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Open Right

Jake Wilson: Film as Text: Rear Window

Session Info:

Confined to bed with a broken leg, a New York photographer (James Stewart) starts to speculate on the lives of the neighbours he can see from his window, ultimately uncovering evidence of a possible murder. This is the premise of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller Rear Window, which like all of his masterpieces can be viewed on multiple levels: as a superb example of Hollywood craftsmanship, as an experiment with storytelling in a confined space, and as an exploration of what the act of watching from a distance implies, not least for us as members of the audience. This presentation offers an overview of these and other aspects of the film, with emphasis on the technical skill which earned Hitchcock the title of the Master of Suspense, and on the question of how far we as viewers are implicated in what we see. The presentation can be adjusted depending on audience needs.

Topics Covered:

  • Rear Window as Hollywood Entertainment
  • Hitchcock’s use of set design, editing, sound
  • The film as an allegory of the viewing experience
  • Relationships between men and women in the film
  • The film as a vision of life and the artist’s relation to it

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