Books and Movies Reviews

Voyeurism in Rear Window and the

Voyeurism in Rear Window and the "Post-War Crisis of Masculinity"
Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 production Rear Window is undoubtedly a film that is concerned with voyeurism.It has been argued that it thematises cinematic spectatorship in the sense that it is a movie about watching movies.This is because the central character Jeff is confined to his wheelchair watching the people in the windows across the courtyard similar to the cinemagoer that is confined to their seat with the sole purpose to gaze upon the screen that tells the story of other peoples' lives.This voyeuristic element that is fundamental to the plot of the film can be seen as a response to the crisis of masculinity that occurred in America in the era immediately after the Second World War.This paper will examine key arguments put forward by leading theorists such as Laura Mulvey, Elise Lemire, John Belton and Tania Modleski to elaborate upon the intentions and complications of voyeurism in Rear Window.However, as well as the historical information of 1950s American society, it is also important to acknowledge the role and influence of Paramount on its productions in the 1950s.Paramount wanted financial success in the box office from its big productions like Rear Window, and it achieved this by grossing $5.3million in its year of release 1954, $4.5million on its reissue in 1962 and another $12million on its re-release in 1983 (1).Therefore ultimately Rear Window is an example of classical Hollywood cinema as Bordwell and Thompson define it.The narrative therefore alternates between murder mystery and love story, "intertwining the two through the theme of voyeurism" (2).This is the perfect example of classical Hollywood cinema due to the fact that the narrative consists of "two plot lines: one involving heterosexual romance…, the other line involving another sphere – work, war, a mission or quest…The story ends …

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