Rear Window (1954)
I think this film was incredibly well done; from the costumes, to the cinematography, to the script itself. The colors were beautiful having been enhanced by technicolor. The bright colors added a depth to the film that aided in the film’s overall aesthetic. There was a fantastical element about it that enhanced the film’s reality. It created its own world. I couldn’t help but to think of Wes Anderson films, whom I am now certain Hitchcock was an inspiration to.
I remember in class we spoke about more seasoned directors being offered the option to create their film black and white or color. After having seen the film, I believe Hitchcock decided to film Rear Window in color because there were so many details, so much movement, so many different things happening at the same time that would have been blurred out in black and white. Black and White film is intimate and unifies the scene whereas color allows us to explore different details and elements in a shot. For example, when the camera shows a medium shot of the building Jeffries is looking into and we see all the apartments and all the things people are doing simultaneously, it forces the viewer to look into each apartment. Whereas if the film was in black and white it would draw less attention to each individual apartment and just the building as a whole. Mise en scene plays an important role here as well. The patterns, colors and vibrancy of the clothing gives a life and importance to each character even if they did not speak a word. Hitchcock forces the viewer to look at a lot of elements at the same time just as if we are looking out that rear window with Jeffries.
I think this film has a deeper meaning in terms of voyeurism. Perhaps what we see people do in private is none of our business, however, is it ethical to pry into one’s business if there is something malignant at stake? Or do we turn the other way? Does the film want us to think about becoming more vigilant? Thinking about the film in this regard I think paints Jeffries as a hero when I do not think he is one entirely. He did not know Thorwald’s wife therefore, he did not have a strong connection to her. This entire fiasco took place for his own selfish need of knowledge. He was merely bored and it would’ve irked him forever had he not known what the truth of what happened in an apartment that was not his own. The scene when the two finally come face to face, is a powerful one. Jeffries is not in danger, and the safe fortress that was his apartment is now penetrated from the same stranger he was penetrating by essentially stalking him. Is ignorance bliss? Should jeffries never have gotten involved? Or does the arrival of the police at the end to save the day tell us it was the right thing to do? Perhaps it’s both. Being vigilant comes with a price.