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Daily Dose #14: Here Lie the Broken Bones of L.B. Jefferies (Opening Scene of Rear Window)


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#21 cropel

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:34 AM

Voyeuristic- the POV is for the audience, seeing what Jefferies would see on a day to day basis. We are getting a glimpse at what is to come characterwise and atmosphere- a busy apartment complex in a big city.

 

We learn that Jefferies is a photographer- the broken camera and prints around the apartment are clues for that- we also see some frustration at his present situation- a smashed camera could be a by-product of an accident that landed him in a wheelchair or it could be an expression of frustration because he cannot go out and photograph dangerous events (as shown in the photos around the apartment- car crash, explosions)- we also see that he has done some fashion work by the stack of magazines on the table but it seems that that does not interest him as much as the framed photographs of sports. The signing of his cast "here lies the broken bones of LB Jefferies" could also give way to the fact that he thinks his present situation is akin to a death sentence.

 

Yes- this opening does make one feel like a spectator- we are peeking into the world of other minor characters and of Jefferies.

 

I do agree that this film is very cinematic- I mean, it's a film that people watch about people watching people!


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#22 devin05

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:30 PM

How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

Exploration.  That we are constrained to this one area, we haven't ventured outside of Jeff's room.  We are the audience.  In other movies, Hitchcock sometimes will establish that we are looking through the character's eyes, like in The Pleasure Garden or The Ring.  In this manner, we are willing participants in Jeff's voyeurism later.  Right now, it is innocent.  By inviting to be voyuers with Jeff, we are more willing to excuse his behavior later.

 

What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

We know he has a broken leg.  We know that he is a action/sports photographer.  Can we conclude he broke his leg while doing his job.  We also know he has a personal relationship with Lisa, because he has access to the negative of her picture that is on the magazine.  He took the picture.  And uses the negative as a personal photograph.

 

Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

Yes, the perspective is constrained to the apartment, so we are watching the other characters with Jeff, not just through his eyes, we are just as "guilty" as Jeff.

 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?

I guess saying Rear Window is his most cinematic would require seeing all of Hitch's movies.  But how is it cinematic?  The question makes me think of Hamlet Advice to Players.  But also Reservior Dogs.  The scene where Tim Roth's partner explains how to tell a story.  How you have to know all the details.  Tarantino is telling how to write.  In Rear Window is Hitchcock telling how to watch a movie?  We are the voyeurs.  He purposefully puts as in that position.   What is the audience watching a movie but voyeurs.  And Hitch controls all details on a set.  Take the cat that walks across the patio.  That was on purpose.  So we are examining these layers as willing participants.  Also by switching Jeff's (and our) focus from acceptable voyeurism (his job as photographer) to not exactly innocent to obsession, where does voyeurism cross the line?  After all Jeff's obsession that many would say cross the line, ends up catching a murderer.

 

Edit:  Yesterday I answered this but now need to add something.  The reason for the negative not only establishes Jeff's relationship with Lisa, but is also about the the inversion and the prelude and frailty.  Just the as the negative is a inversion of the print, their relationship is inverted, Jeff cooped up and Lisa coming to him.  The subject matter of his usual work is inverted.  Usually the subject is in motion.  In this case it is a static portrait.  Is Jeff afraid (yes as we will learn) of a static relationship.  Also Jeff is inverted.  He had exercised his voyeurism through his work.  Now he looks at his neighbors, sometimes in an intrusive way.  Also a negative is prelude.  This is a prelude to this story.  We haven't seen the final picture yet, but we already have some of the elements.  Finally, frailty.  A negative before exposed to the right chemicals is fragile to light.  As he fixed the negative it is no longer fragile.  But later light will be a danger to Thorwald.



#23 lulu459

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 04:58 PM

1. With the three window shades being drawn up, it reminds me of how movies would start in the old days with the curtains being pulled open. I think this is Hitch's way of inviting us into the "world" of REAR WINDOW. I think the audience has the vantage point here. I think Hitch is trying to make us feel what it's like to spy on someone. I think it's here where he's laying the groundwork for the movie where he's going to make us feel what it's like to be a voyeur.

 

2. We learn that Jeff is a daring action photographer. We also learn that his apartment is more of a storage place than a home as there is so much stuff strewn about.

