Mart Alfred Hitchcock was an amazing director and his films have lived on and are still thriving today due to the techniques he used in his films and the way he created them. He was known for taking the least probable scenarios and turning them into a masterpiece Just by playing with light and form or angles. Some of these films are Psycho, Perfect Crime, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Rear Window. At first it was quite difficult to pinpoint a particular film to choose as he used brilliant techniques in all of them.
However, I have chosen to talk about Rear Window. This is because the act that the whole film occurs in the same setting and still holds our interest is very hard to do but he was able to by using diverse camera angles and playing with lighting. The film Rear Window is about a man called Jiffies who breaks his leg on one of his many photographing expeditions and is confined to his bed, he starts observing his neighbors and suspects that the man across the courtyard has murdered his wife.
Jeff then asks his girlfriend, friend and nurse to help him solve the mystery. Hitchcock used the fact that Jeff is in a wheelchair to shape his whole film since everything occurs from one setting. Hitchcock also used the fact that Jeff is a photographer to make it seem like through the film they are looking through a camera. He uses panning with a slight Jolt as the camera moves to make it seem like the audience is the camera while Jeff is holding it. As the film progresses there are many fades as he falls asleep.
The audience also sees his facial expressions before they see what he’s looking at which creates suspense. Many mid shots are used when looking at the neighbors which is a good camera angle to use since all they see is what the shot lets them, even though there re other sounds in the background which makes the audience want to see everything. He also plays with light. For example, there is a scene when Jeff wakes up and all is quiet and he looks around to the apartments and and the audience follow (since his eyes in some ways are the camera).
All they see however is the shadows and a high pitched scream before the camera zooms out and spirals back to Jeff who has an astonished look on his face. The reasons why this film was so popular (and still is) is not only because of the well known personalities in the cast but also because all of the techniques from above we made to leave the audience on a lifesaver the whole way through the film. The first scene that I am going to talk about is the scene where Jeff hears the murder.
At the beginning of the scene, everything seems fine. Jeff girlfriend Lisa is cooking him dinner and to keep himself occupied while he waits, he watches from his window as the couple from across the courtyard have another argument. We see Jeff facial Techniques Used in Alfred Hitchcock The Rear Window By muscatels is too loud. Putting in the sound effects is a very smart thing to do as it keeps the audience from knowing too much and, in this case, it makes them mirror Jeff actions ND emotions which is critical for the future.
As the camera goes back into the room, they see many mid shots and close ups while Lisa and Jeff discuss the difficulty of being in a relationship. The background music is introduced very subtly since one of the neighbors plays the piano and the sound is magnified when the conversation heats up. From Alias’s clothing, see that she is quite privileged and although she seems like a pretty face, she turns out to be quite intelligent. Their facial expressions are ever changing and makes us feel sympathy for both of them, letting us momentarily forgetting what’s going on outside.
It also gives us insight of the characters and history. There is also comedy added in at the end of the fight, to emphasize both Alias’s stubbornness and love for Jeff. When Lisa storms out we see a long close up of Jeff as he looks around the dark apartments when suddenly there’s a scream and the calm aura fades away to reveal a stormy night with lighting and an agitated song in the background. At first the scene is comedic, that is until the man from across the courtyard leaves his house at 2 a. M.
We see Jeff watch as the man comes in and out of his apartment 3 times. Each time, the audience watch as Otherworld (the man) carries a large briefcase with him. Long shots and canning are used to mimic Jeff gaze as he follows throwaway’s progress. This makes the audience feel suspicious and confused as to why someone would leave their apartment so many time in one night. Too keep them a bit distracted, there are also individual scenes going in the other apartments so that the audience don’t have time to dwell on their suspicion.
All is dark except for a couple of houses which also gives the scene as sinister twist since at the start it was colorful but now it is dark and the camera is not quite focused. Also, the cuts and fades in this scene are very unpredictable and unsatisfying, because, as we are looking through Jeff eyes, he constantly falls asleep which then prevents us from seeing any more of what happens as the scene fades to darkness. The shots are also unsatisfying because although they are mostly wide shots, we don’t quite see every thing we want to see. The Next key scene I will be talking about is the climax when the murder is solved.
It all starts with the sudden death of a dog that was digging around in Mr.. Threshold’s (the mad from across the courtyard) flowers. This makes Jeff suspicious and suddenly e asks for Steal (his nurse) and Lisa to help him solve the mystery. There are many shots of the dark, shaded windows. Jeff then uses his photographing skills to try to see what he is doing. We can’t see enough so Hitchcock keeps our interest by getting Jeff to make the startling discovery that there’s something buried beneath Threshold’s rose bed by using his camera skills.
He keeps the suspense going by showing the audience Jeff reaction before he lets the women look through the small device (which the audience also sees through). Note to prove that Otherworld killed his wife and then distracts him so that Steal and Lisa can dig through the roses. There are constant cuts between Jeff gaze and the women’s progress as they dig through the roses. The audience watch the disappointed looks on the women’s faces in a close up through the camera lens since they found nothing.
This makes the audience question whether there was even a murder and causes them to doubt Jeff and his theories as he has no more evidence left. However refusing to give up, Lisa climbs up the fire escape ladder and the audience sees the horror and dread on Jeff face as she gracefully slips into Threshold’s apartment and starts looking through the suitcase to put her last theory o bed. We see the concerned look on Jeff face which is the exact same look that the audience is wearing since all they can do is watch from a distance in wide shots, hoping that Otherworld won’t catch Lisa in his apartment.
It gives the scene a dangerous element and makes the audience feel Jumpy, since they know what’s coming. Otherworld suddenly comes back and all Jeff can do is call the police in hopes that they’ll arrive fast enough. Otherworld sees that Lisa is calling to someone outside and switches off the lights so that the audience can’t see clearly, making us feel even more scared. But then the police come in. We watch worriedly as Lisa gets arrested but Just before she leaves the camera zooms in on her and in a mid shot she shows that she has the wedding ring.
Now, if Mrs.. Otherworld was alive she’d have a wedding ring which creates a huge sense of realization as they see that Otherworld really has killed his wife. Unfortunately Otherworld sees that he’s being watched and while Stella tries to pay Lisa out of Jail, and the audience watches in Jeff dark room as Otherworld comes into Jeff house. The scene goes into fast motion as the dark room gets flooded with a little eight from the open door and the police rush to rescue Jeff.
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