Hitchcock’s Rear Window

An analysis of the photographic techniques in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, `Rear Window`.

This paper examines the film, `Rear Window`, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece of cinematic suspense in which the main protagonist, L.B. Jeffries, portrayed by veteran film actor James Stewart, is bound to a wheelchair following an accident while doing his job as a photojournalist. In particular, considering Hitchcock’s penchant for suspense, it looks at how `Rear Window` contains some of the most unique and compelling camera work ever to grace the silver screen, especially the use of use of OPOV, or optical point of view, which allows the audience to see what was occurring in any particular scene from the character’s point of view.
Several key scenes in Rear Window fully illustrates the use of the optical point of view shot. As the film opens, the viewer gets to see what the interior of the apartments across the courtyard looks like and how the various tenants begin their day. The camera then moves back into Jeffries’s room, starts at one point and then slowly progresses in an arc to reveal Jeffries’s personal items and some photographs taken by him. This also lets the viewer know what type of work Jeffries does for a living. As the arc ends, the viewer then sees Jeffries asleep in the wheelchair. The camera then moves to the door of the room, where Jeffries’s girlfriend Lisa, played by the stunning Grace Kelly, comes in and approaches him.