(1) As the camera pans around the courtyard, the viewer enters Jeff’s world. The bustling and variety of the goings on remind me of an ant farm. Since Jeff’s back is to the window, I consider the opening camera shot as that of an omniscient, silent “narrator.”
(2) Based on the words on his cast—“Here lie the broken bones of L.B. Jeffries”—being lame, to Jeff, is akin to being dead. He thrives on action, and inaction is torture to him. We learn that he is a photographer and that there is an element of danger to his profession, as evidenced by the photo equipment in his apartment, the content of the photos hanging on the wall, and his current state of injury.
(3) Yes, I feel like a voyeur during this opening scene. However, given that the opening scene occurs in the daytime, I don’t feel as guilty about peering in on the neighbors as I would if it were night. Something about the daylight makes the voyeurism less intrusive, in my opinion. The subjects the camera finds, i.e. the neighbors, illustrates that we all have our morning routines but that each of us lives a different life and has different struggles/obstacles and motivations.
(4) I have seen Rear Window at least three times. I would agree that it is Hitch’s most cinematic. The conceit, the design, the cinematography, everything about it is masterwork cinema. I get something new out of every viewing of it.