Thematic Function Style in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window - Essay Example

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Thematic Function of Style in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window Central Theme Alfred Hitchcock’s film the Rear Window is a creative master-piece. The central theme of the paper is to identify the elements of voyeurism in the film and to determine the favorable consequences of such behavior in Hitchcock’s Rear Window…
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Thematic Function Style in Alfred Hitchcocks Rear Window
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Download file to see previous pages Important Patterns the Plot On the surface the plot of the film seems rather simple: just a single set and a handful of characters, but upon close observation we realize that just by means of editing Alfred Hitchcock puts life in the plot, makes it suspenseful and attention-grabbing. Fawell (5) in his books suggests that Hitchcock believed that everyone was involved in something physical and nasty behind closed doors”. This belief can be assumed as a basis for creating Rear Window, where Hitchcock portrays the concept of voyeurism trough the central character of his film. But he applies the voyeurism concept in a positive manner by projecting parallel concepts of human loneliness and need for empathy. The opening scene shows a broken camera with a picture of an airplane taken at very close range. The protagonist, Jeffries is seated in a chair with his foot in a cast. In order to kill his boredom, Jeffries develops the habit of observing his neighbors through his rear window. He allocates nicknames to these people and observes their intimate lives through an impersonal distance. There are significant elements of voyeurism in his observations as he watches the ballerina dancing seductively in her underwear, a couple which sleeps on the balcony, a newly-married couple engaged in an intimate embrace that keeps pulling down the blinds, a pianist who is trying to woo women with his music, a spinster who is looking for love in the oddest of ways and an unhappy salesman who is frequently quarrelling with his wife. Hitchcock uses the technique “point-of-view” which enables the viewer to look at the entire film through Jeffries’s perspective. Through Rear Window Hitchcock uses voyeurism that results in a positive outcome as Jeffries through is odd interest in neighbors solves a murder mystery, saves his own life and salvages his relationship with Lisa. Towards the beginning of the film, Jeffries’s nurse Stella says “we’ve become a nation of peeping toms”, this is the central theme around which the plot of the film revolves. According to Fawell, Hitchcock blows up the single set from the window into a view of thirty-one city apartments that appear to be like an elaborate doll-house (4). The very concept of using an apartment building instead of neighboring houses contributes immensely to voyeurism. This is so because in case of a house with a rear window the other visible window could be of one neighboring house, which would have to be the killer’s then there would not be any significance of other characters. The very concept of voyeurism stands out when Jeffries observes the intimate lives of various characters residing in apartments of the opposite building, not just the killer’s. Hence although the protagonist in the film is firmly seated in one place, we are able to see multiple views through his eyes—or the eyes of the camera. This Hitchcock has executed to perfection with close-up shots, tracking shots and film montages. For example when Jeffries is talking on the phone ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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