Rear Window: Hitchcock as "Peeping Tom"

         Alfred Hitchcock is one of the foremost directors in film history. He created movies that were suspenseful, and terrorized viewers around the world. One Hitchcock film that is noteworthy for its unique filming and point of view is Rear Window.

        Rear Window (1954) is interesting because essentially the point of view of only one camera is used to film the entire movie. This camera is stationed in the main character's, L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart), apartment. Jeffries is confined to a wheelchair because of a leg injury and entertains himself by checking on his neighbors in the building that he can see from his rear window. Through this activity, Jeffries convinces himself that one of his neighbors has been murdered by her husband. It is here that the purely Hitchcock suspense ensues, as Jeffries' life is threatened by the secrets he discovers.

         One of this film's central themes is voyeurism. Jeffries is basically intruding upon other peoples' lives without permission. This is an important theme to consider because of the rise of the popularity in the movies, as they became more and more advanced. People, in general, became more interested in the lives of others and what they could see on the film screen. In fact, the viewers of Rear Window become voyeurs themselves along with Jeffries. This film seems to serve as a warning against the potential dangers of such voyeurism and how it can ultimately impact a society. Just because people are now "allowed" to more easily glimpse at other peoples' lives, that does not mean it is morally right.

         Hitchcock cleverly based this movie from only one man's perspective. This further represents how society is very personalized and self-centered. It is hard for people to figure out how their actions may harm others. Hitchcock's filming of Rear Window seems to show how life (especially as depicted in movies) has become little more than a game or entertainment for people.

         Hitchcock's Rear Window is more than a mere movie. Hitchcock seems to use Rear Window as a vehicle to send society a message about the effects of media and voyeurism on the human mind.

Megan Locke

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