts to stereotype all of his neighbors based on what he can see. Because this film has such a compact set and scene, Hitchcock is able to show us an entire film based on one character’s point of view. This makes the directing style “subjective” because we only see what Jeffries’ sees, whether it is in his own apartment or out in the courtyard. We are focused on his opinion and the script revolves around his observations. Even when one of the neighbors finds her dog dead she end up addressing the whole courtyard about how they should all be better neighbors and look after one another. This puts Jeffries’ back on the trail that Thorwald killed his wife because he had to be the one that killed the dog for digging around in his flowers.

I am not sure that this film would be as much of a success today as it was when it came out in theaters. I think we have become a fast paced society that wants lots of action and keeps us on the edge of our seats when it comes to suspense thrillers or mysteries. This film doesn’t move fast enough for that and I enjoy seeing a story from multiple points of view. I do like this movie and have watched many of Hitchcock’s movies just to see older films and how this genre has evolved over the years.

§1815 · September 22, 2014 · Films · Tags: , , , · [Print]

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