Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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  1. The opening shot glides through the window into the private lives of all those in the other apartments. A continuous unfolding of life that is happening even as Jeff has his back to it. It is a kind of through the looking glass moment, where you discover a concealed world you hadn't noticed until take the time to stop and observe.

 

We learn a lot about Jeff in this scene without dialogue as we see him in the wheelchair with his leg in a full cast. He may be limited in his mobility, but his broken camera, action shots and magazine covers tell of a full and very active life that he has led up until this moment. With the sweat on his face and the thermometer showing the temperature, you can tell he is stifling in that apartment.

 

 You do feel like a voyeur as you see everyone going about their private business getting ready for the day. It is almost embarrassing to see so much, except that it is very interesting!

 

I do think "Rear Window" is very cinematic because there is a great deal of the story told visually-you can't often hear dialog and are reduced to interpreting the visual narrative based on what you see through the lens of Jeff, and ultimately, Hitchcock.

 

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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 opens with a viewer POV shot. The audience is being shown the layout of the room. We also know that this is Jeff's vantage point since it appears to be his apartment. So we are essentially Jeff.
 
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 recovering in an apartment. We see on the walls that he's a photographer and most likely broke his leg in action considering the broken camera and show of a wrecking race car. We assume he has a girlfriend because we see a photograph of her, which actually looks like a negative or altered photograph. This tells me that the relationship might be strained. We also see that either Jeff really likes collecting magazines with the girl on the cover or, most likely, his girlfriend is a model and brought several copies over. That also says a lot about this girl right off the bat.
 
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?
 
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I'm OK with the term "voyeur". I'm a curious person and always know what my neighbors are up to. I know when they walk their dogs, take their trashes out, come and go from home. I don't even have to be peering out my window to know. I can hear when cars pull up, certain dogs barking when neighbors get home from work, when the UPS vs USPS is outside because of the sound of the vehicles and times they arrive. I know when the kid across the street is on his half-pipe because it's loud. So on and so forth. Maybe I'm a bit nosy but I also leave people alone and don't involve myself directly in their business.

So, I think I felt nothing but curiosity, really, when we initially start seeing what's going on out in the other apartments. Their windows are open and I think the way people go about their lives is fascinating. I also want to go to the bar across the street in the scene and have a beer. I bet there are some interesting characters in there, but I'd most likely observe and keep to myself as I'm a writer and an introvert. So many good character traits and story-lines to be found by watching.
 
Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?
 
I think his most cinematic film is either Rear Window or Vertigo, which is very cinematic.
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wow, a lot goes on in one camera shot. I feel Hitchcock is letting the audience, 'us' see what the story will be all about by showing us a glimpse or summation if you will, of what is to come for the movie viewer. 

 

Through visual design, we see photos of Jeff so he is a writer or photo journalist. We see a broken camera and magazine cover shots he did as well. 

 

This scene does make me feel like a voyeur as I find myself looking at these vignettes, for e.g.. the woman putting on her bra with her back facing me. I feel that I shouldn't be watching her. It is really the daily snap-shots of life. 

 

Definitely his most cinematic film. It is abundant with stories, windows into so many people's busy lives and this is just in the morning. Its incredible to think all this goes on with just a shot thru a small window onto other apartments. Makes you think about the whole world. He gets you thinking about what it is you do yourself in the morning and who if anyone is watching anyone in the morning. He captures quite a diverse amount of activity in 2 1/2 minutes. 

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The opening of rear window invites us the audience into this world. It feels as if it is our vantage point. But of course once we zoom in on Jeff we realize this is his world. We have simply been introduced to his Day in and day out point of view that he is been stuck with for some time.

We immediately know Jeff has a broken leg. He is a photographer. He is adventurous and a risk taker.

From this opening we are clearly the boy year. I am totally nosy. I want to know what's going on. It is a brilliant opening. Hitchcock brings us into this world brilliantly and vibrantly.

Hitchcock is absolutely correct this is cinematic genius .

