Marriage Anxieties And Voyeurism In Rear Window Analysis

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In Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, L.B. Jeffries, played by Jimmy Stewart, becomes wholly obsessed with passing all of his waking hours watching his neighbours from his wheelchair. He even uses a camera to break his position and therefore enhances his function as both a witness and a Peeping Tom. This contributes to the creative activity of a film being played right outside Jeffries? window. In this? film within the film? his neighbours? lives become the topic for the secret plan. Each window represents a different movie screen, each which is focused upon merely when Jeffries directs his attending to it. He witnesses both the anxiousnesss associated with the beginning of a matrimony and the grief of relationships stoping.

The secret plans that are played out before his eyes become more of import than his ain personal life. In fact, Jeffries renounces the thought of matrimony due to the scenes he witnesses from within his flat. This is displayed by his initial rejection of the beautiful Lisa Freemont, played by Grace Kelly. She is unable to deviate Jeffries? attending from the window even with the most forward flirtings. It is non until she puts herself on the other side and into the? film? that he becomes interested in her.

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Lisa eventually becomes the topic of the regard and merely so does Jeffries demo any sexual attractive force towards her. When Lisa breaks into Thorwald’s flat, Jeffries does non see the same Lisa he saw when she stood by him and sat in his lap. He now looks upon a? guilty interloper exposed by a unsafe adult male endangering her with penalty? ( Mulvey 207 ) . He is aroused by this new self-generated side of her. From this scene we see that Lisa Freemont can non go a portion of the film until she becomes a character in the? film within the movie. ? This creates a new perceptual experience of Lisa for Jeffries and unclutter off many of his matrimony anxiousnesss, supplying closing to their difference and boding a relationship and finally a matrimony between the two.

Each window Jeffries observes contains a secret plan which portrays a different position of matrimony. At first, the honeymooners show a relationship full of joy and felicity with much hope for the hereafter. The hubby is shown as he carries his bride over the threshold as they enjoy their first minutes together in their new place. Then the blinds are pulled and therefore sexual dealingss are implied. As clip goes on, Jeffries notices that the hubby is being sexually exhausted by his immature energetic married woman. His married woman seems to whine and invariably want him to be with her in bed. Upon this observation, Jeffries additions the perceptual experience of matrimony as a physically and emotionally draining life.

The bulk of the movie trades with the events happening within the Thorwald flat. In many ways the Thorwalds? matrimony analogues Lisa and Jeffries? relationship, except with a reversal in gender. Lisa and Lars Thorwald, both nomadic and healthy, strive to do their several relationships work. Thorwald brings his married woman dinner in bed decorated with a rose. She merely laughs at this gesture. On the other side, Lisa can non even derive Jeffries attending by sitting in his lap. Mrs. Thorwald and Jeffries, who are both physically restrained, merely complain to their spouses.

The Thorwald flat becomes of peculiar involvement when Jeffries begins to surmise slaying. He believes that Thorwald eventually became so tired of his pecking married woman that he butchered her with a knife and proverb. After some clip he even convinces Lisa of his accusal, which in bend adds another gazer to the rear window. This makes her more of import to Jeffries in that he can now discourse what is traveling on with person who will listen. She still does non obtain his full attending until she crosses over into the secret plan within the Thorwald flat. When Lisa becomes the topic of the regard, so, and merely so, is Jeffries attracted to her.

Laura Mulvey argues in? Ocular Pleasure and Narrative Cinema? that in virtually every ocular text, the adult male represents the carrier of the regard while the adult female is the image or topic of the regard. This thought corresponds to the common stereotype of the active adult male and the inactive adult female.

In Rear Window, Jeffries, although in a inactive physical place, takes on an active function by sing his neighbours and finally Lisa. Her character captures the attending of the audience instantly in the movie. She draws attractive force from the spectator with her capturing? to-be-looked-at-ness? quality.

In the scene when Doyle foremost meets Lisa, it is obvious that he can non take his eyes off her. Jeffries, nevertheless, is non as easy charmed. Lisa must be a portion of his narrative in order to capture his full attending. Against Jeffries? wants, she ventures across to the flat edifice in hunt of grounds that would imply Mr. Thorwald. During this scene the camera gives us a really interesting shooting. We see Thorwald nearing the edifice from the outside and Lisa spying about indoors at the same time. At this point her passiveness as a adult female is revealed. She now becomes a character in a movie of which Jeffries is the witness. This is arguably the most exciting scene of the film.

Besides of import is the shot/reverse shooting technique used here. We foremost see a shooting of Lisa in Thorwald’s flat, followed by a shooting of Jeffries, who is gazing straight at her. She is being viewed by both the movie audience and Jeffries through his camera. During the confrontation between Thorwald and Lisa, the constabulary arrive. At this point Lisa signals to Jeffries that she has found the nuptials ring. This is clearly symbolic of the terminal of Jeffries? matrimony anxiousness, which leads to his willingness to accept her as a bride.

Jeffries shortly becomes cognizant of the alterations in the other relationships across the block. The honeymooners are at odds once more. We hear a really unhappy married woman shriek, ? I wouldn? Ts have married you if I had known you would discontinue your occupation? ( Rear Window ) . We besides see the once lonely? Miss Lonelyhearts? happen company with the composer upstairs, whose beautiful music saved her from self-destruction.

A reversal occurs in Jeffries? life every bit good. This is represented symbolically when we see Jeffries eventually with his dorsum to the window. Although he remains in his wheelchair, now with two dramatis personaes, his fondness for Lisa is stronger than of all time. As she sits beside him reading travel histories we are to presume that they will ship on secular jaunts together. We besides see that Lisa did non give her life style in her winning of Jeffries. When Jeffries falls asleep Lisa begins reading an article from Bazaar. This concluding scene shows the two of them eventually at peace and happy with one another.


  1. Mulvey, Laura. ? Ocular Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. ? Narrative Apparatus Ideology. Ed. Philip Rosen, ( New York: Columbia UP, 1986 ) , 198-209.
  2. Rear Window. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perf. James Stewart, Grace Kelly. MCA. 1954.

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