Alfred Hitchcock explores a number of concepts within his film ‘Rear Window’. The three major concepts include; voyeurism, gender roles and loss of community. Hitchcock heavily applies these social and cultural conditions throughout the movie, conditions that have found themselves to possess a strong enduring relevance, even from the 1950’s until this very day in the 21st century.
From the very start of the film, we are immediately introduced to the idea of voyeurism, with Hitchcock using a zooming out shot through the window of Jeff’s apartment. This zooming shot is connected with the slow lingering pan of the neighbourhood that follows, with his neighbours busy with their own lives and in their own confined apartments. This serves to emphasise how the characters have no connection towards one another, therefore putting forward the social condition of loss of community. As the camera continues to zoom into specific people, we are never able to see them from a personal distance as we are stopped by the window, which symbolises a movie theatre experience, reinforcing the idea of voyeurism and disconnection with the communities lives with one another.
Through the aspect of voyeurism, we are also able to see the gender roles which were incredibly prevalent within Jeff’s era (1950s). A helicopter hovers above the apartments, which once again symbolises Jeff’s spying. He is gazing at women getting undressed and of his neighbour, who he names, ‘Miss Torso’, dancing around half naked around her apartment. This brings to light the social and cultural condition of gender roles, which sees Jeff looking at women without any respect towards their privacy or their body. He is creating images of them in a negative light and controlling what society thinks of them, forming this view of them being ditzy women who belong to men’s desires.
This is further reiterated by the way that Jeff communicates with his partner, Lisa, ‘Well if she’s pretty enough, she doesn’t have to go…