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This is my favorite Hitchcock movie. He opens the film with a morning view outside Jeff's world since he broke his leg and busted a camera during a car race. He is sleeping in his wheelchair and sweating in the 90 plus heat of the morning. Hitch gives us a look inside that courtyard and we are transformed into the wheelchair for a ride that is surely to get rough.

 

 

​Hitchcock has little movie stories within the story of L.B. Jeffers. We are drawn into their stories. It is very cinematic. 

 

 

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Hitchcock gave me permission to be a voyeur in the opening scene of Rear Window, and I accepted! It was interesting to see this scene after studying about Hitchcock. Much more to this movie that just suspense. I will watch the movie with new enthusiasm, and wonder! Lisa & Jeff, looking forward to watching you two!

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  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 camera goes full circle, twice really, both times ending on Stewart, once to show the temperature, the second time to show his cast and then his camera and photographs.  He is establishing that this is an open world.  Due to the heat, his neighbors seem to haven given up on the concept of privacy for a while, but they could close their blinds, so they are responsible for what is seen.  He is only looking at what he is allowed to see, is given access to see.  I think it is the shared vantage point.  Remember, though, everybody can see into his window, too. It is a mutual voyeurism, if it is that.  We just don’t have their point of view, but maybe they watch him, too, and wonder. I can’t help but think of social media, which allows us to see what traditionally would be private. 

 

  1. 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 give us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design?

     

There are no words for the first 3 minutes, which Hitchcock seems to do a lot. Since Hitchcock has already established the camera as panning in a circular way at the neighbors, now we turn the same way to him.  We know he is injured, he takes black and white photos of sporting events and war scenes.  He goes for drama—race car crashes. He was a strange negative in a frame of the woman on the magazine cover.  I think there must be something to that negative.  Who puts a negative in a frame? And why that woman?  Maybe that’s his real love, not Grace Kelly. 

 

  1. 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?  Actually my first feeling is that people should close their windows, but they seem not to be bothered.  In a sense it is pre-modern.  It is as if close quarters or the heat or something has sent them back to a communal time before we became obsessed with privacy and having our own spaces closed off from others. 

     

  2. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I think the author/creator gets to comment on his own work and not be argued with.  I don’t think I would agree with that, though, in terms of the whole movie.

 

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So glad Professor Edwards brought up the question of what LIsa sees in Jeff. That's been the one wrong note for me of an otherwise marvelous movie. Why would this incredible woman exert so much effort on this not so attractive or attentive man? I came to think that Jeff became something of a "cause" for Lisa....her chance to get the guy who didn't want to be gotten. The only problem for her is, it's not working. So she's got to go to great lengths and even put her life in danger to impress him.

Now why Jeff isn't crazy about Lisa....that's just inexplicable.

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Hellooooo....

1. The opening shot is a pan of the set as Hitch's gives us the camera's eye-view of the apartments and the people living in them with a small glimpse of the neighborhood in the background.

2. We learn via a pan of Jeff's room that it's a hot summer day (sweat on his face even though he is in front of the open window); his leg is broken; he's an action photographer, his camera is smashed up - perhaps he was just a little to close to his subject.

3. During the opening scene, I felt like I was waking up and stretching as I looked out my window & checking out my neighbors as they begin their day. The music score was lively and then as we hear the music from the piano man's apartment then the ringing of the alarm clock, all create a feeling of "listless" from the heat and then enervated by watching Miss Torso finishing dressing and stretching.

4. Now that I know Hitch constructed a major set for the film, his mastery of camera angles truly adds to his "touch" & I totally agree with Hitch that this is his cinematic masterpiece; at least one of the many in my opinion.????

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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 scene sets Jeff's apartment as part of the complex, but also,separate and aloof. We see out, we never see in. We,are privy to everyone else's activities, but no one seems to be looking back. The lives of the other people go on without the slightest thought by them that anyone is watching.

 

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?

He uses camera shots and props to tell Jeff's story. In a matter of a few seconds, we see his state, we see his occupation, we see how he was injured, we see a female and assume that she is his love interest. And we come to understand that none of what we have seen plays a major part of the plot but is necessary to the plot. Which is why he shows us, but doesn't spend major time in doing so.