 

3. I've seen this movie so many times and I never thought about this! I suppose I feel rather voyeuristic watching the opening scene (but I think that can probably be said about every movie we watch). Looking into the other people's apartments, I feel curious and that I want to know more about them. I think however, that's what Hitch wants---he gives us just enough info about them to whet our appetites and leaves us wanting to know MORE!  

 

4.This is definitely his most cinematic film! Besides the main story, he also has the stories of the neighbors going on as well and he gives them just as much detail as the main characters.



#24 LRH

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 02:11 PM

1.     How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

 

2.     What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

 

Just before the clip we watched starts, we have the opening credits as the three window shades are slowly drawn up.  This is a raising of the curtain on the show.  So at this point, WE, the viewers, are doing the looking – we not only look out on the courtyard and windows, but we also observe Jeff himself and we see his back story.  Once all of this is established, Jeff joins us as observers, and of course, he takes the lead in that.  There are only a few times (when Thorwald leaves the apt with his girlfriend while Jeff is asleep; when Thorwald leaves the apt after Lisa is arrested while Jeff is on the phone with Doyle) that we see something that Jeff doesn’t.

 

3.     Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

 

One thing that struck me.  These three mundane window scenarios (the composer, the sleeping couple, and Miss Torso) all feature a little humorous surprise.  The composer reacts to the radio ad about being over 40.  And when he abruptly changes the dial, we realize that all the music we’ve heard thus far was also coming from the radio.  This sets up that all of the music we will hear in the film is diegetic.  The sleeping couple are funny in that we don’t expect them to be sleeping at opposite ends of the balcony.  Finally, Miss Torso.  We are titillated by the straight-leg bend over that she does when she drops her bra.  It’s sexy but seems awkward.  But then we understand why that was when she, out of the blue, raises her leg up to the countertop to stretch as she prepares breakfast.  All three of these little touches add humor to the scenes and add so much about the characters.

 

4.     Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?

 

Yep.  There are all the little movie screens out there that he is watching.  And he definitely highlights the director/camera in Jeff.  It’s funny though that he portrays Jeff (Hitchcock’s stand-in) as impotent.  Locked in that cast which comes up to his waist, he is, at least temporarily, impotent.  Remember his answer to Lisa about his love life: “not too active.”  And, of course, he can only sit and watch, and uselessly phone the police, when Thorwald is knocking Lisa around.  A real sense of helplessness there.  And then finally at the end, he can only sit and wait for Thorwald to come and attack him.  He fights back in the only way he can, with camera equipment.  But ultimately, that won’t save him.  He simply needs to stall Thorwald long enough for the police to arrive.  I find it interesting, too, that Hitchcock has Jeff use a GIANT zoom lens to spy.  Talk about a phallic symbol….  And he even rolls around in his wheelchair with it lying in his lap, emerging from his crotch!  It’s his camera, not his “manhood” that is his power.

 

I remember reading something once about Hitchcock’s own sexual frustration.  That he felt he had a great amount of sexual passion to share, but he was burdened by his appearance.  He had all that libido in a body that few would find sexy.  But he gained access to many beautiful women through his camera…..


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#25 AaronF

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 08:24 PM

How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

The opening shot gives the viewer a look into the neighborhood and the characters within it. We get a voyeuristic view into through the windows of the other people that live nearby. We also get to see some history of Jeff as a photographer. Leaving us to ponder if he will use his camera to watch his neighbors like we just did.

 

 

What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

We know he is a photographer and has shot some very high profile people, sports and current affairs. Right after we see Jeff's cast we see there is a broken camera on the table. Did the camera and his leg break at the same time? If so what was he photographing?

 

Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

I felt like a voyeur looking into the lives of these strangers. Specially when the camera focused on the woman getting dressed and stretching her legs. There was a feeling of being naughty, even the man shaving through the window, some things are private and not for others to watch unknowingly.

 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I have not seen the film yet.



#26 Ihopetheresice

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 05:28 PM

1. The opening scene of Rear Window moves the audience towards the outside world, but stopping us just short (to remain in the what will become Jeffries' POV) to remind us of Jeff's restraints, but also ours within the film. The camera then tilts and pans over the courtyard to establish the setting and characters. Again, the vantage point is ours as we discover this new environment that is about to become as interesting to Jeffries as it is to us in this opening scene. 

