Presentation on theme: "English 299C: Film as Narrative Art Mr. Kelley. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)"— Presentation transcript:
English 299C: Film as Narrative Art Mr. Kelley
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
The mystery-thriller element is, in fact, never central in Hitchcock’s best films; which is not to deny its importance. We could put it this way: “Suspense” belongs more to the method of the films than to their themes (in so far as any distinction is possible, such distinctions applied to organic works being necessarily artificial).
Look carefully at almost any recent Hitchcock film and you will see that at its core, the axis around which it is constructed, is invariably a man-woman relationship: it is never a matter of some arbitrary “love-interest,” but of essential subject matter. Robin Wood
Points to Consider: Why does Jefferies watch his neighbors? Do their lives and problems comment on or parallel his in any way? Consider point of view in the film. With whom is the audience made to identify? Is this identification ever broken?
What is Jefferies’ spiritual, or psychological, condition at the beginning of the film? Do the incidents in the film constitute a therapeutic experience for Jefferies in any way? Have his problems with Lisa been solved?
Of what thematic significance is Jefferies’ profession? In what ways does this profession impinge on Jefferies’ romance with Lisa? How effective is it in the climactic confrontation with Thorvald?
What is the film’s attitude toward voyeurism? Is it an unmixed attitude, or is it more ambivalent? In what ways does Hitchcock implicate the audience in this ambiguous morality?
Describe the relationship between Jefferies and Lisa. Does Thorvald parallel Jefferies in any way? What does Thorvald seem to represent to Jefferies on an unconscious level?
Selected Filmography of Alfred Hitchcock The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934; remade, 1955) The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935) The Lady Vanishes (1937) Rebecca (1940) Lifeboat (1943) Rope (1948)
Selected Filmography of Alfred Hitchcock (Continued) Strangers on a Train (1951) Vertigo (1958) North by Northwest (1959) Psycho (1960) The Birds (1964) Marnie (1964) Frenzy (1972)
Selected Hitchcock Sites Check out the MacGuffin Web Page, devoted to Hitchcock scholars, at This website has interesting facts and discussions about Hitchcock’s movies.
More Selected Hitchcock Sites The Hitchcock Centennial, in 1999, produced a great deal of discussion of the master’s work. For more information, see