 

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 makes you want to turn away and not look...as you are witnessing private things occurring which if the people knew, they might not care to share. Although as the movie progresses, you lose that feeling and do indeed become a voyeur..and become part of the people's lives in a creepy sort of way. :)

 

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

I fell in love with this movie the very first time I saw it. I own a copy of it...but still never miss a chance to see it when it is aired. It is my fav Hitchcock movie....by a wide margin. It is his masterpiece!

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1) The opening scene is spectacular in the way it brings the audience into the narrative. The shot of the window out onto the patio and onto the buildings surrounding LB's own is vivid. The details of each of the windows are detailed down to the patterns on the walls. Each of those windows have its own stories to tell and the genius of Hitch is that fleshed out those details. I get a sense that he gave the background actors in those lodgings the freedom to improvise and create their own narratives. Each window is like a miniature screen of a movie with its own stories. But it is controlled not by reality, but by our own making. The audience is enmeshed by the visuals and sounds that is to draw us into that world. The vantage point is really the audience as we become the LB. We are now know the morning habit of our "neighbors" from the bachelor next door to the couple standing on a balcony having coffee, the couple who are forced to sleep on the balcony due to the stifling heat and to Miss Torso's daily habit of putting on her bar and doing her leg stretches. Despite of how we feel about voyeurism-but we can't take eyes away. We want more and we shall get more. 

 

2) I learned a lot about LB's life as the camera panned around his cramped apartment. The cast is the starter that we know he is immobiled for duration of the film. Then we see his life strewn about the room. The broken camera. From this bit of visual, we know he is a photographer and on the walls hung pictures of far-off places with plenty of actions. We know he is an adrenaline junkie. And also we know he also does portraiture as the negative of a smiling woman in frame juxtaposed next to a stack of similar magazine as Life of the same woman.

 

3) Hitch by using the opening of the back yard of LB's apartment is to make the audience a participant in the story. Also he knows that human nature is that we are curious. Thus I, as an audience, I have become a voyeur. (Sidebar after this) Hitchcock seeks to elicit a sense of shame and pleasure in presenting us with this panorama of windows with lives in it. As a voyeur, we become so entranced that we project our own imaginations and thoughts onto those people across the way. For sure, I don't feel guilty, maybe for the first minute or two; but afterward I wanted to know more.

 

4) Agreed. This is Hitch's best film opening. While it does have his touches such as a public space, the crowd is placed in various windows. It is still Hitchcock! His most visual.

 

**Sidebar**

Please allow me to indulge, Professor Edwards. You see, I lived in New York years ago and lived in the back of a building similar to LB's. So I know a thing of two about voyeurism. I, not unlike LB Jeffries, have taken to look out of my window and to see my neighbors through theirs. Try as hard I might. I just couldn't look away. Hitchcock had in Rear Window forced us to confront our tendency to voyeurism. There are times, I had seen my neighbors in various stages or undress or nude (Hitchcock was right this does excite and draw you in), picking their noses or just oblivious to the fact they are naked standing in front of the window. I often see them during my daily chores and not unlike LB or Lisa, I let my imagination go regarding these unknown beings. Strangely once I met them at the grocery or at the butcher, they are not that far from my imagination of them!  :rolleyes: 

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  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?

     

    Just a glorious first 3 minutes of a film!  He is providing so much in these two times around the back yard and Jeff's apartment.  We see the heat, the kids playing, the couples, apartments.  We are starting our voyeurism early.  Jeff has to catch up, or we are catching up with what he already knows.  Get comfy, there's more to come.

     

  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 see the broken camera and the action shots; the negative of the woman on the magazine - we learn that is his occupation.  Very clever!

     

  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?

     

    I suppose it does make me feel like a watcher, not necessarily a voyeur at this point.  As Lisa puts later, we don't have a right to do this; both Stella and she say that we should look in at our own lives and see what we see there.  But people like to watch others - it has happened since the beginning of time: Roman gladiators, hangings, car accidents, etc.  It is human nature.

     

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

     

    Well, since it is my favorite movie of all time, I suppose I would be inclined to say yes:)  Although after reading the article on Vertigo, I am looking forward to rewatching that.