 

2. We learn that he is a photographer and that he has been hurt and laid up (by the obvious presence of his leg cast). We see a smashed camera and numerous action shots showing the danger L.B. seems to have faced in his profession. This leads us to believe he may have been hurt on the job (full disclosure: I've already seen the movie many times, but am anxious to view it again). We also see a fashion magazine with Grace Kelly's character on the front, hinting at how they two characters might have met. 

 

3. I don't feel like any more a voyeur than I am in any other film where I am the spectator. I just think I am made more aware of my role as voyeur in this film. I guess it is more pronounced that we are the audience especially in the first pan of the courtyard, because we see it before Jeffries in this instance.

 

4. Yes, I believe Hitch has incorporated most, if not all, of his "touches" in this film marking it as his "most cinematic." For example (I am listing here for brevity), background of secondary characters, background of lead protagonists through mise en scene, completely constructed set on single location (i.e. Lifeboat), the particular scene between Thorwald and Jeffries and its use of flash bulbs, themes of marriage and relationships, staircases (or, at least, fire escapes), Hitch's use of stars and their personas, etc.



#27 shamus46

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 01:45 PM

 

  1. How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window? The vantage point is that of the audience, revealing our own voyueristic inclinations and piqueing our curiosity. We want to see more.
  2. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?  As in other Hitchcock films, he describes the characters by the rooms they inhabit.  The smashed camera along with all the framed photos on the wall show us that Jefferies is a photographer and the dangerous shots indicates that he strives for THAT photo of THAT INSTANT of climactic chaos.  He lives on The Edge.
  3. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? Yes!  We get a sense of uneasiness, of spying on others, but also, we don't want to look away.
  4. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? Before this course, I would have chosen North By Northwest as more cinematic. Now, I have to agree with The Master.


#28 ChristyKelly

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 01:14 PM

  1. How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

Hitchcock in his opening shot shows us the cage that Jeff is living in as well as the other apartments full of other "zoo animals," each doing their own routine.  He finally comes back to Jeff's cast keeping Jeff from his usual routine. Added to that is the heat which has Jeff sweating even when lying still. It is our POV here, as we get ready to know more about the zoo and how they interact or don't interact.

 

2. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?
We learn that Jeff is an active man, a photographer who doesn't shy from danger, given his trophy wall of photos depicting race car crashes, explosions and fires. His "salute" to a cover girl - a negative, shows Jeff as a sardonic and sarcastic person, and, given his inscription on his cast, and the fact that he takes no notice of the neighbors waking up and making noise and going about their business, a closed-off person as well.

3. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?
Certainly the opening scene made me feel like a voyeur, but with permission from the director to pay attention to what's going on in people's apartments. I mean, after all, they haven't closed their curtains or pulled the shades, so that gives us tacit permission to spy, right?

4. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?
I was fortunate enough to see the entire film in a movie theatre when Fathom Events and TCM showed it last year. There were a great many details I'd missed even though I'd seen it on TV many times. I agree that this is Hitch's most cinematic film; it provides the whole story visually - Lisa and Jeff's relationship included. The story contained within the apartments needs no dialogue or even sound, since we can see the music being played, the reaction to it by Miss Lonelyhearts, the dancing and the partying. Jeff, with his telephoto lens, takes us closer to the apartments that have something to hide, and we share his suspicions as a result.



#29 roblevy

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 12:23 AM

How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

 

The shot is voyeuristic in nature in that the audience is seeing what is happening. The opening camera shot dispenses with formalities and gets right down to business. this helps create a sense elf anxiety for the audience.

 

 

What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

 

We learn a lot about him based by what he has in his apartment and ow he keeps his apartment. We also know that is a photographer and thus is accustomed to watching people.

 

 

Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

 

I feel like I am watching things unfold as a sort of observer. From the start he is out to make feel people uncomfortable and disturbed.

 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?

 

yes. it is sprawling and done on a big canvas. It has big stars, big color and big suspense.



#30 Mrs. Archie Leach

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 11:59 PM

How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

 

I think Hitchcock is immediately bringing the audience into the action. We move through the open windows. We survey the courtyard the way we might if we were just waking up, stretching and looking outside. In addition to wanting to show off his elaborate set, Hitchcock wastes no time in establishing the players. We're going to be allowed to observe these lives, including Jeff's.

