Jeff’s fascination with looking at others stops him from truly looking at…
with looking at
stops him from truly
looking at himself
. Do you agree?
observations, surveillance, spying, judgements
reflecting on own behaviour, challenging himself to change
Jeff's surveillance of his neighbours results in extreme and sometimes unwarranted judgements.
jumps to almost immediate conclusion that Thorwald has murdered his 'nagging wife', despite evidence from Doyle of her 'happy arrival in merritsville' Jeff maintains that he has killed her
based on Miss Torso's uninhibited behaviour Jeff assumes she is promiscuous and possesses similar materialistic and self-absorbed values to Lisa. Revealed to be untrue during happy reunion of her with partner Stanley (happy music)
See's Lisa as caring for nothing more than the 'next lobster dinner and the latest scandal', two dimensional woman based on dress at start. Negative image of the magazine cover in opening panning shot reflects his attitudes towards her. Jeff discovers the need for him to value her 'feminine intuition' as the film progresses as despite his extreme patriarchal values she is poignant to the fulfilment of the 'assignment' they have undertaken.'
Pivotal moments in the lives of the tenants allow Jeff to reflect on his own behaviour.
When Miss Lonelyhearts is abused behind the 'venetian blinds' of her apartment, symbolic of privacy throughout the film, Jeff and Lisa begin to consider the 'rear window ethics' which surround their 'ghoulish' behaviour.
for the first time since the opening sequence, the blinds in Jeff's apartment are closed developing a divide between what is private and what is public, which Jefferies appears to blur as the film progresses.
When the newlyweds first move into their apartment, their relationship full of hope, Jeff spectates. His 'peeping Tom' behaviour is however not unnoticed by the couple who draw their blinds forcing Jeff to consider if perhaps his behaviour can be justified.
When Thorwald discovers that his apartment is under surveillance by Jeff's Telephoto lens through which the viewer shares his infatuation with observation, Jeff tells Stella to 'turn out the light'. His desire to remain anonymous and his behaviour to be undiscovered highlights his underlying knowledge of the unethical nature of his behaviour. When the light is turned off Thorwald is unable to see the pair and hence is symbolic of knowledge as well as evil throughout.
isolation developed by observations devoids individuals of compassion
When observing the residents of the apartment complex through his 'portable keyhole' Jeff's eyes are concealed by his 'binoculars'. The eyes are often referred to as the windows to the soul and hence Hitchcock alludes to the lack of moral compass and empathy that Jeff exhibits. Similarly Thorwald whom both Jeff and the audience view through the Telephoto lens depicted by blackened shading, wears glasses throughout the film. Hence the lack of compassion shown by Jeff is likened to that exhibited by Thorwald who was capable of murdering his wife.
The Tacit Agreement shared by the tenants not to involve themselves in each others lives but to merely observe from a distance results for many a lack of care for the community. La Siffleuse projects Hitchcock's message to the audience in a long shot that highlights her moral superiority as she towers above her fellow residents. Condemning them for their lack of 'care' for whether or not 'anyone lives or dies'. Despite this, the women who reside within the confines of the community are shown in mid-close ups revealing their empathy and concern. Whilst Jeff, Hitchcock's primary voyeur, is depicted distanced from the window with a neutral expression showing minimal concern in contrast to that of Lisa.
As one of the few scenes in which the audience is removed from the subjective perspective of Jeff whose values and opinions the audience is encouraged to share, Hitchcock elucidates that only once removed from the position of spectator individuals can experience and see true emotion.
The film's resolution reveals that the unfolding events result in a transformation of Jeff's values.
Closing scene parallels opening panning shot; camera pans across apartments in reverse order arriving back in Jeff's apartment.
in this scene rather than being faced towards the window observing the 'lives' of his fellow residents, he is faced away from the window with his eyes shut, no longer plagued by a desire to know their every move.
Despite his newfound confinement to two casts, the ultimate price of his infatuation with solving the elusive murder mystery, Jefferies no longer finds himself in the 'swamp of boredom' that resulted in his sense of emasculation.
his values are perceived by the audience to have been somewhat transformed due to the positive influence of Lisa. He is depicted in the panning shot in blue pyjamas, somewhat synonymous with the 'blue flannel suit' Lisa had envisaged for him, whilst Lisa is depicted in a pink blouse, jeans and loafers an extreme contrast to her initial monochromatic evening gown 'straight off the Paris plane' which was representative of her confinement to the monotonous life Jeff was forced to look beyond his apartment to escape.
although the resolution shows that Jeff has changed Jeff's values, his self-reflection paralleled by Lisa's highlights the minimal nature of his change.
Globetrotting photojournalist and protagonist of Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 romantic thriller 'Rear Window', L.B. 'Jeff' Jefferies is depicted by the director as having abandoned ethical principles. Despite the minimal positive consequences of his heightened surveillance, Hitchcock reveals the necessity for individuals to consider their own actions before projecting judgements onto those who surround them. Whilst his blurring of the lines between public and private life are condemned, Hitchcock demonstrates through the character of Jeff that regardless of people's actions reflecting on behaviour and effecting self change is possible.