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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?

 

It's a tour through a neighborhood that is much like everyone's. We become a voyeur to our neighbors, we are watching what they do on a (extremely) hot day. 

 

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?

 

He is a photographer of some type. After we're shown his leg in a cast, we're shown a broken camera, telling us that he was injured while out on an assignment. Then we see photos from some of his other jobs, showing us how good he is/was at his job. 

 

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, it does make me feel as though I am a voyeur. As with anything else you see in your town or neighborhood, you know that you should look away and mind your own business, but you just can't. Everyone has a curiosity about other people and things, so more often than we should, we indulge in those curiosities. 

 

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

 

Oh, absolutely. I'm sure that I haven't seen as many Hitchcock films as some of the other students, but Rear Window is one of my absolute favorites. Jimmy Stewart is also one of my favorite actors from old Hollywood, not that it makes a difference in who would have played LB. 

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  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? We are taking a tour of the neighborhood. This is the viewer's vantage point.

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 see photographs, a busted camera, and a very large leg cast that apparently came from taking said shots.

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? We are being nosy, and don't really have to feel bad about it, as it's "just a film."

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?I certainly would name this as my favorite, even though some of the other's have a much different scope as far as the sets go.

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1. The opening camera shot unveils the courtyard that all of the apartments share. Each apartment has other rooms but we only see the rear view of each apartment. And that is where all the action is taking place. Hitchcock establishes that each apartment is alive and the inhabitants are going about their daily routines oblivious to anyone watching them. But we the audience are drawn to them and our curiosity is piqued. We want to know more about these people and so keep watching. Our vantage point is being expressed and Hitchcock's is also. He sees the world he has created through the eye of the camera and we are seeing what he sees also.

 

2. We learn that Jeff has had an accident due to his being in a wheelchair and his leg is in a cast. From the words written on the cast either Jeff or someone  close to him has a good sense of humor. We also know he is a photographer by the various photos that are framed, the negative of one that is next to the actual cover on  of magazines. The content of the photos shows he has a love of danger and likes to take risks. The broken camera and broken leg lets us know what can happen when we get to close or take too much of a risk.

 

3. At the beginning I would say I feel more like an immobile spectator because I am watching the events unfold just as I would in a theater or cinema. But the more we watch these people in their homes the more I start to feel like a voyeur. I have always liked to people watch. When I would go to the mall or some place with crowds, I would watch how people would react with each other even though I did not know them. It was always interesting to me to see these little vignettes played out before me. In the movie the people do have there windows open so they are not trying to hide what they are doing, and without this invitation we would not have the story to enjoy.

 

4. I would agree in the sense that we are a captive audience and just as if we have sat down in a theater or cinema the action is confined to this one set and we are watching everything unfold right in front of us. We can not look away even as we peer deeper into the characters homes and lives. It is like a play within a play. And each apartment is telling its own story but at the same time these separate stories all weave together to tell the whole story. The characters although living apart are connected to each other. 

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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 showing us the extent of Jeff's world. We're introduced to Jeff's point of view without seeing it through his filters.

 

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 the camera pans Jeff's apartment and his multitude of starling photographs, we're given to understand he may be a photo-journalist. The shattered box camera in front of an image of a racing car crash suggests his hazardous occupation has probably led to his injury.

 

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?

 

Isn't every movie-goer a voyeur to some degree? The opening scene piques my interest in all of Jeff's neighbors. And in the birds and dogs and cats and gardens in the courtyard. Quite a lot to see here, if you admit to being a bit of a voyeur.

 

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

 

I do agree. It's another of his travelogues in a way, a very intimate way. 

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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?

 WOW what an opening the colors the whole set is vibrating with action.  The vantage point were seeing is Jeff's but also the audience Hitchcock is setting up the motif.  My guess because his the main character who we will see more in detail thru out the movie.
 
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? From his cast he goes and shows us pictures he has taken, a busted camera, and a negative from a women who appers in a fashion magazine Jeff is a skilled photographer.
 
