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Analyzing Rear Window

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So my Mama bought Alfred Hitchcock’s Masterpiece Collection DVD set a few months ago and I recently borrowed it and have spent the last few weeks consuming a ton of suspense and horror. Probably one of my favorite Hitchcock films is Rear Window. I love Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly (omg), and Thelma Ritter and obviously the film itself its awesome. The genre is decidedly suspense. Here are a couple scenes that are (thematically and otherwise) my favorites.

One of my favorite parts in the film is when Jeff sees Thorwald smoking in his apartment with the lights off. All you can see is the glow of a cigarette burning in a dark room. I, unfortunately, could not find this scene in a YouTube clip, but I was already planning on ripping it and making a GIF of the scene so hopefully that will happen soon!

In this scene Thorwald, a suspected murderer, is coming to confront Jeff about potentially spying on him. The suspense in built in large part by the lighting and the lack of music in the scene. As an audience member you can feel yourself trying to breath more quietly as you hear Thorwald approach. You can feel Jeff’s anxiety as he watches the light beneath the door and the complete fear when the shadow of two feet appear. When Thorwald enters the apartment only his silhouette can be seen, but as he get closer the light slowly reveals only his eyes. The lighting does a remarkable job of slowly revealing Thorwald and adding the suspense of the scene.

In terms of tropes, I think one the most obvious one represented in the film is the “just in time” tropes. Leesa sneaks into Thorwald’s apartment to steal evidence and she is caught by Thorwald. Just as he begins to get violent with her, the police arrive at his door, saving her from potential death.

 

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