 

What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

 

From Jeff's framed photos and camera equipment, we can tell that he is a talented, working photographer. Most of his shots are so action-packed that it's safe to assume he is willing to put himself in harm's way to get the shot he wants. His broken leg backs up that assumption. The last photo of the fashion magazine cover lets us know that he dabbles in whatever will pay the bills and it makes Lisa's role in his life a little more understandable. We can assume that's how they met.

 

Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

 

It does make me feel like a voyeur. We are viewing these people in very personal moments. The man shaving, changing the radio station when the ad comes on asking if he's over 40. That made me chuckle. The scene with Miss Torso putting on her bra made me feel as though I shouldn't be looking, perhaps that I was doing something wrong. But Hitchcock created such a vibrant scene that you can't help but be interested in these people. It's irresistible.

 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?

 

I agree. The set is so elaborate that even though it's a confined space, each apartment is like a perfectly realized little world. Hitchcock delves into each one along with us, It's beautiful to look at. I love the use of color. And it must have been a challenge to be in charge of that production ... to keep all the moving parts operating correctly.



#31 terranightangel

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:28 PM

How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

 

Hitchcock is establishing the view from the bedroom which is the vantage point being expressed in the opening scene. You get to see the people Jeff will come to know from that window even though currently his isn't looking at them. You also get to realize they don't seem to care that others are watching them as they go about their day.  No one pulls a blind or glances at another apartment but you can tell easily that everyone is close enough to see everyone else. 

 

 

What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

 

The back story is given in the picture frames and with the cameras. The cast is seen before a busted camera. Pictures of dangerous moments are seen along with working cameras. It implies Jeff hurt his leg getting one of the pictures and that he takes pictures for a living. The female on the cover is on Jeff's desk but as the negative so this might mean he is close to her but not as close as he might like to be. I will have to watch the film to see if there is a relationship between them as I took from this there currently isn't but might have been one or Jeff has hoped for one with her. 

 

Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

 

I'm use to watching films so watching someone's else act out their lives doesn't make me think of myself as a voyeur.  It did make me curious about the people in the rooms though as we only had a limited amount of time with each one. I think at the time it was made, it would have given people an unease and curiosity at the same time. Today though with reality shows a dime a dozen, most people have lost their unease when watching others going about their lives though a window. 

 

 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?



#32 johnseury

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:52 PM

1. This scene is both sweeping (in its panarama of the apartments and all of the action taking place) and claustrophobic (in that both James Stewart and everyone else are trapped in mundane lives crammed into small, hot apartments). I think the vantage point is for the audience getting the scene set up for them.
2. You learn that Jeff is a photographer from the shore of his equipment and photographs. The one of the race car with the tire flying off is how he probably broke his leg. I guess the tire did it!
3. You certainly feel like a casual observer at best. When confined to a small space, you always want to look around for some type of escape, especially if you're in Jeff's situation. Everyone else is confined and trapped by circumstances crammed into those sardine can apartments.
4. I think that North By Nothwest is more cinematic but this one is expansive in its use of small spaces.

#33 startspreading

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 02:39 PM

1.    How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

The opening is our invitation to peek in that neighborhood. We could think it’s Jeff’s POV, or his nurse’s (played by Thelma Ritter), but since she is not there and he has his back to the window, it’s our POV – the first time we see something the characters are not aware of during the film.

 

2.    What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

Through images, we can reach the conclusion that Jeff was photographing the race and, when the cars collided, right after he took that amazing photo that is shown, he was hit by one of the vehicles. Maybe it wasn’t that at all, since there are several photos hanging. He is, nevertheless, proud of the photos he has taken, and didn’t even get rid of the broken camera – they may be like “war wounds” for him. And whoever wrote in his cast – maybe if was himself – has a dark sense of humor.

 

3.    Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

I felt like a voyeur, and I also understood a few things – especially concerning the high temperatures, that are making the couple sleep outside, and Jeff’s backstory. I don’t feel really immobile, because we see down in the patio – something we could only do if we reached the window very closely and hung from there, and we can see inside the apartment as well. We have mobility, Jeff has far less than us.

 

4.    Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?

If I had to choose the Hitchcock films with the best domain of cinematic technique, I’d put both Rear Window and Vertigo at the top of the list.



#34 GeeWiz

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 10:50 AM

1. Describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window? 

 

Their is an omniscient flair to the opening--the viewer is being oriented to the locale and the probably participants. Our only understanding as to what the "problems" are--the heat, no A/C, man confined to wheelchair.