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 some what a voyeur but I feel more like a people watcher just sipping on my morning coffee and watch the whole neighborhood wake up. 

Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I haven't seen this movie I know shame on me. But if the opening scene is as good as what I saw Yes I agree with Hitchcock that is truly cinematic!!
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1.  Opening Camera Shot

 

The beginning of the movie is sort of introduction.  An introduction to the world of L. B. Jeffries as he is confined to a wheelchair to convalesce while a broken leg mends.  It's the world as seen by L. B. Jeffries who seemingly doesn't have much to do but look out his window  However, as Mr. Jeffries is asleep in the opening shot with his back to the window, we as viewers are peeping in on the Peeping Tom.

 

2.  What do we learn about Jeff

 

The beginning of the movie - without any sound other than music - introduces us to the neighborhood of L. B. Jeffries as the camera moves from one apartment to another showing us a snippet of the occupant(s) and their daily lives.  Then in a very short time frame, the camera moves on to Mr. Jeffries himself and lets us know that the weather is very hot by the sweat on his face and that he is confined to a wheelchair due to a broken leg he acquired as an acclaimed photographer (as noted by a framed negative of a picture that adorns what looks like a very popular magazine) on a dangerous photo shoot that also broke his camera.  That's a lot to learn in two in less than a half minutes!

 

3.  Does the opening of the film make you feel like a voyeur or an immobile spectator.

 

I think it does both.  I certainly felt like somewhat of a voyeur as we come upon L. B. Jeffries asleep in his wheelchair 'spying' on him in his apartment, but as you look out his window to see what he sees - confined to that room and that view, you feel more like a spectator.  The occupants in the apartments across the way provide enough information that you can guess their occupation (for some), their daily routines (turning off the alarm - time for work, uncovering the bird cage in the morning, etc.).  All of this creates curiosity. I think most of us are naturally voyeuristic to a certain degree - although most of us wouldn't use a telescopic lens to spy on our neighbors! 

 

4.  Is this film Hitchcock's most cinematic?

 

I would have to agree with that statement.  With all the goings-on in the apartments across from Mr. Jeffries, it's like watching mini movies within a larger movie.  You want to find out if Mr. Composer's song will be finished, will Miss Lonely Hearts find love, will The Newlyweds be happy, will Jeff & Lisa be happy - and where is Thornwold's wife?!  It's a great movie!

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1) That must be the longest establishing shot in film up to that point because it doesn't just establish the scene but the entire film itself. A day-in-the-life opening similar to the film "On The Town" (with NYC opening up for another day's business), the apartment and its denizens are stirring, too.

Mr. Hitchcock is letting us know who the players are in our film and it is told from the apartment building's vantage point.

2) We learn that Jeff is a photographer with a broken leg and he must have sustained that injury while photographing some emergency. The photos in Jeff's apartment suggest that he has risked his life many times taking such great action photos--one of his cameras is mangled which also suggests this was the camera he was using when he broke his leg. Jeff is also the husband/boyfriend of the young lady who adorns Life Magazine's cover as it is the same photo (but in negative) that he has framed on his desk.

Everything I just wrote is Jeff's backstory given to us (the audience) via production design.

3) I felt more like a voyeur as I found myself asking questions about each of apartment's tenants...especially the blonde!

As his camera peers (or prods) into these apartments he is forcing us to peep along with him, and none of us wants him to stop. It's human nature.

4) Having never seen the film I must say that "North By Northwest" is his most cinematic film. I must get back to you after I view "Rear Window".

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A few supplemental notes I would like to add.  Being a professional photographer myself I find that Jeff having a framed negative is not out of the ordinary for a professional to display one of his images in a unique way and something he is proud of and I feel very sure it is not of Grace Kelly but from one of his model shoots.  On the question of voyeurism, I don’t feel we are invading anyone’s privacy if their windows are open and blinds pulled for anyone to see, the option for privacy is there but ignored.  With the exception of the newlyweds (and whatever they were doing) we only see the blinds drawn when something bad is going on out of our view, Miss Lonely Heart about to commit suicide and Lars Thorwald murdering his wife.  The rest of the complex doesn’t seem to care what we see.

