Rear Window

Director's Influence on Rear Window

Because Alfred Hitchcock was such a master of the craft of filmmaking, he exercised influence over every aspect of his films. Everything we see onscreen is absolutely deliberate. Critics and historians often cite Rear Window as one of Alfred Hitchcock's best - if not his very best - films. During his interviews with Hitchcock, Francois Truffaut correctly identified the reason that Hitchcock was drawn to Cornell Woolrich's story in the first place; shooting "a whole film from the viewpoint of one man, and embodied in a single, large set" gave the director a chance to challenge himself both creatively and technically.

Hitchcock described Rear Window to Truffaut as "purely cinematic." He divided the film into three parts; in the first section, an immobilized L.B. Jefferies is looking out of his rear window, in the second part, Hitchcock shows us what Jeff sees, and in the third part, we "see how [Jeff] reacts." By filming the majority of Rear Window from Jeff's point of view, Hitchcock implicates the viewer in Jeff's voyeurism. Truffaut commented, "James Stewart is exactly in the position of a spectator looking at a movie." Indeed, Hitchcock uses subjectivity to make his audience consider our own curiosity about what happens behind closed doors and windows. Both Stella and Lisa try to tell Jeff to mind his own business, but they are both inevitably sucked into the drama that may or may not be playing out across the yard. Similarly, the early scenes of Jeff watching Miss Torso dance might make the viewer squirm, but we, too, become increasingly curious. In this way, Hitchcock, more than any other filmmaker of his ilk, is brilliant at structuring his films in such a way so as to draw a pre-determined reaction from his audience.