 

2. What do we learn about Jeff (re: his backstory) simply through visual design? 

 

The camera shows us many photos of car crashes, explosions, and generic danger--broken camera), so we can deduce he is a photographer who most likely got hurt taking a dangerous photo. The negative, then the cover photo of the pretty woman suggests a different sort of danger (relationship).

 

3. Does this opening scene make you feel like a spectator? 

 

The POV tracking shot is for the audience.  Hitch tempts us with interesting secondary characters in several apartments.  The sound motif includes (no train whistle) the radio ad, the alarm clock, children in the street.  Visually--we see pets (and birds). I never tire of how many occupations are presented int he secondary characters (milkman, etc.)

 

 

4. Bonus question: Is this Hitchcock's most cinematic film? 

 

As was mentioned int he lecture notes, the nod toward silent films in the apartment vignettes contributes to the spectacular set design. The design leads to exceptional cinematography.



#35 T-Newton

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 12:35 AM

1. I feel that Hitchcock wanted to tell us that this is the primary thing we're going to be focused on throughout the entire picture, because we're practically seeing the entire complex as what our crippled main character, who is played by the legendary James Stewart, is seeing it.

2. We see that Jeff has had quite a history, as he is left in a wheelchair with a cast on his leg, therefore, he's unable to do anything physically.

3. An immobile spectator. As I said in the first question, we're basically seeing what he will be seeing throughout the picture. As we see each apartment, everyone is rather unique, but they're all just living their ordinary lives without a care in the world.

4. Oh yeah. This is definitely one of his most cinematic pictures, and one of the greatest suspense thriller stories ever put on screen.



#36 OhReallyNow

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:52 AM

To me, Rear Window contains an extended metaphor of the business of making movies.  Jeffries' neighborhood, like a movie studio, is a whirl of activity, with artist and composer and dancer all busy at their work, Seen from a distance, this little ant-farm will conclude its work by the final curtain.  Wendell Corey and Jeff discuss the story and decide which is the most believable conclusion just as the scriptwriters polish a script.  Costumes, such as Lisa wears, are very expensive, but also very beautiful.  There are stills to examine, shots to plan, lighting to design... unforeseen events like a sudden shower can interrupt location shooting... actors must be managed.. aging ones with alcohol and pill problems...  and then there is Selznick/Thorwald watching from his darkened window.  The script is cluttered with movie jargon, "opening night' "curtain"  and of course the photographer/director who is entirely hampered by his CAST,


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#37 ROT

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 10:38 PM

After live tweeting to/with Rear Window on TCM--mainly about the idea of the movie as a dream--the image of the framed photograph negative and the stack of magazines that end the opening scene kept coming to mind. I also tweeted about the concept of all of the different neighbors reflecting some aspect of Jeff and Lisa's relationship; usually in a negative way. Ultimately, with Jeff mirroring Thorwald and Lisa, Mrs. Thorwald. Remember, this is in the context of a dream, and also that in mirrors, the image you see is always reversed.

 

This is one of the Hitchcock films that I've seen the most--probably 50 times, with 5 or 6 of those times being in an old Paramount movie palace--but this is the first time I thought of the framed negative and the stack of magazines as anything more than showing another aspect of Jeff's photography. But look at that negative image and the way it is introduced:

 

Attached File  Rear Window negative.jpg   72.74KB   0 downloads

 

After seeing the smashed camera, and several photographs capturing danger and violence, we see a whole camera and then a close-up of the negative. In a way, that camera, with its flashbulb intact, represents danger, since flashbulbs will later be used as a defensive weapon by Jeff.

 

Of course, the model in the image, represents Lisa--both in general appearance, style and elegance. Yet her character is first intimated as a "negative".

 

Then the camera glides over it to rest on the stack of magazines; revealing the photograph that was created by the negative, on the cover of a magazine.

 

Attached File  Rear Window magazines.png   339.98KB   0 downloads

 

For some reason, I always thought this was a stack of the same issue of the magazine: all having the model on the cover. As if it was the most recent issue or a recent shot or something he was particularly proud of. The fact that the negative was framed and the magazine is on top suggest these thoughts. Also, did Lisa get him the assignment? Did Lisa have the photo negative framed?

