The Master of Suspense Anyone that watches a good film leaves the theater with joy and enthusiasm and they often praise the film. However, not many people take a step back and appreciate the directors that create these master pieces. Alfred Hitchcock was an innovator in the film world with unique techniques that pushed the boundaries of how people perceived films. As an English director, Hitchcock came to Hollywood and brought with him a distinctive and recognizable style that better defines him as an auteur. Instead of using recycled plots and overused Classic Hollywood Cinema shooting techniques, Hitchcock emphasized style over story. One of his best films, Rear Window, captures his stylistic ingenuity by portraying all of his techniques on the big screen for everyone to view. Hitchcock is best known for his use of suspense in which he creates throughout the entire movie in order to build to that one moment where the audience jumps out of their seats. Hitchcock’s use of panoramic shooting angles, the ordinary person, point of view, and use of suspense remain distinct characteristics in all of his films. The use of all his stylistic techniques allows the audience to engage in the film and eagerly wait for the suspense that ultimately shocks them at the end of the movie. One known feature when watching a Hitchcock film is the 360 degree panoramic shot. Hitchcock pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism in which spy on others (Toles 4). In Rear Window, the protagonist, L.B. Jeffries or Jeff, is an injured journalist confined to his wheelchair and forced to remain in his apartment. The camera does a 360 panoramic shot that shows the apartment courtyard and other nearby apartment complexes. Hitchcock reveals the entire setting of this film through just one window. The audience realizes that Jeff’s apartment is the main hub of where the story will take place. His apartment window looks out into a square courtyard that also shows other apartment building surrounding it. Hitchcock utilizes this confined space in order to reveal his style rather than in most film where directors shoot across multiple locations. Each window can be viewed as a gateway in which the audience observes each neighbor and their character without leaving Jeff’s apartment. This is a unique method of filming that is successful and enhances the film by using style over story. In addition to his great camera angles, Hitchcock dives into the characters early into the movie in which the script reveals each character. Hitchcock plays on the idea of the ordinary person faced with extraordinary circumstances. For example, L.B Jeffries portrays himself as a passive bystander who is down to earth and passes his time by observing how others interact through a window in the comforts of his own apartment. By the end of the movie, L.B Jeffries is thrown into the chaos and forced to confront Thorwald, the murder, in a final struggle at the end. Everyone can relate to L.B Jeff’s situation as an immobilized photographer. Instead of being an observer, he plunges into the action and changes his passive character. Even in Psycho, Marion Crane is an ordinary female secretary who experiences a disturbance in her everyday life by a stalker psychopath and ultimately dies despite playing a main character. By using an ordinary character, Hitchcock establishes a connection with the audience in which they feel empathetic but at the same time drawn to the action that Hitchcock portrays.
Even though the psychology of the characters creates an interesting story, the point of view or looking through the characters eyes gives a sense that the audience members are in the movie actually looking through the apartment window. L.B Jeffries spends most of his time recuperating in his apartment and spies in the courtyard. Jeff’s role as a voyeur establishes him in the…