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  • September 28, 2009 UncPopeBaseball
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    The film, Rear Window, written and directed by “the master of suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock, combines an engagingly suspenseful murder mystery with a seductively sexy love story. The protagonist’s are played by two of the decade’s most attractive stars, the well-known James Stewart and the relative newcomer, Grace Kelly. Having somewhat of a notorious reputation, off-screen, for seducing her leading men, Hitchcock compares her to “a snow covered volcano- hot on the inside and icy cool on the outside” (Fleetwood, 4). In Rear Window, Kelly plays Lisa, a high fashion career girl who will do anything to gain her man’s attention. In the film, James Stewart plays a photographer “Jeff” Jefferies, who is confined to his wheelchair, due to an on-the-job accident. Aside from the visiting house-nurse and his lover, his lonely curiosity draws him to the New York-styled quad located outside his “rear window”. Through this porthole, he gazes upon the neighbors of his apartment building which surround the courtyard. What starts off as a mere pass time eventually becomes an act of dedicated voyeurism. Naturally, Jeff is consumed by the daily drama of his neighbors’ lives. In this quad, a drunk and aggravated composer bangs on his piano, while watching his career go down the drain. Next, is Miss Lonely-hearts, so desperate for her imaginary lover, sets him a plate every night at her supper table. Then, the well-rounded single dancer, the petite sunbathing woman, and the newlyweds, cloak themselves from their neighbors behind their window shade. Lastly, a neighboring salesman continually argues with his wife. Jeff sits and watches as these mundane events turn into a mystery, unfolding before the lens of his binoculars. In Rear Window, Hitchcock contrasts Kelly’s overt sexual desire with her cool, aristocratic reserve, reminding us that the film is as much a product of classical Hollywood cinema as of Hitchcock. The narrative precisely alternates back and forth between murder mystery and love story, intertwining the two through the theme of voyeurism. Yet, this heterosexual love story is misleading. Jeff is physically limited at the time and seems to be more timid towards his girlfriend. Perhaps he feels less of a man, in psychoanalytical terms, he feels castrated. Sigmund Freud’s idea of the Oedipus complex may be present in Jeff Jeffries. Perhaps he feels as if he cannot perform in bed, sexually. He feels castrated emotionally. Therefore, he abstains from intimate relationships with women. At the same time, he watches men and women, which could be understood as a bisexual or even homosexual gaze, as well as heterosexual, depending on the gender of the person he is watching. Refusing to commit himself to a loving, committed relationship, Jeff prefers looking out his window at his neighbors instead of at, the beautiful blonde who visits him daily and repeatedly throws herself at him. He opts for this

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