 

If there were a Top Ten List for Kisses, I would award Grace Kelly with three of them. Though not included in our Rear Window daily dose but following that scene shortly is, for my money, one of the top, best cinematic kisses ever shot!  Grace Kelly moving towards the sleeping, wheelchair bound James Stewart, her shadow slowly covering his face as she bows to kiss him in slow motion.  Lisa Carol Freemont…

 

I would also rank Grace Kelly’s surprisingly unexpected and very well placed kiss on Cary Grant after he sees her to her room in To Catch a Theif  (1955).    

 

Fireworks & As long as you’re satisfied…

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I'll drop this here, even though I hope there's another REAR WINDOW thread later.

 

I'm not sure I agree with Dr. Gehrig about the doomed/ill-fated romance between Lisa (Grace Kelly) and Jeff (Jimmy Stewart). The film does establish how they are mis-matched early on, but I feel like their bond...namely over snooping and a multiple interest in exploring eachother's snooping interests is what supports their relationship and deepens their interest, beyond her strange infatuation with Jeff.

 

SPOILER: For instance, when Hitchcock finishes on a shot of a double broken leg Stewart laying out in his wheelchair while smiling asleep/passed out, and then he moves over to Kelly, she also has her legs and both pairs of legs are the same directions (they aren't at a criss-cross like before,  suggesting different ways of life), and how she puts down a reading book about the himalayas and then picks up a Bazaar magazine issue scanning through it like she's looking at pictures. In other words, I think this scene assuages the earlier doubts that she'd be up to dealing with Stewart's photography lifestyle and it's commitments, which is the biggest resveration Jeff ever puts about really getting involved with her (i.e. she couldn't hang with who he really is), yet really she's also a peeper and one with complementary qualities to his own (e.g., her feminine intuition which keeps him engaged, and her willingness to action on her own). Put another way in the film, both Grace and Jimmy bond over their voyeur tendencies and want to support exploring that gaze.

 

To further support this interpretation, I'd note how more and more interested Jeff gets into Lisa as she herself gets interested in Jeff's theories (first ater she is just reflexively peeping out the window and notices things), and then actively goes out to do things.  This builds throughout the movie and Jeff gets more and interested in her, and less likely to try and distance himself.

 

edit: I'm very curious to hear what others and Dr. Edwards and Dr. Gehring have to say about this subject,as the ending to this movie seems less down than other Hitchcock flicks after this.

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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?

I would describe the opening camera shot of this film as the formal introduction to the film and it's primary players. We get to see shots of most of the apartments and their residence who we will continue to see throughout the film. I think Hitchcock is seeking to establish the setting for the events that will follow. I think the vantage point being expressed is actually that of the viewer. We're getting to see everything for the first time. It's almost like he's giving the viewer a tour of the neighborhood. 

 

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?

Hitchcock gives us the basic introduction to Jeff. We see his current state, wheelchair bound with a broken leg. Then the camera pans around his apartment. We see the camera equipment (the broken camera signaling how he obtained the broken leg), the photos on the wall showing what he does for a living. We're also introduced to Lisa. Hitchcock uses all these visuals as a way of showing us Jeff's backstory. 

 

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?

Hitchcock almost makes me feel dirty as he peers into the homes of Jeff's neighbors. I find myself thinking... woah... this is definitely trouble. We shouldn't be spying on our neighbors in their homes! But as you keep viewing you want to learn more. Hitch throws us into these people's lives, and though we know it's out of line to spy, we become inthralled in how Lonely Heart's dates are going or what The Newlyweds are fighting about. 

 

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

I absolutely agree that this film is Hitchcock's most cinematic work. From the camera movements, to the set, to the storyline, it's all something that hadn't been done before. It's my favorite movie of all time, and I've seen it countless times, but every time I screen it I notice something new. Truly a masterpiece that has withstood time. 