 

I never noticed the other stack of magazines right beside the first, obviously all of the same magazine--the one Jeff works for. It seems to be something like Life magazine. The title is either obscured or not there at all. What I always thought was the leaf of a houseplant covered the top of the magazine. However, in the still shot you can see it's actual strips of negatives that lie across the top of the cover--again marring the image with a subtle negative connotation. The strips even gently move up and down at the end (so there's either a fan in the room or a slight breeze--thank goodness).

 

In any event, the character of Lisa (who wasn't in the original story) is foreshadowed first by this negative image, this opposite image. It appears to symbolize the threat she will represent to his work and the danger she might create in his Life (i.e. marriage). Again, appearing as subconscious dream thoughts, ideas, images.

 

This is all tied together brilliantly, in the scenes where Lisa proves her sense of adventure--particularly by entering Thorwald's apartment and finding Mrs. Thorwald's wedding ring; thereby proving herself capable of Jeff's lifestyle. When Lisa draws Jeff's attention to the wedding ring on her left hand (seeming to beckon to him),

 

https://youtu.be/1Ez6dw3ywcc?t=2m23s

 

and Thorwald notices it too--then looks up to Jeff...In that moment of horror and discovery, Jeff and Thorwald are most closely associated or mirrored or similar. Jeff seeing Lisa in a wedding ring--Mrs. Thorwald's wedding ring--almost puts him in Thorwald's shoes. Jeff's greatest fear, marriage, seems almost inevitable. Jeff, in this dream, now recognizes he will become as Thorwald. (The wedding ring, don't forget, in this case, is also evidence of a murder, a death.) And all of Jeff's complaints, negative descriptions, and disparaging remarks on marriage will now apply to him, as well. Jeff and Lisa's fate will now be the same as Mr. and Mrs. Thorwald: "Until death do us part."

 

 


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#38 dan_quiterio

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 07:04 PM

Rear Window's opening sequence is one that introduces the audience to the physical world of L.B. Jefferies--his neighborhood and neighbors, his career, and the scorching heat, all of which play crucial parts throughout the film. We learn so much in just the first few minutes without any dialogue.

 

I believe the POV of the opening shot to be ours, the audience's. As viewers of a film, we're naturally acting as voyeurs. In this instance, Hitchcock exploits that notion and takes us a step further by enabling us to take a peek into the world of the film while the main character is sleeping. We'll take in as much as we can before he wakes up and the POV shifts. As we look around, we learn that Jeff is an action sports photographer who was likely injured while on the job. His broken bones are complemented by the broken camera, photos of crashed cars and explosions--scenes that are as far from docile as could be. Jeff is a man on the move (just not while he's in his wheelchair--though his mind runs 100 mph while he sits stationary). He's also done some fashion photography, which perhaps implies a bit of a softer side.

 

As we peer into others' apartments, I'm certainly left with a feeling of guilt for perhaps seeing too much--though there isn't yet much to see. Still, I'm invading others' personal lives--but as Hitch, himself, implied, that's human nature. Each neighbor has a story to tell, and with a small taste, I'm interested in each.

 

(As a side note, it's criminal that the film's art direction did not receive an Oscar nomination--let alone a win.)


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#39 Shannon.H

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 04:59 PM

How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window?

 

​The opening shot is really getting us ready to see what's to come, its sweeping and in depth with lots of details.  What happens when someone used to taking photos of people and of events for a living.  

The vantage point is us the viewer.

 

 

What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

 

We learn he is a photographer with a broken leg.

 

Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments?

 

I feel the opening sets us the viewer up to being a voyeur.  I see the realistic lives that we often like to view to ease or curiosity.

 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?

 

Yes I do.  Hitchcock really can do totally different types.  Story driven, suspense,  intimate, but this one is in big, vibrant and in colour!


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#40 Robinv

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 04:42 PM

1. The POV is the audiences. It's as if we are there looking out the window. Camera is showing what we would see. We are there looking at all the neighbors getting to know them.

2. We learn that he is a photographer, his leg is broken probably using the broken camera. He is probably an award winning photographer. We see a picture of a beautiful woman who is a model.

3. I don't feel as if I am a voyeur. This is a view anyone would have seen looking out their rear window.
We have a menagerie of characters. I feel like I'm there.

4. The fact that this is shot on 1 set makes it a cinematic coup. He is able to tell a whole story from 1 set. A story that has many variable characters with different lives.
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