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A few supplemental notes I would like to add.  Being a professional photographer myself I find that Jeff having a framed negative is not out of the ordinary for a professional to display one of his images in a unique way and something he is proud of and I feel very sure it is not of Grace Kelly but from one of his model shoots.  On the question of voyeurism, I don’t feel we are invading anyone’s privacy if their windows are open and blinds pulled for anyone to see, the option for privacy is there but ignored.  With the exception of the newlyweds (and whatever they were doing) we only see the blinds drawn when something bad is going on out of our view, Miss Lonely Heart about to commit suicide and Lars Thorwald murdering his wife.  The rest of the complex doesn’t seem to care what we see.

 

If there were a Top Ten List for Kisses, I would award Grace Kelly with three of them. Though not included in our Rear Window daily dose but following that scene shortly is, for my money, one of the top, best cinematic kisses ever shot!  Grace Kelly moving towards the sleeping, wheelchair bound James Stewart, her shadow slowly covering his face as she bows to kiss him in slow motion.  Lisa Carol Freemont…

 

I would also rank Grace Kelly’s surprisingly unexpected and very well placed kiss on Cary Grant after he sees her to her room in To Catch a Theif  (1955).    

 

Fireworks & As long as you’re satisfied…

I do like the way Hitchcock got past the sensors with the kiss of Cary Grant and Ingred Bergman.

 

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The opening shots present Jeff's perspective to us in that we see Jeff's world. We see the players in his world in their respective apartments. Then we see Jeff himself, allowing us not only to peer through his point of view, but to peer at him as he peers at others. The fact that we learn so much about his situation with no dialogue affirms our place as spectators into his life, as he gazes at the inhabitants of the other apartments. We learn of the summer heat. We learn his accident was due to his action photography. We even learn how he sees the feminine life, long before Grace Kelly appears on screen. He has framed the negative of the photo for the fashion magazine. The women was a subject to him, and in the context of someone he'd bring into his life, framed in his home, she is a negative image. In fact, we see throughout the film that Jeff is far more eager to engage with the subjects across the courtyard, entering their homes with his lens, rather than the two women who enter his own home with their whole selves.

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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?                           This opening shot defines the "world" Hitchcock will invite us to observer for the duration of the film; it defines the boundaries of said world, our scope throughout the movie. It is a hot summer day in the city.  It also it introduces us to some of the many characters that live in this world, whom we will witness and get to know. The vantage point is one of Jeff's (Stewart's) POV and which will predominate the view for the film. Jeff is resting now as this is also his introduction to the audience, while we are also introduced to his apartment and personal surroundings, the focal  point of all the action in this movie; the nerve center of the informational flow.

 

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?

​       Jeff is in a full leg cast confined to a wheelchair. As we pan around the room we see he is a professional man, a photographer, who's camera has suffered a similar state of "crippling", lying in taters on the table. We also see a series of framed photos on the wall; Jeff's resume. The first picture is one of a close-up of a sports car crash.  Both Jeff (and his camera) appear to have been injured by this same  crash. A crash that Jeff captured (ostensively with the shattered camera) as part of his job. We continue to see more framed photos of events around the globe, include an mushroom cloud from an A-bomb test, and people in desperate or troubled situations. This defines Stewart's character as a man of action, a Photo Journalist who travels the world capturing it's most newsworthy  events  on film. The last images we see are of a woman, one a negative and the second a positive image of that same woman on the cover of a fashion  magazine. A magazine that Jeff has many copies of. She must be someone of importance.

 

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​ certainly does introduce us to the rank of voyeur or "Peeping Tom", a roll both we, Stewart, Kelly, and Stewart's nurse will all become as the event's playout. We become an active participant in this story, even though we cannot contribute to its outcome, we will be drown into its may aspects. We are along for the ride and we need to buckle up.

 

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

        I do feel this is one of Hitchcock's most cinematic (and my personal favorite) of all his movies. it is also his most autobiographical in the sense that Jeff is Hitch, who is watching the world from his own vantage point and coming to terms with what he sees. In this case all the windows from Jeff's POV are little movie screens that allow us  to peer into the occupant's lives. The screens are of different sizes and aspect ratios that help define the scope of those "performances" we will be able to observe, with the larges screen reserved for the salesman and his wife, who will become the primary focus of all our cast of players.

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